Thursday, May 29, 2008

Barack Obama slurred by link with Odinga slurred by link with Obama

It's dig-the-dirt time again in American politics and Barack Obama, part Luo like Raila Odinga (but not Odinga's cousin in the American sense of the term "cousin") is accused of very close ties with the ODM leader (they're part of some "socialist/Sharia law" conspiracy). Who in turn is accused of accepting an unfeasibly large donation from the Democratic contender. It's all some sort of desperate Republican smear.

And it seems to have backfired quite spectacularly on the Republicans with the disclosure that one of Republican nominee John McCain's senior advisors, Charles Black, was a lobbyist for the Daniel arap Moi government in the late 1980s and early 90s when the former Kenyan dictator was in power.

To draw the conspiracies out to their illogical conclusion, it's important to recall that Moi's greatest support came from the same powerbase in the Rift Valley and Western Kenya as Raila Odinga's.


  1. Please see:

    Posted by africanpress on May 19, 2008

    and my comment posted there.

    There are many Kenyan voices. And some agree that Senator Obama should never have campaigned for Odinga. And he certainly should have distanced himself from Odinga when Odinga’s signing onto MOU became public knowledge.

    Senator Obama would have us believe that his judgement is superior to Senators Clinton and McCain. But, in my opinion, here he showed his naivete and poor judgement.

  2. Thanks for your comment Sister Rosetta. I trust Obama a lot more than I trust Odinga. And I trust Kibaki hardly any less than Odinga. But they're all politicians, and they're all filtered to us through the media. Sharia isn't going to happen in Kenya. And religious freedom is going to persist across the country. There's a huge amount of misplaced fear about Islam in the world, and as you know, the Kenya coast is a very relaxed place for people of all faiths - or none.

    The kind of scare tactics you're alluding to really have no place in an atmosphere attempting to achieve peace and reconciliation and I would hope that Christians and Muslims alike would have nothing to do with propagating them.

    What I think is potentially a huge benefit for the world if Obama were to win the presidency, is the focus he will inevitably bring to the non-white majority on planet earth - and in this case a special focus on Kenya. I know who I'd be voting for if I could. Pity someone of his calibre isn't available in Kenya. What about Wangari Maathai?

  3. Richard Trillo said...

    ”There's a huge amount of misplaced fear about Islam in the world.”

    Have you ever studied hermeneutics? Obviously, we do not share the same interpretation. I and countless others indeed have much to fear from an extreme Islam and also from a more moderate Islam which is too afraid to counter it.

    For example, as an undergraduate at an American university, the resident Middle East “expert” thought it just fine that the modern nation-state of Israel should be “wiped off the face of the earth” simply because both Christians and Muslims were awaiting the Second Coming. I guess he thought that would appeal to our feeble minds. I didn’t share his interpretation either.

    From the vantage point that I and my students shared on September 11th, it seemed pretty clear to us that we had much to fear. And many of us are pretty tired of being told that we don’t.

    But, please, don’t take my word for it. Please see the following:

    “The chairman of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, the Rev. Dr. Wellington Mutiso told ICC: ”Kenya should continue to be a secular state. Christians want a level playing ground where [Christians and Muslims] are treated equally.”
    ”We (Kenyan Christians) are opposed to any move at favoring a particular religious group by political parties,” he added.
    Similarly, the ICC regional manager for Africa, Darara Gubo, said the agreement made with Muslim leaders “undermines the secular nature of Kenya and opens a Pandora’s box of chaos and conflict similar to what happened in Nigeria and Sudan.”
    ”This is not a stand-alone incident; rather, it is part of strategy to Islamize Eastern Africa and the Horn of Africa, through the introduction of Sharia law,” Gubo stated.”
    Richard Trillo said...

    “Sharia isn't going to happen in Kenya.”

    All women in all places can rest easier now. Please see the following:

    The mission of Women Against Shariah is to prevent and outlaw the imposition of shariah law in the United States for both Muslim and American women as either a parallel legal system or a replacement for existing laws. Additionally, we hope to empower women worldwide to resist shariah.

    Also, please see numerous posts at the following thread as regards female genital mutilation and other aspects of an extreme Islam which women worldwide would have good reason to fear:

    At this thread and others at Hillary Clinton Forum, I’ve also posted about the Obama – Odinga – Morris connection.

    What was a sitting U.S. senator doing campaigning for the opposition in Kenya? And why did Odinga choose Dick Morris of all people to advise his campaign? The dead and the walking dead deserve an answer.

  4. Sister Rosetta, I don't know where you're going with this, but there's a lot of hatred in that comment. 911 was a freak show, a hideous crime. And I'm sure it will happen again and again and again, whether perpetrated by Muslims, Jews, Christians, atheists. . . . But clear the labels away. Forget Sharia, it's a false demon. There's nothing there. Especially not in the US of A.

    I'm as disgusted and sickened as the next man or woman by what happened in Kenya after the election. But your comment doesn't deal with it – not by anyone's god.

    I've never studied hermeneutics. And I would guess you've never studied the sociology of religion. Have you heard of Benjamin Zephaniah? He's a British rasta poet, and I remember him coming on the TV at the height of the Brixton riots in London in ?1981 and declaiming on the news, with perfect rhythm:

    "You don't riot
    If you've got a nice job
    And a nice home
    To go home to."

    That, I think, speaks more sense than any complicated conspiracy theory about Islam and a plot against Christianity.

    You don't riot, or kill your neighbour, if your life is fulfilled and your needs are met, and your children have a future. You just don't.

    You sound disturbed at the descriptions in the press report you cite:

    yet this kind of act is going on every day in various parts of the world: look at the news from Congo, Gaza, Iraq. The weapons are made in the rich world. The causes are largely economic.

    So please pray to your god for those who did kill their neighbours. Forget the conspiracies (they're set up to confuse people, they really don't exist). And move on.

    And vote Obama – at least he's popular outside the USA.

  5. "...there's a lot of hatred in that comment."

    Again, I do not share your interpretation.

    And I didn't call you a hater.

    Be well.

  6. Mr. Trillo, you scare me. Sister Rosetta presents you with real life and real death, and all you can respond with is your cheery American naivete and your uninformed generalizations and hope for the "focus he [Obama] will inevitably bring to the non-white majority on planet."

    His "popularity outside the U.S." is an ephemeral quality that will come and go as the world learns more about him -- it's not a basis for our decision-making. Reason and judgment is.

    We have yet to determine if that "focus" you praise got people killed -- real people, black people. Lives in Africa matter, Mr. Trillo. And it is really worth investigation to determine what on earth a sitting American senator was doing campaigning (they say with his face on posters) for an opposition party in Kenya. Did the State Department know about it? Was he using the prestige of the U.S. Senate to do a little free-lance diplomacy? And what are the effects of that diplomacy? These are real questions we should be asking. They may have reasonable explanations -- however, I suspect that if they did we would have heard them by now.

    Mr. Trillo, you sound young. At least I hope that's your excuse. Sister Rosetta is not preaching hatred -- she is coming from a place of real experience in a country where gaffes are not just something that will embarrass candidates on the nightly news -- but where they can be life or death for the real people she knows. Real people, Mr. Trillo, not generalized "Africans."

  7. Sister Rosetta: my apologies for implying you were a "hater". That was misplaced so I'm sorry for any offence.

    Anonymous: I don't see my comments as "cheery" at all. And certainly not American (I'm British) or naïve. I agree with you that the world will surely become tired of Obama if he does become president, just as all politicians (and most leaders) eventually lose their charisma.

    I don't see any evidence that anything Obama did in Kenya had any connection whatsoever with the post-election violence. And I'm not aware of Obama having campaigned for Odinga. Please show me any links. All I've seen so far (and I may have missed it, so apologies if I have) is a picture on Odinga's website or Myspace page of him with Obama in the background. So do show me the evidence, I'd be very interested to see it. Once there's some evidence, then people could ask him to account for it.

    I guess I should be pleased you think I sound young. My kids certainly don't think so! I'm 51. And I accept that Sister Rosetta isn't preaching hatred, I didn't say that. And I also accept that from her perspective, living among her community (I don't know which community, and I hesitate to jump to conclusions, but perhaps you would tell me whether she's based among Kikuyu or whoever?) she has found the last few months intensely upsetting and terrifying. And lastly, I wholeheartedly agree with you about labels - "Africans" being particularly meaningless.