Kenya ‘a beacon of democracy’ in East Africa, says expert
Kenya’s parliament has agreed to allow a second independent presidential candidate to run, following the death last year of former president Mwai Kibaki, who was in office for 15 years.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has been in power for more than a quarter of a century, but parliament agreed to go ahead with his candidacy in order to prevent violence from breaking out between the two of them.
“Kofi Annan has done a wonderful job in Kenya as the Nobel peace laureate,” said Odinga, who is running against Kibaki’s re-election bid.
“I thank him for that, because he has done what is very much needed in Kenya and that is to have a peaceful transfer of power.
“I have learnt that you can lead by example, but you also need to show leadership.”
A new president will take office next month.
President Obama has been to Kenya twice since his inauguration in January 2009, on his first visit, he met President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2010. Obama will return to the country May 29 for the opening of the new US embassy in Nairobi.
Kenya’s president is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday.
Odinga faces re-election in the September 30 ballot.
“The people of Kenya have decided and have been demanding a free and fair election in September,” said Odinga.
“The people of Kenya will not allow those who looted and stole from them to take the oath of office on May 30.”
A few hundred protesters gathered outside the parliament gates on Monday, chanting “We want a winner” and holding placards reading “No violence, no theft”, a repeat of the chants made by the opposition during the disputed 2005 vote between Kibaki and Odinga.
Kenyatta was re-elected in 2010 after a disputed run-off.
“It is important to see that the election is completely free, fair and transparent,” he said.
His administration had also faced allegations of fraud in the