What Raila team, civil society want president Barack Obama to engage President Uhuru over

Tone Theatre Production rehearse a musical, Dreams of a Father, at the Kenya National Theatre yesterday. The production is about US President Barack Obama and will be staged from July 22-26. [PHOTO: ELVIS OGINA/STANDARD]
NAIROBI: The civil society and the Opposition want insecurity, good governance and human rights to be top on the agenda when President Uhuru Kenyatta and his US counterpart Barack Obama meet during his visit to Kenya.

Seventeen human rights organisations have petitioned President Obama to raise concern about threats to civil society and the media, corruption and human rights violations during his trip. The groups particularly want Obama to put pressure on the Government to implement the Constitution and uphold international human rights conventions.

“As one of Kenya’s closest allies and a key partner in the fight against terrorism, the US has a unique role in urging President Uhuru and his government to change its current trajectory and work to implement the Constitution. We urge you to raise these critical issues during your upcoming historic visit to Kenya,” the groups said in a letter dated July 14 and addressed to the White House.

And separately, MPs from Raila Odinga’s Coalition for Reforms and Democracy want the talks to focus on insecurity, good governance and the independence of the country’s electoral body.

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“He should address the increasing dictatorship by the Jubilee administration that wants Opposition legislators to join it to get development in their constituencies. The fact that Jubilee and IEBC have also gone to bed threatens the fairness of next election,” said Ford Kenya’s Secretary General Eseli Simiyu.

Eseli also claimed that the democratic space in the country has been shrinking since Jubilee ascended to power.

Orange Democratic Movement Political Affairs Secretary Opiyo Wandayi said Obama’s trip will not amount to much if he does talk about roll out of devolution, insecurity, youth unemployment and corruption.

Kisumu West MP John Olago Aluoch (Ford Kenya) wants Obama to use his visit to woo US firms to invest in Kenya.

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Wajir West MP Abdikidir Ore wants the US leader to offer the Uhuru administration tips on  withdrawal of the Kenya Defence Forces from Somalia. “He should share with Kenyans the road map to the withdrawal of the KDF since terrorist attacks have been linked to them,” said Ore.

Nyando legislator Fred Outa said they will seize every opportunity to raise issues affecting Kenyans.

Homa Bay MP Opondo Kaluma said Obama’s address would be of no value to Kenyans if it does not address issues of good governance, insecurity and politics of exclusion.

—Reporting by Rawlings Otieno, Rushdie Oudia and Nyambega Gisesa

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