Johannesburg - The United States has asked Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga to call off his planned swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday next week, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported on Wednesday.
Donald Yamamoto, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US government’s Bureau of African Affairs, warned that Odinga’s move would further polarise Kenya.
Odinga’s controversial move followed the official swearing-in of incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta on November 28 for his second term in office.
The leader of the opposition coalition party, the National Super Alliance (Nasa), vowed that he and his followers would never recognise either the president or his government and stated that he would begin a campaign of civil disobedience.
Yamamoto’s warning followed a meeting with Odinga and Nasa principals Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, representing Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who is away.
However, the envoy stated that he would also bring Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee party to the negotiating table in order to agree with the opposition on how to get out of the impasse.
Many Kenyans are challenging Kenyatta’s sweeping victory in the October rerun elections, which saw a low turn-out, and once again claiming fraud.
Threats of unspecified sanctions, against defiant individuals who refuse to negotiate, by US President Donald Trump’s administration were also made during the meeting.
Washington was instrumental in brokering a truce which subsequently ushered in a coalition government following the 2007/2008 post-election violence.