Kenya’s main opposition leader said on Thursday that anger over last month’s presidential election ran so deep it threatened to tear the country apart.

Odinga speaks out as Kenya court nullifies president’s election win

Raila Odinga boycotted the Oct. 25 election because he said it would be unfair, leaving President Uhuru Kenyatta to win with 98 percent of the vote. The Supreme Court called the poll after it annulled a first presidential election held in August on procedural grounds.

“Mainstream Kenyans feel so deeply cheated they are openly toying with the idea of secession,” Odinga told an audience in Washington, D.C.

His speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think-tank, was broadcast live on Kenyan television.

“The biggest problem in Kenya right now is exclusion … unless they (the problems) are addressed they will tear the country apart,” he said. “As things stand now, anger and radicalization is growing by the day.”

A small number of politicians in Odinga’s opposition alliance have discussed the idea of his strongholds seceding from Kenya but the idea has not gained wide popularity.

Odinga’s supporter base is concentrated along Kenya’s coast, in city slums and in his western strongholds, areas that have traditionally felt excluded from political power and the opportunities for patronage it offers.

Odinga’s supporters are currently boycotting three companies they say are backing the government. The opposition has called for protests on Friday.

In his speech, Odinga noted Kenya’s four presidents since independence had all come from the Kikuyu or Kalenjin communities, even though the country had 44 recognised ethnic groups. Kenyatta is a Kikuyu and his deputy, who has made clear his intention to run in the next election, is a Kalenjin.

Earlier this week, Odinga told Reuters he wanted a caretaker government for six months while preparations were made for new elections.

Government officials reject the idea, saying Odinga had his chance to compete in October.

The Supreme Court is due to start hearing petitions on the legality of the October elections next week.

additional reporting by John Ndiso; editing by John Stonestreet


  1. Enough of the damage done by Raila Odinga. Too many innocent lives have been lost because of his unbridled political ambition. In 1982, he backed a military coup against President arap Moi. It failed. Hundreds were killed. Odinga fled into exile, later pardoned to return. 2007-8 he protested the results of a presidential election he lost. Thousands died in the ensuing inter-ethnic bloodletting. Kofi Annan/AU brokered a coalition government, a new Prime Minister slot was created just to accommodate him. He became fabulously rich during the short 4 years he was in office. To date Odinga has tried 4x to be president. He’s failed in all. The Supreme Court, “because of failings, not rigging” annulled the last August elections that Odinga had protested the results. He accepted the re-run date the Court instituted, asking his NASA followers to campaign hard to win. But when Odinga realized he was going to lose yet again, he made all sorts of intemperate if not silly demands. What an odious politician. Enough is enough of the disruptive games of Raila Odinga. He’ll NEVER be president. Kenyans want to move on. The current system isn’t perfect but Rome/Democracy wasn’t built in a day.

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