Sunday, 23 October 2016

Raila hails strong opposition for Africa democratic gains

Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga (centre) at a political summit in London, October 21, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY
Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga (centre) at a political summit in London, October 21, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY 
Kenya’s opposition Cord leader Raila Odinga has criticised African leaders for their reluctance to accept opposition.
Speaking about the place of opposition in a hostile environment at a global summit on democracy in London, Mr Odinga however, noted that there was increased resilience by opposition in the continent, which he said was good news.
Mr Odinga used Kenya as an example to explain democratic gains, saying the current progressive constitution was achieved through hard work by the opposition and civil society.
Mr Odinga said Kenyan opposition had been able to successfully challenge government decisions in court, noting that this was a sign of democratic growth.
He decried the current extensions of tenure by African leaders as undemocratic citing the recent example of Burundi, Rwanda and DR Congo.
The former PM observed that a Burundi constitutional court had ruled to give the incumbent President Nkurunziza a third term in office. In Rwanda, the top court also cleared the way for Kagame’s third term.
Mr Odinga, however, noted that democracy was a process and “not an instant coffee which you brew and drink almost at the same.”
Raila told the forum covering opposition politics, activism, challenges and expectations globally, that ethnicity is a challenge to democracy in Africa, but mostly “an elites’ disease".
He said elites mostly eat the mythical national cake alone, but the moment they are caught stealing, they start lying that their tribesmen are being targeted.
Reacting to news that South Africa was planning to leave the International Criminal Court because of a perceived bias against Africa, Mr Odinga said many of the leaders were referred to the court by their own governments. He said despite the move, Africa still needs the court.

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