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Kenya: Protesters Demand US Ambassador Step Down Amid Bribery Accusations

A group of Kenyan youths associated with the National Super Alliance, or NASA, has set up camp in front of the United States Embassy in Nairobi to demand the resignation of U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec.

They claim that repeated statements made by Godec, urging NASA leader and former presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, to recognize Uhuru Kenyatta as the legitimately elected president of Kenya, constitutes “political interference” in the country's internal affairs.

The opposition coalition posted a message on its official Facebook page calling on supporters to go to the U.S. Embassy and demand that Godec step down, according to Citizen TV.

On more than one occasion NASA has accused the ambassador, who has been stationed in Kenya since 2013, of being “partisan,” favoring Kenyatta amid claims of election fraud.

Earlier this week, several NASA parliament members urged envoys from Western countries to stay out of Kenya's internal affairs.

“Some of the envoys were involved in dubious deals, for instance, the single sourcing of the carriageway from Nairobi to Mombasa and overpriced air tractor that was to be sold to KDF but was later thwarted by an American congressman,” said TJ Kajwang, an MP for Ruaraka. 

Protesters have echoed the statements made by Kajwang, who led the “swearing-in” of NASA leader Raila Odinga at Uhuru Park in January. Evans Ochieng, a protester, said: "Godec is a U.S. citizen and he cannot purport to know our political dynamics better than we do," adding "He has no basis to determine how our leaders are supposed to conduct their politics."

Supporters of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition hold placards during a protest against U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec outside the embassy building in Gigiri area of Nairobi, Kenya February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Ochieng and others say if the U.S. wants to be viewed as a neutral player in Kenya, Godec "must publicly apologize to Kenyans and the 'peoples president' Raila Odinga."

Kennedy Nyangine, another protester, added: "We have seen various ambassadors in this country, and during their tenure, they have never meddled in our civic and political processes. Just like our ambassadors in their countries respect their political space so should they."

The protests came barely a day after NASA MPs accused Godec of cutting deals with Jubilee in exchange for political support.

On Feb. 11, a group of envoys released a statement that read: “The opposition needs to accept that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are the legitimate President and Deputy President of Kenya as the basis for the dialogue that it and many Kenyans want. Stoking and threatening violence are not acceptable, nor are extra-constitutional measures to seize power.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of Kenya's presidential election in October after, the Supreme Court nullified the election in September, citing irregularities. Odinga, the opposition leader, has challenged the results of both polls stating the results had been tampered with.

  • Countries: Africa