How Raila was offered high level security during US tour amid assassination claims

The NASA leader jetted back into the country on Friday.

Details have now emerged on the extra security measures taken to protect Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga while on his US tour.

Mr. Odinga jetted out of the country last week for a 10-day trip of the US and Europe where he held a series of high level meetings and talks with various leaders.

Local newspaper Sunday Nation reports that moments before Nasa leader Raila Odinga stepped onto the podium to give the much-anticipated speech last Thursday in Washington, a small pick-up truck bearing Virginia state number plates pulled into the parking lot, two blocks away from the venue.

In the pickup at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) were hundreds of handwritten posters, placards and fliers bearing messages such as "We Love You Baba", "Welcome to the USA Baba", "Give us Directions", "Resist! NRM", et cetera.

The Nasa supporters were acting on a rumour, which was later dispelled as false, that Jubilee party supporters had plans to protest at the venue. The idea by the opposition supporters was however to counter any anti-Odinga rally.

Reports were also rife that three Kenyan government agents — two men and a woman — had been sent to the venue to spy on Mr Odinga, with some even suggesting the team was out to harm him.

This information was not taken lightly by Mr Odinga’s supporters, especially those who were organising other meetings — in Maryland and Jersey City.

During a conference call held that afternoon by the organisers, it was suggested that either they call off the meetings or hire a credible security firm to watch over the three events.

In New Jersey, security was tight. Every person entering the venue was subjected to a search.

While it had earlier been announced that Mr Odinga was jetting into the Garden State from DC through Newark International airport, he arrived by train and was picked up by Matt Mayer, the chief executive of New Castle County, Delaware.

At the venues, he also used back entrances, catching even those who wanted to pose for pictures with him by surprise.

Such were the security measures taken to ensure the safety of the NASA leader which was a stark contrast to his previous US visits where he would mingle freely with Kenyans.

Reports earlier indicated that there were plans to assassinate the Opposition leader, claims which the government denied.


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