The Powerful US government official who held private talks with Raila

Raila is reported to have won the hearts of several influential American officials.

The Opposition leader has held talks with numerous stakeholders including lobby groups, Congressmen, and diplomats working for the American government.

However, one meeting has received little attention despite its significance.

Last week on Thursday, Odinga delivered a lecture at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC which was attended by veteran American diplomat Johnnie Carson. The two later held private talks on the sidelines of the well-attended event.

The presence of Carson at the speech was significant given that his current position at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) makes him an influential influence of the American policy - serving as a Senior Advisor to the US President.

Many Kenyans recall Carson as the non-nonsense American diplomat who coined the phrase “Choices have consequences” in the run up to the 2013 election where Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto had run at a time they were facing charges at the ICC.

The remarks were made at a time when Carson was serving as the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. However, he had also served as US Ambassador to Kenya between 1999 and 2003.

The 74-year old diplomat has extensive knowledge on African diplomacy having worked as an envoy in Zimbabwe (1995-1997), Uganda (1991-1994) Botswana (1986-1990), Mozambique (1975-1978), and Nigeria (1969-1971).

While Carson stands out in the team of diplomats who held talks with Odinga, there are other influential officials including former US Ambassador Kenya William Bellamy who served in Nairobi between 2003 and 2006.

The Opposition Leader also met with Yamamoto Donald, the assistant secretary of State for African Affairs in the US administration, Michael Phelan, director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Greg Simpkins, director of the House of Representatives sub-committee on Africa.

National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale has since announced that Jubilee would be starting a shuttle diplomacy campaign to counter what he termed as the NASA leader’s “lies to the international community”.


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