Rioting For Change in the Age of Obama

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In August and September 2006, then Senator Barack Obama traveled to South Africa, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya as a congressional delegation of one. While in Kenya, the Junior Senator from Illinois enthusiastically appeared at the side of his “cousin” Luo Raila Odinga who was then running for President on the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket. Odinga’s campaign theme was amazingly similar to Obama’s:  (“Your agent for change’)

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Imagine a popular foreigner coming to America and campaigning for one of our candidates for president. Imagine the popular foreigner being openly critical of the administration currently in power.

Imagine further that the popular foreigner’s candidate was a ruthlessly ambitious pol with  financial ties to terrorists and a stated objective of dismantling the government’s anti-terror apparatus.  That’s what happened in 2006 when Senator Obama- celebrated in Kenya because of his African heritage – campaigned for Raila Odinga.

Obama’s vigorous politicking did not please everyone in Kenya.  A Kenyan Government spokesman, Alfred Matua, complained, “It is very clear that the senator has been used as a puppet to perpetuate opposition politics.” Mutua told AFP “we earlier thought he was mature in his assessment of Kenyan and African politics. We forgive him because it is his first time in the Senate and he is yet to mature into understanding issues of foreign policy.”

Odinga is the son of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenya’s first vice-president. Oginga was a committed socialist who sent his son to Communist East Germany for college.

The younger Odinga named one of his sons Fidel Castro and has also admitted to being one of the masterminds of a 1982 attempted coup against Daniel arap Moi, Kenya’s second president.

Odinga also has links to Islamic extremists in Kenya.

According to Voice of America and the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, on 8/29/07, Odinga signed a secret agreement (exposed 11/27) with Sheikh Abdullah Abdi of the National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF) in which he agreed to institute Islamic law in exchange for Abdi’s support (eakenya.org)—thereby potentially disenfranchising and curtailing the liberties of millions of Christian Kenyan women. Further, he promised that Muslims suspected of terrorism would be safe from extradition—thereby establishing a ‘safe haven’ for terrorists in Kenya.

After the public outcry, Odinga denied signing a secret agreement. Angry at Odinga’s apparent repudiation, a member of NAMLEF subsequently released the agreement to the press. Odinga then claimed the document was a forgery, but acknowledged a secret agreement had been signed in exchange for Muslim support.

Finally, under constant pressure, Odinga released what he claimed was the actual document (“Real” MOU) a considerably watered down version of the original; but still anathema to many Christian groups. “In response to the revelations, The Evangelical Alliance of Kenya released a statement in which church leaders said Raila, in both MOUs, ‘comes across as a presumptive Muslim president bent on forcing Islamic law, religion and culture down the throats of the Kenyan people in total disregard of the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of worship and equal protection of the law’”

While, the Kibaki government had been a leading supporter of the US’s efforts to dismantle Al-Qaeda cells in Kenya and elsewhere, Cousin Odinga made his opposition to the government’s crackdown of suspected Al Qaeda supporters a cornerstone of his campaign.

Odinga went on to lose the presidential election by a margin of only 230,000 votes. Raila disputed the sketchy results, alleging fraud

Raila and his ODM leaders called for mass action, leading to massive unrest and violence throughout the country.

His Luo supporters engaged in what US Envoy Jendayi Frazer called “clear ethnic cleansing.”

Much of the violence has pitted other tribes, including Odinga’s Luo, against Kibaki’s Kikuyu who are the largest ethnic group. Kikuyus have long been resented for their dominance of Kenya’s economy and politics, but poor Kikuyu are among the slum dwellers who have been left out of the country’s economic boom.

Frazer said the violence she saw during a visit earlier this month to the western Rift Valley pitted the Kalenjin, who support Odinga, against Kikuyus.

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Odinga’s supporters went on a rampage—burning Kikuyu homes and businesses, while Odinga looked the other way. They raped Kikuyu women, and torched a church where up to 50 Christian Kikuyu woman & children were burned alive.

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Georgette Gagnon, acting Africa director for the New York based Human Rights Watch claimed to have evidence that ODM [Odinga’s party] politicians and local leaders actively fomented some of the post-election violence.”

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After two months of  violent rioting that led to the death of about 1000 people and displacement of about 250,000, a deal was struck between Odinga and Kibaki, which included the creation of a power-sharing Prime Minister post for Odinga. Kenya’s “Agent for Change” was sworn in on April 17, 2008.

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It was disturbing back in 2008 to watch these terrible events unfold, knowing that Senator Obama had stumped for the candidate whose loss had incited so much violence.

Today, as cities across the nation erupt in violence as a result of grand jury decisions Obama and his fellow travelers don’t like, it’s hard not to see parallels.

Odinga claimed that he and Obama spoke regularly on the phone – much like Obama has been in constant contact with his “advisor”  Al Sharpton who has been organizing nationwide protests.

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After Odinga lost the election and Kenya erupted into violence Obama reportedly had daily conversations with Odinga.  He even recorded a message for Kenya,  “calling for calm.”

Obama did the same thing, of course after the grand jury decision exonerating officer Wilson was announced and Ferguson was erupting into chaos

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A protester throws back a smoke bomb while clashing with police in Ferguson, Missouri

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At no point did Obama try to distance himself from  Odinga. At no time did he try to distance himself from Sharpton. These are fellow “agents of change,” after all.

Odinga did finally get what he was asking for – the creation of a government post just for him.

And the racial grievance industry is getting the law enforcement reforms they’re asking for, as well.

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 “Change” has come to America, as promised.

18 thoughts on “Rioting For Change in the Age of Obama

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