Sunday, May 18, 2008


There is a claim going round in the US presidential campaign that US senator Obama(who is poised to win against Mc Cain and Hillary Clinton) is a cousin of Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, whom they describe as "a socialist who plans to introduce Sharia Law in Kenya”.

The Clinton campaign as you recall were trying to discredit Obama wearing the Somali robes last month all in vain.

They have used all sorts of "desperate stories" to ruin Obama's hope of becoming The next US President by attributing claims that Obama's family background is Islamic and that he is unfit.

Obama is a Christian and everybody knows that.

Right-wing activists, most of them conservative Christians, claim that Mr Obama is a relative of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Once last month, a conservative Internet commentator, Michael Gaynor, speculated that the clinton’s campaign might play “the Kenya card” against Mr Obama. which involves unspecified connections between the Kenyan-American senator and “the radical Kenyan prime minister.”

Senator Obama stands a good chance against Senator John McCain of the rival Republican Party, thus making history as the first non-white to become a US president.

Mr Obama is the son of Barack Obama Sr of Nyangoma-Kogelo, Siaya, and Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kansas. He was raised by his maternal grandparents.
In October last year, Mrs Lynne Cheney, wife of US Vice-President Dick Cheney, announced that she had discovered, while researching a book on their family, that Mr Cheney and Mr Obama were blood relatives. They were eighth cousins, she said, with a common ancestor, a 17th-century immigrant from France.

The Illinois senator is acknowledged as perhaps the most charismatic American politician since John F Kennedy.

For the past two decades, American presidential campaigns have been conducted with every aspect of a candidate’s life placed under the microscope.Analysts expect the Republicans to scour Mr Obama’s Kenyan links to find anything that they can use against him.
Some of the most widely circulated allegations originated last month in a chain e-mail from Celeste Davis, an American Christian missionary who, together with her husband Loren Davis, claims to have worked in Kenya for 12 years.

The Davises allege that Senator Obama donated nearly $1 million (approximately Ksh61 million) to the Orange Democratic Movement’s campaign last year. “Obama and Raila speak daily,” the Davises add, claiming that the two men are cousins.

Mr Odinga’s Party ODM spokesman, Mr Salim Lone, dismissed the allegations as bizarre and discredited.

“These are bizarre accusations that lack credibility. The allegations that the Prime Minister has socialist and pro-Mulism leanings were discussed and discredited in the last campaign,” he said.

“This is the work of right-wing activists who are trying to puncture holes in Senator Barack

Obama’s campaign for the White House by attempting to resurrect allegations that were discredited in Kenya during the campaign,” he said.

Kenya's Raila Odinga is a christian also who from time to time is accused of trying to bring into surface Marginalization of Kenya Muslims by uniting his Muslim and Christian supporters in his Party, ODM.He has widely been reported as urging people respect the right of Muslims to live like other Kenyans-something that spread his Muslim leaning.

Tom Wolf, an American Nairobi-based political scientist, said that the Internet smear campaign against Mr Obama was an act of desperation and futile.

“It just shows how desperate the Republicans are that Obama is viewed as a serious threat that they would have to use such irrelevant campaign tactics. If the Americans were worried, would they be so close to him? You recall that someone tried to use the Somali robes to discredit him,” he said.

If the Cold War were still on and communism were still alive, and Raila had spent a weekend with some communist leader like Fidel Castro, he said, it would be much more of an issue.

" But it's aronic to criticise Obama because he is related to a Kenyan leader who arrived at a compromise over the disputed election to save his nation, how would that hurt him?” Mr Wolf asked.

Kenya's ODM spokesman Lone categorically described the e-mail campaign as one of the last gasp efforts by right-wing activists in the US to dent Senator Obama’s campaign to become the Democratic Party’s standard bearer in the race to the White House.

Mr Lone, however, claimed that Mr Odinga and Senator Obama were related by blood and came from the same clan.
“It is true that the Prime Minister and the senator are related. Senator Obama comes from a family and clan to which the Prime Minister’s mother belongs, and they are cousins,” he said.
In the American sense, a cousin is the child of your parents’ siblin
gs. But in Luo culture, the members of your father’s or mother’s clans are your cousins.

A clan would typically have hundreds of thousands of members, and the relationship is more social than biological.

Mr Obama is the son of Barack Obama Sr of Nyangoma-Kogelo, Siaya, Kenya and Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kansas.He was raised by his maternal grandparents.

Mr Davis and his wife, noting Mr Odinga’s contention that the December 27 presidential voting was rigged, said in their message, “As we watch Obama rise in the US we are sure that whatever happens, he will use the same tactic, crying rigged election if he doesn’t win and possibly cause a race war in America.”

The authors, including Jerome Corsi have been spreaheading smearing credentials of Democratic Senator John Kerry in the 2004 US presidential race and that they may make some negative use of Senator Obama’s Kenyan heritage.

A February 27 report by the McClatchy-Tribune News Service in the US says that author Jerome Corsi intends to research “Obama’s connections to Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga and Odinga’s ties to Muslim groups.”

The Davises’ allegations concerning Senator Obama and Mr Odinga “are all kinds of false,” states an online commentator for The New Republic, a respected US political magazine.