Raila trip abroad official, government says

May 28, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 28- The government has clarified that Prime Minister Raila Odinga`s recent trip to the United States and Iran was official.

Spokesman Alfred Mutua on Thursday said Cabinet ministers who accompanied the PM were also given a go ahead by President Mwai Kibaki.

“This clarification is made in lieu of the public interest on the Prime Minister’s travel,” Mr Mutua said a day after Parliament sought an explanation as to the nature of the trip and why only MPs from Mr Odinga’s party travelled in his entourage.

The Premier was accompanied by Cabinet Ministers James Orengo, Dr Sally Kosgei to the US while Anyang Nyong’o, Fred Gumo, Ibrahim Elmi and Charity Ngilu joined him for the Iran trip. All the ministers are from the Premiers Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party.

Ikolomani Member of Parliament Bonny Khalwale sought an explanation from the Foreign Affairs Ministry on whether the trips were official and how much it cost the Kenyan taxpayer.

Mr Odinga left the country last Monday on a two-week trip to the United States and Iran.

Mr Odinga`s itinerary did not indicate that he would visit the White House, neither did it have any visit to Washington raising speculation that he may have not been recognised as travelling in his official capacity.

Dr Khalwale added: “I want the Minister to tell the House whether the US President Barack Obama snubbed the PM and if he was snubbed what the reason behind it was.”

Dr Khalwale is also seeking details on areas of cooperation between Kenya and Iran and whether the composition of the PM’s delegation reflected these areas.

Next Tuesday the Foreign Affairs Minister is expected to give a ministerial statement on the matter.


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