Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s advisers on Wednesday fought back on allegations that he influenced the appointment of his relatives to big public jobs. Read (Miguna leaves Kenya amid Raila book furore)
Writing in Mr Odinga’s defence, journalist Sarah Elderkin, an adviser of long standing, said that all the people Mr Miguna Miguna talks about in his book, Peeling Back The Mask: A Quest for Justice in Kenya, were qualified for the jobs.
They include Dr Wenwa Owino, the PM’s sister who is Kenya’s consul-general in Los Angeles, his brother Oburu Odinga, the Finance assistant minister and Mr Elkanah Odembo, the ambassador in Washington who is his brother-in-law.
Ms Elderkin says prior to her appointment, Dr Wenwa was professor of organic chemistry at the University of Nairobi.
Dr Wenwa, she says, was the first Kenyan woman to obtain a doctorate in chemistry and has long experience in the public sector.
“She had been in line for a diplomatic appointment for a long time, and had been passed over on several previous occasions when less qualified people had been appointed in her stead,” Ms Elderkin says.
Ms Elderkin also describes Mr Odembo as an accomplished individual with a distinguished career before Mr Odinga became Prime Minister.
“Is Odembo supposed to be denied this because his sister made the “mistake” of getting married to Raila’s cousin? Are we, as a nation, for the same reason supposed to be denied the outstanding contribution such a person can make to public life?”
Mr Miguna also mentioned Jakoyo Midiwo, MP for Gem, the ODM chief whip in parliament and Mr Odinga’s cousin.
But Ms Elderkin says Mr Odinga had nothing to do with this because the position is elective.