Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kenyan Criticizes Racial Problems Here

By William C. Cotter

Africans view the United States’ racial problems as “very pitiful,” a leader of one of that continent’s newest independent nations said here Saturday.

Oginga Odinga, minister of home affairs for Kenya, explained this is especially true “because the United States of America was one of the first countries to champion” equal rights.

Yet, the United States “also practices segregation—which is what we are fighting in Africa,” he pointed out.

Mr. Odinga was in Atlanta with a group of other Kenyan officials. They leave Sunday morning to continue on their tour of the country.

Other members of the delegation are Joseph Murumbi, mininister of state; Njoroge Mugui, minister of health and houses; and Robert J. Ouko, senior assistant secretary, ministry of exterior affairs.

While in Atlanta, the group was to confer with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Mr. Odinga said, “I hear he is a good champion” of equal rights. “We want to know the views” of leaders in the United States “on various problems…questions such as economic development…common to all men.”

He expressed confidence in the stability of the Kenyan government. “It has the “respect of the people of our country,” he said.

“Joining the United Nations is one aspect of our trying to communicate our policy with the world,” explained Mr. Odinga.

Africa “will tow its own line” in the world, he said.

The Kenyans attended a luncheon on Saturday. They stayed at the Peachtree Manor Hotel.

The Kenyan leaders were invited to Atlanta by state Sen. Leroy Johnson, who met them during a recent trip to Africa.

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