Go see the lions - but don't mess with politics, Kenya tells Clinton aide

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The Independent Online

It must have seemed like such a good idea at the time. Last week Raila Odinga, Kenya's opposition leader, riding high in the polls ahead of next month's presidential election, unveiled his team's newest star weapon: former Bill Clinton adviser Dick Morris.

Mr Morris, who was sacked by Mr Clinton during his 1996 re-election campaign after a dalliance with a prostitute, compared Mr Odinga to his former employer. Mr Odinga, he told a press conference in Nairobi, showed courage and integrity and was just the man to defeat the incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki.

There was only one problem with Mr Morris's intervention in Kenyan politics: he had entered the country on a tourist visa, and had not applied for a work permit. The government, with barely disguised glee, took less than 48 hours to give him an ultimatum – go and look at lions, or get out. "The rules are very clear," said a government spokesman, Alfred Mutua. "If a visitor is issued with a tourist visa, he is expected to visit our national parks and other attractions, and not provide consultancy or other services."

Mr Morris took the hint, and boarded the next plane home. The Odinga campaign had tried to get round Kenya's notoriously tight immigration laws by claiming he was working for nothing, although some analysts suggested he was probably being paid by Mr Odinga's network of rich Kenyan-American supporters.

The consultant's absence may even help. Mr Morris accused the Kibaki government of corruption, and though many Kenyans would agree, few appreciate a foreigner telling them so. Indeed, polls released yesterday revealed that Mr Kibaki had closed the gap on his opponent to less than half a point.

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