Archive for February 2008

America Digs Into Kibaki, Raila Bank Accounts

US President George Bush last week issued what sounded like an ultimatum to warring Kenyan leaders who are yet to reach a peace deal under the Koffi Annan mediation effort, that there was now no turning back on a return to democracy and an end to violence.

Bush has joined other world leaders in warning that perpetrators of post-election killings which US Human Rights Watch say were pre-planned and executed by a "secret" army especially in Rift Valley and other parts of the country must answer for the death of more than 1,000 Kenyans, the displacement of close to 600,000 and the destruction of property worth billions of shillings. The Rights body has further warned that killings could resume if the Annan team failed to come up with a workable power sharing formula or Annan as little as made as if to head to the

The human rights watch whose report was published in the Los Angeles Times has insisted that it has credible evidence of "ethnic cleansing" in the Rift Valley targeting certain communities executed by a well-trained "secret army" funded and sponsored by senior politicians some of whom have been banned from ever stepping on US soil. The rights watchdog says it has interviewed several locals in parts of areas rocked by post-election violence and warns that things could get out of hand as some young men have declared " they were ready for war if Annan fails".

Alarmed at events in Nairobi for years a reliable western ally during the cold war and now the global war on terrorism, a tough talking Bush who has dispatched his secretary of stateondoleeza Rice this week to deliver a personal message to President Mwai Kibaki and ODM supremo Raila Odinga is understood to be pushing for an immediate power sharing formula acceptable to all sides and which puts an end to all post-election violence. Bush is making it clear it will not be business as usual and the two men will be held accountable for whatever befalls the country.

The two main protagonists in the battle for power that has seen Kenya descend into a pogrom hitherto seen only in the war for independence when blood flowed through the valleys and hillsides are now facing a scenario whereby they will have to either stick together or hang separately. The issue is no longer about who won the election or not, or whether turnout in some areas grossing even 98 per cent was suspect, or whether queries raised on presidential tallying were irregular, what is at stake Pentagon sources made it clear in Washington is saving the country from burning and disintegrating.

According to highly placed sources within the US Embassy in Nairobi, the world's sole super power has now entered a second phase of finding a solution to the Kenyan problem. Compared to what the US has been doing before in its bids to bring understanding to the country, our sources said, what Mwai Kibaki and Raila are now about to undergo in the hands of the Americans. "They aint seen nothing yet," was the terse remark an American official said on being asked what form the new tactics would take.

The source further warned that associates of the two who may have participated in actively training or arming secret armies now believed to be on standby in some parts of the country ready to unleash mayhem would face the might of the super power. The sources echoed what Kisumu town MP Shakir recently warned that militant youths if allowed to continue could turn the country into fiefdoms of warlords like Somalia.

Other sources within the Embassy were not so economical with the facts and outright indicated that the US would now intimidate the two until they "toed the line". The Americans, we heard, will now hit the two where it hurts; the pocket. To start with, the Americans are now digging into the bank accounts of the two with a view of establishing where and how much is deposited. Once they get the information, they will then embark on trying to have the accounts frozen until the two agree on modalities of sharing power and pulling Kenya out of the precipice it now finds

Should Raila and Kibaki refuse to play ball, we learnt, they would also be put under "country arrest" and denied visas to travel abroad especially to US and Europe where they are believed yo have stashed collosal amounts of money. The idea, it is said, is to stop the two from fleeing the country to safety abroad should an all out inter-tribal war break out. The fears that the two might plunge the country into a civil war and then leave people to burn on their own, sources say, were heightened by allegations that Raila had on the day the violence started on 30th of
December chattered a jet to hurriedly sneak out his family to Tanzania enroute to safety overseas.

He is said to have been aware it is claimed that a secret army that had been armed with bows and arrows in Rift Valley and drilled into attacking and killing members of one community would make the country ungovernable once results favouring Kibaki were announced. A close associate of Odinga and member of the Pentagon is said to be widely referred to as a "warlord" under whom battalions of warriors are ready for war.

Already, a number of bank accounts mainly Kibaki's have been unearthed in Europe and Asia. Although they knew Kibaki is a wealthy man in his own right, the sleuths were reportedly surprised at huge accounts overflowing with deposits.

Those who have worked closely with President Kibaki on business matters however say that anyone digging into Kibaki's accounts would not get far and would if lucky get to just within a quarter of his true worth because the president is a man who operates from behind the walls thus making it almost impossible to trace his finances. Financial experts say it is hard to estimate Kibaki's actual net worth because he operates through a series of investment companies.

Besides operating under the cover of investing companies, Kibaki also prefers having his investments in trust through holding companies making it almost impossible for anyone trying to know what he owns and where it is situated. Unlike other prominent businessmen, Kibaki's business empire remains unknown and the only fairly known Kibaki family company is perhaps Lucia and Company Ltd. The company used to operate from Finance House where Kibaki had a private office before he became president in 2003.

Because of what close business associates described as security risk, the company then moved its offices to a more prestigious Bishop's Gardens building in the Kilimani suburbs. It is from this office where members of Kibaki's immediate family, daughter Judy Kibaki, sons Jimmy, Tony, David and Kagai regularly operate from.

Apart from Lucia and Company Ltd the Kibaki family is also said to have a direct substantial interest in the prestigious and successful clothe store Deacons, interests in Silver Springs Hotel in the outskirts of Nairobi and Green Hills Hotel in Nyeri. It is also said that at one time, he was in partnership with Njenga Karume in tourism business via the now collapsed United Touring Company (UTC) which in the 1980s was one of the largest and most successful tour operators in the country. Through UTC the two had an interest in Nyali Beach Hotel in Mombasa.

Despite keeping details of his private companies under lock and key, investigations reveal that Kibaki and family own shares in various blue chip companies trading at the Nairobi Stock Exchange. It is estimated that the Kibaki family controls an investment empire worth as much as Shs 2 billion.

Apart from investing at the Nairobi Stock Exchange, it is said that the family has also invested heavily in farming, owning huge farms in several parts of the country. Among these include one in Nakuru, a ranch in Naro Moru area near Nanyuki, farming interests via a holding company in Mweiga and in his rural home in Othaya.

Apart from having family business, records show that during the early 80s, Kibaki teamed up with the likes of former president Daniel Arap Moi, former powerful Attorney General Charles Njonjo and formed and investment company which they named Heri Limited.

It is said that the company invested heavily in property with its flagship properties such as Norfolk Towers, College House and Kolobot Gardens. The company also invested heavily in quoted securities at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) and was for many years among the top 20 shareholders of ICDC Investments (now Centum Investments), Nation Media Group, Jacaranda Hotel, Standard Chartered Bank, Lonrho Motors East Africa, Housing Finance Company and the Barclays Bank, Clarkson and Southern Ltd and Taisho Monarch Insurance Company.

It is also said that Kibaki also has an interest in International House Limited, the company associated with businessman Chris Kirubi and the one that owns the prestigious International House.

It is said that even when Kibaki fell out with Moi and Njonjo their business links remained intact and sustained by the fact that they operated mainly through investing companies. This arrangement meant that the did not have to meet in order to transact business since the firms were run by hired professionals and all that the shareholders did was to wait for their dividend cheques.

Another company associated with Kibaki is African Liaison & Consultants Services Limited (ALCS). According to financial analysts, today African Liaison is among the major shareholders in such public quoted companies as CFC Bank, Barclays Bank of Kenya, CMC Holdings as well as Heritage Insurance Company.

For political survival Kibaki is said to have not only relied on family business to finance his campaigns, he has since his first attempt on the presidency in 1992 elections relied on a network of wealthy businessmen and professionals. Some of the big names include Joe Barage Wanjui, the Chancellor of the University of Nairobi. He is fabulously wealthy and owns a huge stake - together with business magnate Chris Kirubi - in UAP Provincial Insurance, one of the largest Insurance companies in the region.

Another big name is that of Nathaniel Mbugua Kang'ethe who runs the MCL Saatchi and Saatchi. He also runs Kang'ethe and Associates and IA Consulting Kenya Ltd. Also in the list of those who have been giving Kibaki financial support is Jeremiah Kiereini who ahs a considerable stake in Unga Group Ltd, CMC Holdings Group of Companies and CFC Bank Ltd. Others are cabinet minister John Njoroge Michuki who is also the owner of the exclusive Windsor Golf and Country Club. Eddy Njoroge the Managing Director of KenGen, Peter Tiras Kanyago, the head of the multi-million giant freight-forwarding firm, Express Kenya Ltd, and East Africa Elevator Company (OTIS). He is also the chairman of Toyota Kenya Foundation. Others are former Defence Minister Njenga Karume who owns the country's largest beer distribution firm.

As for Raila, he is said to be a fabulously wealthy man among the who is who in the country when it comes to worldly possessions despite his past mythical link to communism. Having been a victim of political prosecution, it is said, Raila learnt early never to put his eggs in one basket. In fact, it is believed that Raila has more money abroad than at home. The man who last year bought a Hummer vehicle that is more known as a toy of the children of the rich abroad is reputed to have a taste for the good life and this he has worked to ensure he achieves by
working harder to make that extra billion as he works hard to win that extra vote.

Although most of his money comes from the family Spectre Company that specializes on manufacturing gas cylinders, Raila has since 2002 really hit the billionaires' arena with his entry into big time oil trade. It started with his appointment by Moi to the ministry of energy where he made valuable contacts with oil men from Libya who have now moved into the Kenyan market and threatened to swamp all other players in the industry.

But back to the political crisis that appears hell bent on denying the some of Jaramogi political power which dogged his father throughout his life-time, Odinga believes he won the elections but was cheated through rigging in 47 constituencies. This point is said to have been raised in a heated exchange between PNU and ODM when they last week failed to agree on the broad formula for power sharing at the Koffi Annan-led mediation talks held in the secluded Tsavo national park.

A source at the talks revealed that of the 47 constituencies in dispute by ODM which it had wanted re-tallied, they could be divided into two groups. The first group of 27 contains the cases where ODM refuted the results announced by the returning officer as the constituency level but concurred that these are the same results announced at the national tallying center at KICC.

The second group of 20 constituencies contain the cases where ODM alleged that what was announced ta the constituency level tallying center by the returning officer was not consistent with what was announced at the national tallying center at KICC.

At the Annan talks, according to our source, the PNU countered that. ODM's use of provisional results, was unrealistic as it ignored other parties, other agents returns and past election trends. During the heated exchange PNU accused ODM of misleading the country by using provisional results announced prior to the results from all polling stations within the constituencies.

Forms 16 from the constituencies support the fact that results announced at the constituencies actually tallied with those announced at the national tallying centre, it was pointed out, buy ODM would hear none of it.

Back to America's plan to target the fortunes of Kenya's political leaders, Raila's controversial acquisition of the Kisumu Molasses Plant which came as part of a political deal he struck with Moi has also cemented his reputation as a first among equals in the hallowed corridors of the high and mighty. Apart form making a buck through business, Raila is also known to be an excellent fundraiser who hardly ever uses his own money as there are always thousands lining to do it for him with their own money.

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New television channel for the mwananchi

The premier all time Kenyan business TV channel to hit mwananchi screen is CNBC Africa under business mogul Chris Kirubi of Capital FM. CNBC is a partnership between CNBC and Kirubi's Capital Broadcasting Corporation. CNBC was previous available on DSTV but is now viewable on Channel 47 in Kenya.

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ODM fails to nominate Esther Muthoni Passaris

The former adopt-a-light MD, Esther Muthoni Passaris is conspicuously missing from the list of ODM's nominated councilors. Passaris, believed to be ODM's Pentagon favourite, resigned from her companies a week ago in a bid to seek Nairobi mayorship. She has met a dead end. This gives leeway for Godfrey Odhiambo Majiwa to be the next mayor of Nairobi.

The mediation talks have failed to reach a consensus on the post of prime minister. ODM insisted on getting an executive prime minister as per the Bomas draft answerable only to parliament while PNU stuck to the offer of a non-executive prime minister answerable to the president. This is another dead end for Kenya.

ODM held a parliamentary group meeting where Ababu Namwamba spoke on behalf of the group and called on their Kenyan supporters to a new round of "mass civil disobedience" -to quote him- if Raila is not handed over executive premiership as per the Bomas draft by Wednesday next week. It is notable that the words "peaceful demonstration" were not mentioned.

In previous calls of mass protests last January, hundreds died and protesters were shot at by the police. Billions of shillings were lost in destruction of property and infrastructure. Thousands of Kikuyus, who have become to be termed as "snakes" were displaced in the Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza provinces. Retaliatory evictions started in parts of Central and in Nakuru and Naivasha. This round of protests will find both sides prepared to tackle each other and if adequate security is not provided, it is likely to get worse.

This is a situation a majority of Kenyans do not want to see . Violence against innocent Kenyans should not be tore lated and should be condemned with the contempt it deserves. Justice cuts both ways. ODM needs justice over the election it believes was stolen and in their quest should not trample on the justice of innocent Kenyans, more so innocent Kikuyus whose only crime is to have a middle name like "Muthoni".

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Kenyan Opposition Leader Leaves Country

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's opposition leader unexpectedly left the country Friday, one day after government negotiators and their rivals edged toward a power-sharing deal to end a deadly postelection crisis.

Raila Odinga was still available for consultations while in Nigeria and was expected back Saturday, said opposition official Musalia Mudavadi. A Nairobi airport employee, who said he had seen the flight's manifest, confirmed the trip. He asked that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

George Nyamweya, a spokesman for the president's party, called Odinga's departure unexpected, but not necessarily a sign that negotiations had taken a sour turn. "He's free to go and come as he pleases," Nyamweya said.

Odinga missed a scheduled meeting Friday with Jean Ping, chairman of the African Union Commission, the AU executive body. Negotiators from his party attended instead, according to an AU official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The Dec. 27 election returned President Mwai Kibaki to power for a second five-year term after Odinga's lead in early vote counting evaporated overnight. The ensuing violence has stirred up ethnic grievances over land and poverty that have bedeviled Kenya since independence in 1963. More than 1,000 people have been killed.

On Thursday, the two sides appeared to be heading toward a deal as the government tentatively agreed to create a prime minister's post to be filled by the opposition. Government negotiator Mutula Kilonzo had said an agreement was expected Friday after weeks of international pressure on both sides to share power.

"I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel," former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, who has been mediating in the political negotiations, said in a statement Thursday.

Talks were to continue Friday, and negotiators from both sides were seen arriving at the luxury hotel where they have been trying to strike a deal. It wasn't clear whether Odinga's trip would disrupt the talks.

In Nigeria, Information Minister John Odey said he was unaware of Odinga's visit, indicating that the trip's purpose wasn't likely to include an official visit. The presidential spokesman wasn't immediately available for comment.

Nigeria, an African military and diplomatic powerhouse, isn't known to be involved in mediation efforts in Kenya.

A think tank said Thursday that armed groups on opposing sides of the political and ethnic strife in Kenya are mobilizing for new attacks and serious violence could erupt again if peace talks fail.

"Calm has partly returned but the situation remains highly volatile," the Brussels, Belgium-based International Crisis Group said in a report. "Armed groups are still mobilizing on both sides."

Talks between Kibaki and Odinga have focused on how to create a broader-based government to end the crisis. In particular, Odinga and his backers have demanded that the president share power.

The country remains caught between a desire to move on from waves of ethnic attacks and a fear that any compromise could spark new fighting.

Much of the bloodshed has pitted other ethnic groups against Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, long resented for dominating politics and the economy.

Associated Press writers Elizabeth A. Kennedy and Tom Odula contributed to this report.

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William Ruto ally in court today over post-election violence

Jackson Kibor, 72, an Uasin Gishu branch chairman and an ally of ODM Pentagon and Eldoret North MP William Ruto is in court today over charges of incitement in Eldoret to cause violence. This will be the first high-level prosecution relating to post election violence. William Ruto has been linked to post election ethnic cleansing of Kikuyus in the Rift Valley and will be interesting to see ODM's reaction to this prosecution by pro-PNU judiciary.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) chairperson Betty Maina says investors are moving their investment from Kenya to neighbouring countries due to the long drawn out negotiation process. Of late the agreement has been shifting further and further to the horizon and most investors who had taken a wait and see are wearing out and looking for foreign investment opportunities. Threats of fresh violence by ODM scheduled for next week complicate matters further for investors.

PNU mediation team failed to turn-up for the talks this morning at the Serena Hotel named 'House of Peace' because of the peace talks between ODM and PNU. ODM team waited for two hours and left in a huff leaving a message that they be called when the PNU team turns up. The government team was said to be held up somewhere else. Today's talks were supposed to focus on the powers of the second named Prime Minister in Kenya if the office is created - the first was Jomo Kenyatta on the first Madaraka day of June 1 1963.

The PNU team later emerged from Harambee house where they had a briefing with other government ministers at around midday and went for the mediation talks where the meeting proceeded on.

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Mombasa Asian businessmen in shock as plans go awry

Members of the Asian community in Mombasa who due to some differences with officials of the Kenyan government had decided to heavily fund the opposition to come in power by this year, are shedding tears after it became apparent that the opposition will not in any way rule Kenya.

The Asians many of whom run huge organizations and who claim huge stakes in manufacturing, supplies, transportation, hotel industry, constructions, shipping, engineering amongst other things, had through proxies, for fear of being victimized by the government heavily funded the opposition to try and secure an early good relationship with the incoming government.

The Asians who consulted widely after the polls conducted into the country by the Steadman Group, were later convinced that the country was destined for change and that there was going to be a change of guard as concerns the highest office in the country, which to them was promising a better future than what they were already experiencing which had sent most of their lucrative businesses grinding to a halt or had suffered sudden death all together.

The Asians who had given out funding to the opposition generously dug into their savings to bring into power the leaders they thought were to bring the country's business atmosphere back to where it used to be a few years ago and re-install a conducive investing condition.

Many of them had expected to make huge profits once the opposition took over for the hundreds of millions each had invested into the opposition funding but which has now left many of them in tears after elections turned into tragedy that has thrown the entire country in turmoil. To these Asians it is not business as usual and many of them are taking long holidays out of the country to seek professional assistance to relax their stressed minds, conditions they developed as a result of last year's general election stalemate.

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News Update

The sub-committee established to deal with the governance structure in the ongoing mediation talks is expected to finish its work tomorrow. William Ruto of ODM and Mutula Kilonzo representing the government are confident that a deal will be reached and expressed significant progress in the process. Kofi Annan is expected to update the media on the progress this afternoon.

Clashes between police and residents of Ngomongo slums have left one person dead. The police were in a mission to evict those who occupied houses of those who were fleeing the January violence. The police were forced to shoot in the air as residents stoned them and accused them of doing the evictions at night instead of during the day. Kasarani, Mathare and adjacent areas are worst hit by the evictions.

The US is funding a youth programme countrywide through civil societies. The awareness campaign is expected to dissuade the youth from being used by politicians to cause violence.

The Red Cross and other NGOs involved in the humanitarian crisis in the Rift Valley have used over 3 billion shillings to run the IDP camps. The Eldoret ASK show ground hosts 20,000 refugees, burnt forest 15,000 and Kazi Bora 17,000.. The numbers are increasing by the day.

The January inflation rate for Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe has reached an all time high of 100,586.2 per cent. Mugabe is seeking re-election next month.

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What did ODM Najib Balala Say?

The Nation quotes
We have been patient as ODM from the extreme position to a middle ground. But we are tired of delays and excuses that a political settlement could not be reached.
They don’t believe this country has a crisis. They are not in a hurry. They don’t believe it is a powerhouse of Sub-Saharan Africa. They want to rule and steal what they have lost in 24 years. We are being pressured by our people; if the negotiations are not working, then we change the terms of reference of the negotiations to discuss boundaries then we reduce them to an island like Lesotho.
They think ODM is desperate to get into Government. No, ODM is only desperate to give Kenyans the dream of effective equitable distribution of resources and devolution of power... this is not about Mr (Raila) Odinga and President Kibaki.
We thought the pressure from the international community would be able to make President Kibaki and his team to be flexible and come to a middle ground but it seems mass action is the only thing they can listen to. We shall therefore revive the power of the people.

The Standard quotes
The chief mediator, Mr Kofi Annan, is frustrated by PNU behaviour to scuttle the process. PNU members are frustrating the talks so that ODM can pull out. We want to tell them that we are there to stay. We shall meet next Wednesday to prepare for mass action and Kenyans should be ready for this.


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How Many ODM MPs?

The Daily Nation

" Wednesday’s meeting, attended by 45 party MPs, was chaired by Mr Balala and party secretary-general Anyang Nyong’o. "

The Standard
" The more than 90 MPs warned on Wednesday that if that did not happen, ODM would call for peaceful mass action. "

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Sharing power is only the first step

President Kibaki Tuesday laid down his proposals to pull the country out of the political crisis. Top on the agenda is a comprehensive constitutional review within a year to provide a framework for the envisaged changes in the political, judicial and electoral processes.

He acknowledged that what we have is a political crisis that requires a political settlement, and therefore agreed that power-sharing is the way to go.

However, the President insisted that the agreement must be undertaken within the existing constitutional regime.

By and large, the tone of his message was encouraging. It underlined the realisation that the country’s future lies in inclusiveness and not exclusiveness that characterised past administrations.

Still, the statement left many questions unanswered. For one, the insistence on effecting a power-sharing deal within the current Constitution raises key questions.

Does that simply mean giving ODM leaders ministerial positions? How would that translate into power-sharing? Do we need mediators to convince the President to hand over Cabinet jobs or that is something he can do, and has done, without recourse to a third party?

When chief mediator Kofi Annan addressed an informal session of Parliament last week, he said the proposed political settlement would necessitate far-reaching constitutional amendments.

Thus, he was telling them to be ready to push through such constitutional changes as quickly as circumstances would dictate.

Secondly, President Kibaki proposed a 12-month period for enacting a comprehensive constitution. This sounds like reasonable time because we believe that most of the reforms can be dispensed with within six months. The onus is on the negotiating team to identify these areas and ensure MPs legislated on them.

For now, power-sharing with clearly defined responsibilities is the way to go as the country prepares for holistic reforms to usher in a new socio-economic, political, judicial and electoral order.

Nation Editorial

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Power politics and betrayal two sides of the same coin

KENYA COULD FINALLY BE on the verge of the fundamental constitutional change it has avoided for the last 15 years.

Talk about the creation of an executive prime minister’s office, an issue which almost single-handedly led to the collapse of the Bomas constitutional project more than two years ago, is being touted by its proponents as the be-all and end-all in the ongoing power-sharing talks between PNU and the opposition.

For the first time in generations, Kenyans are likely to witness two centres of executive power operating simultaneously. However, given the contempt with which the Government side is treating the proposal, it may take a while before the dream comes true.

The hardening of positions by both sides – obviously due to the high stakes in the event the deal is sealed – promises a longer and more torturous path to a compromise.

Suffice it to note that both the PNU and ODM negotiating teams have so far succeeded in making a complicated job nearly impossible. From outside looking inside, it is more about egos and sibling rivalries. Each side is too careful not to be seen to have been the first one to blink.

Besides, one team has been in power for two months now, thanks to an election outcome the other side claims was fixed. On the other hand, the Government side is reluctant to bow to pressure from an opposition it accuses of instigating killings, looting and burning of property, plus mass displacement of perceived PNU supporters.

In other words, the holier-than-thou attitude pervades both sides. And that precisely informs the near-absurd proposals churned out by both camps.

PNU’s idea of power-sharing, for instance, is for ODM to take up a number of Cabinet appointments at the pleasure of President Kibaki, whose tenure is not to be interrupted until 2012. In turn, ODM demands that any power deal arrived at should exclude ODM-K, whose principal, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, is Vice-President!

Talking about ODM-K and Mr Musyoka, it is amazing how critics believe that by dint of accepting to deputise Mr Kibaki, the party and its chief are traitors; that they have let down the country at its hour of need.

Since politics is about taking sides and defending them, Mr Musyoka and ODM-K have elected to side with, and defend the Kibaki camp. By that very act, they are on the opposite side of their former soul-mates, ODM, and that, as far as the latter is concerned, is betrayal.

Since the mid-Nineties, Kenya has witnessed shifting political marriages, including some between very strange bedfellows.

In 1997, at the height of the clamour for a new constitution, opposition parties jumped into a deal with the then disgraced ruling party, Kanu, through the infamous Inter-Party Parliamentary Group (IPPG). The reform agenda was watered down, nay, sacrificed at the altar of very personal political agendas.

BY THEN, OPPOSITION LUMINARIES had grown suspicious that some civil society leading lights had their eyes fixed at State power.

The following year, the country woke up to yet another surprise. Then Mr Raila Odinga struck a working relationship with Kanu in what came to be popularly known as co-operation. By late 2001, co-operation had mutated into merger, with Raila and his lieutenants not only serving in the Moi government as ministers, but with Mr Odinga as the Kanu secretary-general.

That was betrayal depending on which side of the political divide one was. To the then opposition and civil society, it was an earthquake. Raila was a dependable General in the march to a new order. We felt we had been robbed of a central pillar in the struggle; we were bitter.

But shorn of emotions and idealism, it was easy to see that being a practical politician, Raila had decided to undertake a paradigm shift. Unknown to the reform family, he had discovered what to him appeared to be a shorter route to State power.

Looking back, there is a way in which Raila’s move was a blessing in disguise to the nation. In less than a year, he had torn Kenya’s Grand Old Party down the middle and moved on with one half as the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

On the eve of the 2002 general elections, Raila is said to have cut a pre-poll power deal with Mr Simeon Nyachae’s Ford People before declaring “Kibaki Tosha” at Uhuru Park in October of the same year.

Did Raila betray Moi and Nyachae in a row? Again it depended on whether one was a Kanu or Ford-People sympathiser. Otherwise, it is the political machine born out of the “Kibaki Tosha” cry that ended Kanu’s 40-year dictatorial rule.

What the ODM leader might have underestimated then, and even now, is Mr Musyoka’s resolve to also lead the nation. In other words, here are two gentlemen whose determination to reside at the country’s most prestigious address is at par, and with mutual contempt to match. They are most likely going to meet again at the ballot box in 2012, or any other time elections are called.

While at it, it would be dangerously impolitic for PNU to dump ODM Kenya to appease ODM. There is nothing to gain out of it, and everything to lose. This is because with the current highly poisoned political atmosphere, any coalition between ODM and PNU before the country undergoes a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation process (to rid Kenya of political and economic criminals) as well as comprehensive constitutional review, is bound to be very short-lived. PNU needs every ally on its side.

Jackson Mwalulu

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Kenyans will pay the full price

THE CRISIS THAT STARTED as a disputed presidential vote count and later became a social catastrophe has transformed itself, in its eighth week, into an international battle of wits.

The international community would love to claim victory on behalf of the Kenyan people, yet they clearly have their own agenda. The tongue-lashing Kenyans have received from the international community is amazingly similar to some of the diatribe offered by local politicians on the campaign trail.

Never before has the country received as much international attention from both friend and foe as it is getting now. We should perhaps be glad for this fond demonstration of concern, except that in all this, the people have once again been side-lined.

While blaming ourselves squarely for creating this unpleasant situation, Kenyans must ask what they have to gain by bowing to international pressure.

How did we allow the international community to take over the people’s position at the mediation talks?

The easy answer to that question is that we have no leaders. The international community wants regional stability, democracy and a return to business as usual. We may wish to ask whose business we are talking about here. It seems Kenya is just a pawn in the grand game of global influence.

Short-sighted politicians are negotiating power, prestige and positions in order to share the spoils with those whom they owe political debts.

An agreement with the international community may be hatched in the comfort of a hotel, but make no mistake, it is the people of Kenya who will pay the full price of the deal.

THE SIDES WILL MAKE TRADE-OFFS to suit their own interests without a thought of who has to pay for the fallout, follow through or future. They will emerge from the talks with a political pact and leave the people to pay for the process.

The people have an agenda too. The people want peace, justice and reconciliation. They want self-respect and their national pride back. They want a future and the children need hope. The people want security of land and property, but they also know that they have no guarantees where politicians are involved.

What is most feared from this international match is not that one side will win or that sense will prevail. What is most terrible is that the people will lose and still be made to pay for the contest.

That leaders should hand over the country’s destiny to diplomatic debate indicates a clear and desperate lack of leadership. When will we understand that leadership is not politics and politics is not leadership?

The international community has already declared that Kenya is a country they cannot afford to lose. With such odds stacked against us, deliverance can only come from God. Every Kenyan should continue to pray and ask God for deliverance.

Mr Allan Bukusi is a leadership trainer and author of ‘Thinking Leadership in Africa.’

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The mediators are only doing what politicians failed to do

ENYANS WILL FOREVER BE grateful to former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his team of mediators for their efforts.

Their tireless and selfless work to assist Kenya end its current political and humanitarian crisis has been extraordinary. The road has proved difficult.

Kenyans are also grateful to the international community for bringing the two protagonists, President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga, to the dialogue table to negotiate for a political settlement to the crisis.

It began with the arrival of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and was quickly followed by four former presidents — Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda, Botswana’s Ketumile Masire, Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano, and Tanzania’s Benjamin Mkapa.

This was followed by the then chairman of the African Union, President John Kufuor of Ghana, who subsequently dispatched Mr Annan, Mrs Graca Machel and Mr Mkapa to Nairobi.

Some Kenyan politicians claim that representatives of the international community are meddling in the internal affairs of the country.

IT MAY APPEAR PATRIOTIC TO demand that foreigners keep out of the internal affairs of a sovereign country. However, politicians know how dependent Kenya is on these foreigners, and how other nations in the region depend on Kenya.

For example, tourism, horticulture, and other industries, which depend on trade beyond our borders, are reeling under the current crisis. Thousands of livelihoods and investments in the entire region are threatened with collapse.

As the humanitarian crisis escalated, appeals for help were directed to the international community and many countries came forward with support.

It may be the nature of politicians to trivialise the suffering of their own people and play politics with the lives of those they purport to lead, but this is the 21st century and the international community will not sit back and watch this happen.

Kenya is a sovereign state all right, but in that case, political leaders should have demonstrated a capacity to manage the crisis when it erupted.

After all, the politicians must have received adequate intelligence that youths in certain regions were arming themselves and planning to displace fellow citizens from those regions after the elections.

The Government should have prevented the violent attacks and defended innocent victims from their attackers.

Instead, crime in form of murder, rape, burning of homesteads and property, looting and displacement of thousands of innocent Kenyans has persisted.

It was quite clear that the Government was unable to stop the violence and rampant violation of human rights. Leaders appealed to politicians to stop the violence but none would budge as carnage and suffering continued.

It is only when it was apparent that Kenya didn’t have the capacity to stop the violence that the international community reacted, eventually appointing Mr Annan and his team of Eminent Persons to help.

The mediators had to pressure the political leadership to appeal to their supporters to stop the violence and give dialogue a chance.

It is, therefore, unfair to criticise the international community and claim that it is interfering with Kenya’s internal affairs. Would Kenyans rather be left alone to continue destroying themselves, as well as hurting others in the region?

In Rwanda, the international community partly left politicians to sort out the mess they had created, only for a horrific genocide to occur. Subsequently, the world, including African leaders, wondered aloud why they took so long to react. Indeed, former President Bill Clinton has expressed regret that he did not move faster to stop the genocide.

This is the 21st century and the world should not stand by and watch as citizens are incited to kill and maim because politicians cannot agree on how to manage the State.

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY is piling pressure on Kenya, partly because that is what is expected of it. It has a moral responsibility to intervene where life and human rights are threatened. Furthermore, Kenya has a strategic security and economic importance to states both within and outside the region.

Therefore, to allow our egos to be offended by the involvement of the international community is only intended to give comfort to the hard-liners.

The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation team requires support so that a lasting solution can be found. The responsibility of finding that solution and defining the destiny of the country lies in the hands of the two mediating teams and their principals.

It is up to these leaders to put Kenya first, and find an enduring settlement based on justice, fairness and the common good.

Prof Wangari Maathai is a former MP for Tetu, and the 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner.

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ODM issue notice of mass action on Wednesday next week

With the imminent collapse of the mediation talks, ODM has issued notice of mass action on Wednesday next week if PNU does not give in to demands of creation of a powerful premier that will alleviate the suffering of Kenyans.

In the talks, the two groups have principally agreed to the position of prime minister. The departure point is that ODM wants the premier to have power to hire and fire ministers and cannot be fired by the prezo. ODM wants this to be done by parliament through a constitutional amendment. PNU wants the premier to be hired by the president and to act like a chief minister. Possibly all the constitutional amendment to resolve the crisis to pass through a referendum.

In other news, Wangari Maathai the 2004 Nobel Laureate has been threatened through an sms by people claiming to be the Mungiki sect. The crime being that she is opposing the government through her utterances. The group says in the sms that they want her head being the third after Were.

The police commissioner has announced that they have in custody two prime suspects in the murder of the Embakasi MP Melitus Were.

Violence erupted in Mathare last night after a squad believed to be police evicted tenants who occupied houses during the January violence and has refused to pay rent. The tenants were taken to court today while the residents demonstrated and burnt a bus.

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Will Kofi Annan Succeed in Mediating Between PNU and ODM

It is easy to tell that Kofi Annan genuinely wanted a successful mediation in Kenya and a return to peaceful co-existent among Kenyan communities. Will he be successful in achieving this objective? Unfortunately signs are that he will not. Where did he go wrong?

The constitution of his mediation team
It would have been very hard to bar the hardliners from ODM - Ruto and PNU - Martha from constituting the team. Annan should have had Kibaki and Raila sit through all the sessions of the mediation talks. If they were too busy to attend to the talks, then the commitment and goodwill question would have been answered. Since he considers that there is a political crisis in Kenya, the president should not have been allowed to go on 'business as usual' and ODM leader should not have been treated like a rebel leader who blackmail Annan team and his opponents with countrywide violence at will if things don't go his way.

The leadership of his mediation team
He failed to search and incorporate 'eminent' Kenyans in his team and assumed that no Kenyan could have helped resolve the impasse. The truth of the matter is that the resolution lies with Kenyans and a spice of Kenyan mediation leadership could have helped. A good starting point would have been Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat, Rtd General Lazarus Sumbeiywo, Washington Okumu and representatives from religious, legal, business and civil society. If the two sides could not have greed on common Kenyan mediation leaders they would have been allowed to nominate their own. Such leaders would have provided good background of the crisis and co-chaired/moderated the sessions to lead to a Kenyan solution that would most likely be accepted by a majority of Kenyans.

Giving false hopes to Kenyans
For sure Kenyans hopes were pegged on Annan and he did not disappoint. Given the chance, Kenyans can be extremely optimistic. Annan started by saying that the mediation will be finished in 7 to 15 days. Each new week he promises that things will be ironed out by the end of the week. The latest was the promise that an agreement out of the crisis will be reached within 48 to 72 hours. It is just a matter of time before Kenyans run out of patient and start sorting out the mess themselves the best way they know how.

Underestimating the protagonists
Annan easily assumed that Kibaki will bulge when pushed and when told to jump, he will ask how high. This is the same mistake ODM and in particular Raila keeps making when dealing with Kibaki. Kibaki's love for silence and non-confrontation tendency has always been laughed at. Kibaki is a seasoned politician and his cronies do not make it easier for anyone to have their way around him. It is now clear that Kibaki will not allow a grand coalition with Raila as the Executive Prime Minister. Raila on the other hand has warriors holding him ransom and a violence machinery at his beck and call. They will not rest until they get their justice.

In addition Annan weakly had utmost good faith with the selected mediation team until the delaying tactics, shifting of goalposts and indecision crept in.

Ignoring the current Kenyan constitution however daft it is
There has been debate whether there is a constitutional crisis in Kenya that allows for the current constitution to be altogether suspended or selectively applied as some have been advocating. It is true that Kenyans have always wanted a new constitution dispensation. The assumption has always been that the current constitution be in place fully until the new one is enacted. At no one time have Kenyans envisaged a transition period where there is no constitution, new or old. The question is, should at that point, the military be allowed to take over?

Annan ignored this fact. It is on the current constitution, however bad it is, that Kenyans can say there are MPs, Parliament, Police and all those legal institution including the presidency even if the president is in question. Proposing constitutional amendments by Parliament especially on one of the so called contentious issues will definitely get to a dead end. This issue as to whether Kenya will be a parliamentary democracy with powerful premiership has been one of the issues that has made Kenya not have a new constitution despite the fact that this exercise has been on since pre-2002 elections. Annan gullibly believed that if the mediation team agreed on Executive prime minister, parliament will automatically have the requisite majority - which is not a simple majority - to pass this amendment just because he asked them in a speaker's Kamukunji. Dead wrong.

Justice for the 1,000 dead, hundreds raped and over half a million displaced
Annan started well by visiting the violent-torn regions and camps for the Kenyan displaced. Within a week of the mediation talks, this item had been closed through several resolutions. Several weeks after, we still have Kenyans refugees, houses being burnt, people been evicted from their non-ancestral lands and IDP camps being threatened with a new wave of destruction. Annan did not put muscle to ensure that the humanitarian problem in Kenya was resolved forthwith. He went ahead to look for a political solution and hopefully jet out the soonest he can. As ODM says there can be no peace without justice. And justice includes the justice of the murdered and the evicted.

Banking in the glory of western diplomatic ultimatums
It is clear that this has been mostly directed on the Kibaki government side. It has had the effect of making sure the government sits down in the mediation round table and listen. This has had some positive effect on Annan's team since the government has been giving concessions and looked willing to step down and hand over power through the back door as PNU leaders would say.

In the long-term this will be counter-productive to the Annan team as it gives the Kibaki administration to play power games, entrench its leadership and delay the talks while they enjoy the spoils. The government is slowly learning to live with Visa bans to perceived western heaven. It has already gotten used to negative publicity in western countries and gradually getting used to its reflection of another emerging dictatorship in Africa. The question soon will be, what is the worst that the West can do, economic sanctions? invasion Iraq style? Economic sanctions will hurt Kenyans more than Kibaki and his team. An invasion is remote and will put the West in bad books in Africa relations. Soon the government will be numb to these ultimatums and the sooner Annan disassociates himself from the ultimatums, the luckier he could be.

Brushing over the December 27 election results
Isn't this the key thing that has brought Annan to Kenya? It was very essential that Annan conclusively dealt with the results of the December 27 elections. Kenyans needed details not blanket condemnation that it was rigged or the presidential tally was defective. It is part of the justice Kenyans are crying for. If the elections was rigged, who, where and how was it rigged? Who were the culprits, complete with evidence and prosecution to boot? Who really won? Was it president Raila Odinga? Yes? Let him be sworn in as president and have liberty to choose who he wants to work with. That is democracy, majority rule. If this truth is established, Kenyans will respect it and losers will live with it, otherwise there is an established process of dealing with those who will not comply.

Annan should have put the UN and Western machinery in doing all that partakes to ascertaining this. The returning officers, poll clerks, presiding officers, party agents, the media and observer community are still alive and kicking. Let them testify to the truthfulness of results in each polling station. The registers, polling papers, form 1 to 20 As and Bs as well as votes in ballot boxes are still there. Let them be perused and recounted. The world has a host of forensic auditors and investigators who can establish with reasonable accuracy whether these documents have been tampered with and to what extent.

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Truth and Justice for Were's Wife

Mr Odinga also demanded that the current commissioners ‘‘should not organise or supervise any of the forthcoming by-elections.’’

The leaders were addressing thousands of mourners who turned up for Embakasi MP Melitus Were’s burial in Budalangi at which one of the MP’s widows was barred from viewing her husband’s remains.

ODM also rubbished government assurances that it would get to the bottom of the killing of the party’s two MPs.

Mr Were was killed on January 9 as he returned to his Woodley estate home in Nairobi at midnight.

The killings sent political shockwaves across the country and prompted violently demonstrations as ODM termed it political assassination.

Mr Were’s burial also came amid protest from his father who wanted his body laid to rest in Mumias.

In yesterday’s incident, the late MP’s second wife Agnes Wairimu was pushed as she made her way to where the coffin was placed, as some family members shouted their objection to her presence. (Moment of truth)

A male mourner pushed her away towards the main dais where ODM leaders were sitting as another watched over the coffin to bar her from approaching. (Justice Served Right)

Quick intervention by legislators Fred Gumo and Ababu Namwamba cooled tempers and she was given a seat at the main dais. She was later driven away. (Reconciliation)

Addressing the mourners, Mr Odinga said the country’s history was replete with incidents of political assassination dating back to the 1960s and which, until now, had remained unresolved despite government promises to do so. (No Comment)

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Why Kenya needs an inclusive government

Foreign minister Moses Wetang’ula and some key voices in the Party of National Unity, including Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua and Finance minister Amos Kimunya, are clearly out of tune with the suffering people of Kenya on the crisis facing this nation.

Instead of giving the country hope by demonstrating leadership and magnanimity, these leaders choose to approach the Kofi Annan-led mediation talks with brinkmanship, spewing strident rhetoric at every turn, and now accusing “foreigners” of interfering in the affairs of a sovereign state.

They are adamant that they will not accept a settlement to the post-election stand-off, which draws the sides led by Mr Mwai Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga into a power-sharing arrangement in breach of the present Constitution.

Their remarks come at time that the country faces the threat of civil war if the question of acceptable national leadership is not resolved.

Kenya is indeed a sovereign country with its own Constitution.

But is this really the time to invoke pride in our sovereignty when we have more than 300,000 citizens of this country living as refugees in their own motherland in squalid conditions, precisely because the state has been unable to guarantee them security and access to their homes and property?

This is a country that has just lost 1,000 innocent lives in ethnic clashes, and which remains vulnerable to another outbreak of mindless violence, especially if the Kofi Anan-led mediation process collapses.

While the viability of power-sharing must be critically examined within our political realities, to insist that any such deal must be in line with the constitution under circumstances where the legitimacy of government itself is in dispute, is patently absurd.

Everyone surely knows that the outcome of the flawed General Election is at the very heart of the internationally-driven negotiations taking place in Nairobi.

Top of the mediation agenda is whether or not the election rivals should come together in a coalition which would oversee Constitutional changes to usher the country into a new poll, which, hopefully, would deliver national stability and a widely accepted government. On this issue hang elements of our fate as a nation – ethnic reintegration, resettlement of internal refugees, economic revival, electoral, Constitutional and land reforms and resolution of historical injustices.

These are weighty matters which, by common consent, lie at the heart of our tragic experience. We failed to resolve them when we had the time and space and now we are paying the price. The extremists on the PNU side — who have lately taken to speaking out of turn — must appreciate that the international community did not come to Kenya merely to meddle in the country’s affairs.

Principally, the world has turned its attention to us to reduce the chances of the post-election violence slipping into a Rwanda-type disaster, and to manage the crisis before it gives rise to an expensive relief operation.

It does this from a sense of responsibility and out of foresight. With the resources of international humanitarian organisations taxed heavily by other global commitments in places like Burundi and Darfur, handling wide scale violence of the magnitude witnessed recently in Kenya would be unbearable, especially on the governments which mostly fund relief operations.

Furthermore, the crisis in Kenya has major implications for regional security. Because of Kenya’s potential to either set the pace of development in the region or drag the process, helping the country stabilise is a inescapable task for the international community.

And, finally, there is the welfare of the Kenyan people themselves. This is a crisis whose consequences go way beyond this country’s borders.

Admittedly, some remarks made by foreigners - especially by some locally based diplomats - were of the type to offend nationalistic sensibilities. But this is not an excuse for politicians to whip up xenophobia and mobilise their supporters to hold demonstrations against foreign countries.

To argue that international players have neither a right nor a stake in a crisis with such clear regional and international dimensions, is to be politically dishonest.

Today, Kenya is more ripe for fundamental change than any time in its history. This country needs an exceptional leadership arrangement to hold it together and replenish its self-confidence.

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Coalition deal may be skewed in several ways

WHEN CONDOLEEZZA Rice flew into town on Monday, it was clear that her mission was to put more pressure on President Kibaki to accept a power-sharing deal as the solution to Kenya’s post-election crisis.

The US, Britain and other major Western powers all seem to have come to the conclusion that the Kibaki government is becoming the impediment.

Before dispatching his Secretary of State to Kenya, US President Bush, speaking on a visit in neighbouring Tanzania, deliberately used the same terms, “grand coalition”, that had so irked Justice minister Martha Karua when first uttered by lead mediator Kofi Annan.

In Nairobi Ms Rice also used the term, and strongly suggested that her government did not consider the Kibaki Government to enjoy legitimacy.

Her words were something to the effect that the disputed electoral outcome did not produce a government that earns the confidence of the Kenyan people, which is a more diplomatic way of echoing the views of the British, who have said, they do not recognise the Kibaki government.

The British position has already been reinforced by Foreign Secretary David Milliband in a declaration of support for High Commissioner Adam Wood.

Ms Rice came to Kenya when many in government were still reeling from the US government’s notice that it would bar from entering the country Kenyan leaders it accuses of being impediments to the search for a negotiated settlement.

The Kenya government was particularly angry that the threats seemed to target Government officials more than the opposition leaders it accuses of fanning violence.

The British have also hinted that they could pursue a similar strategy, with Mr Wood hinting that sanctions could even be extended to freezing assets held in their country by those it has targeted.

The unprecedented pressure, which clearly aims to force the Government to accept the grand coalition being pushed by Mr Annan, could well force President Kibaki to give way.

But it could also force adoption of a laager mentality, especially if perceptions are reinforced that far from being honest brokers, the Western powers are taking sides and trying to enforce a settlement that favours the Opposition.

Indications so far are that a siege mentality is creeping in as hard-liners in government prevail with the view that the mediation process has become a device by which the Opposition, backed by the West, is using to force its way into what would amount to a virtual takeover of government though the route of an unelected executive prime minister.

ONE THING THAT IS BECOMING increasingly clear is that when it comes to public relations, the Government is being completely outmanoeuvred by a savvy ODM propaganda machinery.

The Opposition has made a grand show of dropping its earlier demands for resignation of President Kibaki and handover of power to Mr Raila Odinga.

They are trumpeting the concession they have made, instead agreeing to share power for an interim period pending fresh elections. With that alone, the Government’s hostility to the power-sharing formula leaves it looking like the impediment to any settlement.

Even the Government’s own proposals on how to share power — merely allowing the President leeway to appoint ODM members in the Government — do not seem serious measured against the “real” power-sharing deal floated by ODM, which would give the Opposition virtual control of the government.

As Prime Minister with executive powers, also commanding a majority in Parliament, Mr Odinga would have achieved through the mediation what he failed to win, or was cheated of, at the ballot box.

It is then no wonder that the Government is so hostile to the coalition idea, but being lost in reportage is that the ODM model, which has gained so much publicity is not necessarily the same model Mr Annan is pushing.

If there is already agreement in principle for power-sharing, it is important that the mediators come up with proposals that both sides can live with.

Increasing fears in government that the mediation and Western powers are keen to steamroller them into an agreement that would amount to surrender of power do have to be assuaged.

Macharia Gaitho

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British East Africa Protectorate

During the scramble for Africa in 1880s the British took over present day Kenya and gave it the name British East Africa Protectorate in 1895, the name of the company that controlled stuff here then. In 1920 the East Africa Protectorate was turned into a colony and renamed Kenya, for its highest mountain.

The British colonized Kenya until 1963 when Kenya gained internal self government and later on in the year, she got her independence from British colonial rule. This was after several uprisings throughout the colony by the natives whose fertile land had been taken and were forced to labour for their colonial masters. Notable among these was the MauMau uprising which led to the state of emergency in 1952. This was mainly a Kikuyu led uprising which left tens of thousands perhaps hundred of thousands Kikuyus dead.

Over 100 years later after the British set foot in Kenya, their influence is still a force to reckon with. The current situation in Kenya just says as much. The British diplomats have had bitter exchanges with Kenya since Kibaki, a Kikuyu took over power in 2002. It started with Sir Edward Clay who found it disgusting that the Kikuyu rulers were constantly vomiting on his shoes. Adam Wood is the current Governor. Gradually, it is becoming a Kikuyu-British affair just like the days of the British colonial rule. Listening to Martha Karua, one of the negotiators on the Kibaki side, on her views about British Ambassadors pronouncements paints a picture of the disdain the ruling Kikuyu elite has on the British.

It was British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who set the pace of the current mediation circus when on January 2nd he said that he had asked the then Africa Union Chairman and Ghana President John Kufuor to go to Kenya to sort out the mess. Kufour was later to hand over the button to his fellow countryman and former UN chief Koffi Annan who is still running the cyclic marathon.

Britain has been in the fore front of issuing threats, ultimatums and dangling sanctions and visa bans on the negotiating teams to rush them come up with an acceptable power-sharing agreement, something that Annan is pushing day and night. Uncle Sam has been beefing up Britain's position but it is clear that it is the British who are calling the shots in Kenya, arm twisting Kibaki and his cronies to dish to Raila an executive Prime Minister position. Ideally, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Interestingly, according to Kibe Mungai a Nairobi lawyer and political activist, the African Union whose current chair is Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian President, who is currently being dollied up by Uncle Sam, has been silent on the mediation talks. AU has not been pushy on any mediation agreement nor has it threatened to impose sanctions if the talks fail, unlike Kenya's colonial masters and their hangers-on. Tanzania has been a top beneficiary of the current crisis in Kenya with tourists re-routed to Tanzania and Zanzibar. Landlocked countries in the greater Eastern and Central Africa have considered Dar es Salaam as their preferred port of call.

Already, the Arusha government has been given massive funding to improve its infrastructure. It is observable that on Sunday, visiting American president George Bush saw it fit to meet with the 1998 families of victims of the Dar terrorist bombing. Could the US have shifted its global war on terror Africa base from Kenya to Tanzania?

Further Annan, AU and ODM are mere pawns in a geopolitical interests war between the west and the far east. According to Kibe;

The British was not happy with the way Kibaki did not give commercial contracts to UK and has looked Far East on Military Equipment Contracts and Oil exploration franchises

Uganda has found oil, Tanzania also recently found oil, Sudan has oil. Kenya is believed to have massive untapped oil reserves. Most of oil exploration contracts were given to China, rather, not given to the UK. It is probable that EU/UK/US would want to install a government that will recede these contracts.

Kenya political stalemate could easily have been sorted out by a court petition. Trust in the judiciary not withstanding, a total of 38 Dec 27 electoral petitions have been filed in the Kenyan courts so far by both ODM and PNU.

In regard to the AU, where did AU meet and made a resolution that John Kufuor should come and mediate in Kenya, among other issues that raise questions on British neo-colonialism interests in Kenya.

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Understanding the Kenyan Opposition By Mukoma Wa Ngugi

Much has been written about the Kenya elections -- the rigging and the violence that has ensued, and the way to peace. But next to nothing has been written regarding the nature of Raila's Orange Democratic Movement.

To struggle for peace, which in turn calls for engaging with the political leadership, demands that we think about nature of the competing political interests, what motivates them, and how they function and to what effect. It is a sign of how little we have come to expect of ourselves and of African political processes that we forgo even the most basic of analysis.

Ask some of the people commentating on Kenya about the differences within ODM, whether it's a coalition or a party with a single vision, who are the main players, and the implications for peace, and the answers will be on the surface.

Ask the same people about the internal workings of the US Democratic Party, and they will tell you the differences between Hilary Clinton and Barrack Obama, how Bill Clinton is influencing the race, the intersections of class, race, and gender, and how each candidate might relate to Africa or the Middle East.

How can we agitate for peace when we do not understand the nature of the parties involved? This question is becoming increasingly urgent. The violence has started to perpetuate itself through the logic of counter killings and revenge. The solution to ethnic cleansing is becoming counter-ethnic cleansing.

The myth that the violence is a spontaneous reaction to the rigged elections has to be debunked because its persistence only gives cover to the cleansers and counter-cleansers. A January 21st New York Times article argues that the massacres "may have been premeditated and organized."

Human Rights Watch has said that it has "evidence that ODM [the Orange Democratic Movement] politicians and local leaders actively fomented some post-election violence." And the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for an independent investigation while the International Criminal Court has said it is following the violence closely.

These concerns are coming at time when the government response to ODM protests -- using a police force that from the time of British colonialism to the present has kept peace at the expense of innocent Kenyans -- is racking up a high body count of its own.

A closer analysis of the two political parties finds that they are mirror image of each other. They both represent the elite of their different ethnicities, and they manipulate ethnicity to hide their bankruptcy. The prevailing ideology is ethnocracy. The state, already seen as the bad ogre, is expected to stomach a high number of deaths without blinking. In this regard the state remains predictable. But that the ODM is prepared to do the same has been unexpected -- and also unexplored.


Within the opposition leadership (or the Pentagon as they refer to themselves), there are at least three competing elements -- the activist-intellectual left, the Moi-ist retrogressives, and the populists.

The first camp is exemplified by Prof. Anyang Nyong'o, an intellectual activist, and Salim Lone, a former editor of the UN Africa Recovery magazine and spokesperson for the United Nations Mission in Iraq. They speak a language that the international media understands -- and that anti-establishment friends of Africa like to hear. It is this group that has marketed ODM as a people power movement, in the process glossing over the ethnic killings.

The intellectual activists favor boycotts, smart sanctions, and peaceful civil disobedience -- tactics that gather sympathy and support from the international community while calling attention to the government. Had their strategies been followed without bending to the Moi-ist retrogressives, ODM could very well have solidified international support.

The Moi-ist retrogressives are represented by William Ruto, a former treasurer for the thuggish Youth for KANU (known as YK 1992). This group is widely seen as having been responsible for ethnic violence that in 1992 and 1997 left hundreds dead and thousands displaced in the Rift Valley. The recent Eldoret church burning and cleansing took place in Ruto's constituency. William Ruto is leading the ODM delegation in the Kofi Annan mediated talks.

Surrogates of the Moi regime (the same dictator who was embraced by the ruling party, hence the mirror image), the retrogressives lack political finesse. They are crude in their methods. They prefer a historically tested, albeit failed, solution: ethnic cleansing -- that is, drive them out, or kill them.

The Moi-ist retrogressives have cost ODM a lot of political mileage. After the Eldoret church burning, the support shifted from getting Raila back the disputed presidency to bringing him and Kibaki to a negotiated solution. If the ODM is to survive into the future, it must rid itself these element.

In the populist camp you find the Pentagon leader -- Raila Odinga, the immovable centerpiece. Raila has solid activist credentials, having been imprisoned by Moi for six years and having spent most of his life agitating for democracy in Kenya. The irony is that he later joined forces with Moi, even serving as his minister of energy as he positioned himself to be anointed successor.

Raila has a solid Luo support base and youth appeal across ethnicity. Had ODM not run a campaign along ethnic fault lines, his support amongst the poor would have been solidified. Raila has all the contradictions that come with populism.

Populists prefer loud rallies and protests. They want to draw violence from the state because the consequent anger unites the people and earns then international political mileage. Populists also like to "shock and awe." Flamboyant and a millionaire, Raila drives a red Hummer and at one point hired Dick Morris, the discredited former Bill Clinton adviser, as ODM's political consultant. Dick Morris, a political mercenary who services despots, Democrats and Republicans alike, he is also infamous for being called (or led) by his first name in red-light districts.

When the populist agenda leads the day, ODM calls for mass protests. However, mass protests that are ethnically driven are a contradiction, and they inevitably end with ethnic violence. Raila's populism therefore gives fuel to the Moi-retrogressives while isolating the intellectual-activist left.


Understanding these three elements explains why ODM has since the beginning of the political crisis sent mixed calls -- one day it calls for mass rallies, the other worker strikes; it wants to form a parallel or coalition government, it will accept only a recount or rerun of the elections while calling for Kibaki's resignation or for power sharing. At the same time, there was a refusal during the first month of the violence to seriously call for peace amongst ODM supporters.

ODM totters in different directions depending on which element leads the day. Because each of the three elements are mutually dependent (but with Raila needing everyone less), it is not certain which element will eventually triumph -- which makes Kenya's future also uncertain.

At the very least both the government and the opposition need to let their respective Moi-ist retrogressives go. When both sides are not swayed by the extremists, a return to the center where sanity prevails will be possible, and a political solution within grasp.

Ultimately any solution, be it a recount, re-election, or coalition government, must be one that has the Kenyan people at the center. And if the cycle of cleansing and counter-cleansing is to be broken, those responsible for organizing the cleansing and counter cleansing must also be brought to justice. A political solution must bring with it much needed justice.

Mukoma wa Ngugi is editor of Pambazuka News (, author of Hurling Words at Consciousness and a political columnist for the BBC Focus on Africa Magazine.

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Bad politics fuelled clashes in Rift Valley

Since the outbreak of post-election violence in Rift Valley, numerous reports in the local newspapers have claimed that the root cause of the conflict is ‘‘the land question.’’

But, without exception, these reports fail to inform and educate precisely because of their misrepresentation of history.

Given the scale and the urgency of the current crisis and its repeated association with the so-called ‘‘land question,’’ it is time for a complete unpacking of the history behind colonial and post-colonial settlement in the white highlands.

Only then will we determine with certainty whether land is at the centre of the ongoing systematic evictions in the Rift Valley.

The first argument that is normally presented is that the North Rift region (Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Nandi and West Pokot districts) exclusively constitutes the ancestral land of the supra-ethnic group we have come to term ‘‘the Kalenjin’’ i.e. the Nandi, Keiyo, Pokot, Tugen, Marakwet and Kipsigis.

A quick etymology of geographical names in the North Rift region such as Uasin Gishu, Eldoret, Sirikwa, Kipkarren confirms that the Maasai long lived in and named these places.

Indeed, it is the Maasai who were displaced from these lands by the colonialists and, therefore, any question of restitution to ancestral owners -- if at all it can be achieved -- must, of necessity, be resolved with the full inclusion of the Maasai.

In the early 1900s, colonial settlement in Central Kenya displaced many Kikuyu families. In their search for productive agricultural land, many of these families gradually moved west through Kijabe and into the Rift Valley. At the same time, white settlers moving into the Rift Valley aggressively recruited Kikuyu farmhands from Central Kenya who became their tenants at will. Between 1904 and 1920, 70,000 Kikuyus had migrated to the Rift Valley.

By the end of the 1930s that community had grown to more than 150,000 many of whom were second and third generation Rift Valley Kikuyus.

In 1941 the first government re-settlement scheme for Africans was established in Olenguruone, north of Nakuru, and it absorbed many of the Kikuyu squatters who were being driven out by their white landlords.

But the larger majority of the Kikuyu, numbering over 100,000, were forcibly repatriated to Central Kenya between 1946 and 1952.

Million Acre Scheme

The eviction of the Kikuyu from Olenguruone in the late 1940s and early 1950s made room for a new government initiated settlement of Africans in the white highlands. This 1955 settlement was conceived for purposes of benefiting loyal African farm hands.

Given that this re-settlement was taking place at the height of the Mau Mau uprising, the colonial authorities were quick to exclude the Kikuyu people from this scheme.

The question of loyalty was to determine another pattern of settlement in the run-up to independence and soon thereafter -- some departing white farmers chose to give their parcels to trusted farm hands.

This is the history behind the ownership of farms running to hundreds and even thousands of acres by some people of Teso origin in Trans Nzoia District.

The third wave of African settlement in the white highlands was the Million Acre Scheme which began in 1963.

On the eve of independence, the departing colonialists negotiated a scheme by which white settlers were bought out of their farms by the in-coming Kenya Government.

The money for this purchase was made available as a loan by the British Government hence the acrimonious dispute that pitted Jomo Kenyatta against Bildad Kaggia and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

The argument of the latter two nationalists was that there was no justification for a people to buy that which had been forcibly taken from them.

The vehicle that the independent Kenya Government used to facilitate the acquisition and subsequent distribution of these lands was the Settlement Fund Trustees (SFT). SFT was a separate legal entity whose trustees were government ministers.

It is important to note that the SFT exists to this day and the records of all their transactions from 1963 to date, including those allocations that were made during President Moi’s reign, are available for perusal at the Ministry of Lands.

Through the 1960s and 1970s the SFT would, through the local dailies and village barazas, advertise and invite applications for allocation of land in recently created settlement schemes.

As individuals responded to the advertisements and applied for allocation of land, grassroots leadership and enterprise were ultimately critical to the ways in which communities organised to make the best of the emergent SFT opportunities.

Capitalists who conceived this scheme mobilised low income earners for the purchase of large scale white-owned farms. They set up land buying companies which became the vehicles through which they raised capital from the masses and then acquired farms that were being offered for sale on a willing-buyer willing-seller basis.

Political expediency

Alongside land-buying companies in the willing-buyer willing-seller resettlement model, were transactions between departing white settlers and individual members of the emergent African elite. This class had access to funding from the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) and was drawn from across the ethnic divide.

The wrath of the Kalenjin peoples over what they consider the appropriation of their ancestral lands is not a new phenomenon, neither does it have its roots in the 1991/1992 ‘‘land clashes.’’

As far back as 1969, Mr Jean Marie Seroney, then MP for Tinderet, had drawn controversy when he authored ‘‘The Nandi Declaration’’ that demanded all non-Nandis to vacate the ancestral land of this sub-tribe. The Kenyatta government reacted by imprisoning Seroney.

Borrowing from Kenyatta’s example of using land to reward cronies and in some cases emergent national heroes such as athletes and popular musicians, Moi expanded this other form of settlement in the Rift Valley.

Apart from this latter settlement by political protégés all other forms of post-independence settlement in the Rift Valley were essentially valid commercial transactions. They were, in fact, no different from the commercial transactions by which the coffee farms bordering Kiambu District came to be transformed into the residential areas that we now know as Runda, Gigiri, Loresho, Kitisuru, Nyari and Rosslyn.

Against this backdrop and contrary to what has so often been posited as an irrefutable fact, there are several reasons why the eviction of non-indigenous communities from the Rift Valley has nothing to do with the so-called ‘‘land question.’’

Indeed this systematic on-going violence is not about remedying of past injustices, land scarcity, growing impoverishment of the Kalenjin or protests against the outcome of the flawed December 2007 General Election.

To keep repeating that the Gikuyu got to the Rift Valley through presidential favour fails to explain how the Kambas, Luhyas and Kisiis, who have never produced a president, became land owners and flourished in the Rift Valley.

And if, indeed, it is the declaration of Mwai Kibaki as President that is the offending spark, then why are non-Kikuyus under attack?

Further, if this violence is about the pressure or scarcity of land, these issues would not wait to crop up every election year. Does it take one five years to realise that they have a neighbour whose presence prevents them from tilling a larger piece of land or using that land to pursue some other profitable business?

Rather, the clashes were instigated for political expediency.

The third reason why this aggression is not about the scarcity of land is that the huge tracts of highly productive agricultural land in the hands of a select caucus of the political class across the ethnic divide have never been the target of land invasion and redistribution.

Genuine pressure for land would not be so selective in choosing the enemy.

Fourthly, in the on-going crisis those targeted for eviction have been given no notice to vacate. Were it simply about land, one would have expected the matter to stop upon their expulsion.

It is clear that the passions and goals that have repeatedly fuelled these intermittent spates of violence emanate from somewhere else.

The much-needed process of unearthing the driving impetus of the evictions and murders; of finding lasting solutions and restoring harmony, is the rightful work of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.


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