January 21, 2008
Coup In Kenya: Part II
[You may want to read Coup in Kenya - Part I and the comments to that piece first]Exploring U.S. influence in the Kenyan Elections
by b real
The U.S. contribution to the crisis:
Seeing it as a key ally in the “war on terror,” the Bush Administration has built a close military relationship with the Kibaki government; The U.S. has played a central role in building up Kenya’s weaponry and internal security apparatus, now being deployed in the crisis. Current U.S.-Kenyan relations are a product of 24 years of U.S. support to the Daniel arap Moi dictatorship that jailed, exiled or disappeared those opposed to the regime. The legacy of these politics remains institutionalized within the political process itself and creates huge barriers to democratic freedom and political participation. Overall, the current turmoil in Kenya is the clear result of colonial rule, external intervention, and detrimental foreign aid policies.
-- Association of Concerned Africa Scholars,
Press Statement on the Crisis in Kenya, January 5, 2008
It was a quick mention that was almost swallowed in a larger, more pressing narrative, but -- for those who did pick up on it -- has since proved to be an omnious foreshadowing of how the elections have played out in Kenya over the past weeks. Last April, in an interview with the independent syndicated news program Democracy Now discussing the events taking place to Kenya's north in Somalia, of which the former nation was very much involved, Kenyan Daily Nation columnist Salim Lone stated that "one leading opposition ... candidate in Kenya, said that the US has promised to support the government in the elections at the end of this year in exchange for the terrible things it has been doing" as a favored partner nation in the so-called global war on terror (GWOT).
Considering the holiday wrath the U.S., along with its proxy partners, brought down upon the citizens of Somalia in December of 2006, ringing in a new year that saw thousands dead, one-and-a-half million displaced, and more than a year of continuing military occupation by a hostile neighbor, the citizens of Kenya, by and large, could regard themselves as lucky. That's small consolation though, for those suffering in Kenya. Conservative figures put the current deaths there between 600 to 700 people, with roughly 500,000 uprooted by violence throughout the country following the presidential coup by the incumbents.
While the role of the United States in destabilizing the Horn of Africa (HOA) has been documented widely over the last year, little has been written on its role in the 2007 presidential election controversy. It certainly merits closer scutiny and investigation.
A Regional Anchor for Maintaining Order
Interestingly enough, Kenya is not even in the HOA -- it's an East African nation -- though that doesn't stop the U.S., and especially the Department of Defense (DOD), from quite often grouping it as such.
In his December 7th remarks to the conference Working Toward A Lasting Peace in the Ogaden, the director of the Office for East Africa, Bureau of African Affairs, James Knight offered the following points on U.S. policy in the HOA specifically regarding Kenya:
Kenya’s Northeast Province is home to ethnic Somalis with ties to clans in Somalia. Kenya's Somali community is a magnet for Somali refugees fleeing violence in Somalia and Ethiopia's Ogaden. Kenya closed its border with Somalia in January, but more than 1,000 refugees still arrive each month. A significant number of Oromos reside in northern Kenya as well. Oromos are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, which further ties northern Kenya to Ethiopia.
Kenya’s 2002 elections were an important step on Kenya’s path to full democracy. This year's national elections on December 27 should consolidate those gains. The U.S. is providing elections training to civil society organizations, political parties, and youth and women candidates, as well as supporting the Electoral Commission of Kenya [to] ensure that these elections are smooth, free, fair, and transparent.
Viewing a stable Kenya as a frontline bulwark against the Somali communities, which are universally Muslim, the U.S. has made Kenya a key partner in the GWOT.
From a Washington Times article dated January 7, entitled Kenya 'critical' to U.S. military:
"For the eastern portion of Africa, Kenya is critical," said retired Marine Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong, a former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations on the Horn of Africa.
"They are strategically located in the area bordering Somalia," he said. "They were critical for us in Somalia in the early 1990s. Without them, we could not have operated. They allowed us to use their bases while we were conducting operations in and out of Somalia, and they still allow us to use those bases today."
Not surprisingly the Washington Times article omits the role of Kenya in the current U.S. actions in Somalia, though plenty of other sources are available.
For instance, on Kenya's role in sealing off their borders to all Somali's fleeing the ruthless invasion (done in violation of all international laws), according to Thomas Barnett's largely unbalanced Esquire feature, The Americans Have Landed, from June:
When the invading Ethiopians quickly enjoyed unexpected success, Centcom's plan became elegantly simple: Let the blitzkrieging Ethiopian army drive the CIC, along with its foreign fighters and Al Qaeda operatives, south out of Mogadishu and toward the Kenyan border, where Kenyan troops would help trap them on the coast. "We begged the Kenyans to get to the border as fast as possible," the Centcom source says, "because the targets were so confused, they were running around like chickens with their heads cut off."
Once boxed in by the sea and the Kenyans, the killing zone was set and America's first AC-130 gunship went wheels-up on January 7 from that secret Ethiopian airstrip. After each strike, anybody left alive was to be wiped out by successive waves of Ethiopian commandos and Task Force 88, operating out of Manda Bay. The plan was to rinse and repeat "until no more bad guys," as one officer put it.
As Human Rights Watch, among many others, later drew attention to in a March 2007 press release People Fleeing Somalia War Secretly Detained:
(New York, March 30, 2007) - Kenya, Ethiopia, the United States and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia cooperated in a secret detention program for people who had fled the recent conflict in Somalia, Human Rights Watch said today.
In a March 22 letter to the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Human Rights Watch detailed the arbitrary detention, expulsion and apparent enforced disappearance of dozens of individuals who fled the fighting between the Union of Islamic Courts and the joint forces of the Transitional Federal Government and Ethiopia from December 2006 through January 2007.
“Each of these governments has played a shameful role in mistreating people fleeing a war zone,” said Georgette Gagnon, deputy Africa director of Human Rights Watch. “Kenya has secretly expelled people, the Ethiopians have caused dozens to ‘disappear,’ and US security agents have routinely interrogated people held incommunicado.”
Human Rights Watch’s recent research in Kenya indicates that since late December 2006, Kenyan security forces arrested at least 150 individuals from some 18 different nationalities at the Liboi and Kiunga border crossing points with Somalia. The Kenyan authorities then transferred these individuals to Nairobi where they were detained incommunicado and without charge for weeks in violation of Kenyan law.
Human Rights Watch recognizes that Kenya may have valid security concerns regarding people seeking refuge within its borders. Nonetheless these concerns must be addressed through a fair process in accordance with international law, not arbitrarily at the expense of fundamental human rights.
US and other national intelligence services interrogated several foreign nationals in detention in Nairobi, who were denied access to legal counsel and their consular representatives. At least 85 people were then secretly deported from Kenya to Somalia in what appears to be a joint rendition operation of those individuals of interest to the Somali, Ethiopian, or US governments.
And quoting Salim Lone, who now serves as spokesperson for Kenya's opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), from that same Democracy Now interview:
... this whole enterprise-the kidnappings on Kenyan streets, the grabbing refugees coming across the border-has a “Made in America” stamp on it, because you’ve seen it all happen before. And these secret prisons, the US denies any responsibility in this whole operation. And yet, we know that CIA and FBI officials are in those prisons interviewing the inmates.
We also know, by the way, that many of the people who have disappeared are not in those secret prisons. Where are those people? Have they be killed? Are they being tortured somewhere else? This is, you know, utter lawlessness.
So Kenya has been intricately involved in the ongoing destabilization of the HOA, allowing external, rogue powers to operate freely inside its borders. ODM, in the runup to the December elections, was able to utilize much of the opposition to the Kenyan government's actions in uniting various factions on these issues. Several Muslim communities in Somalia, very well-aware of the context and victims of the GWOT, endorsed ODM's platform for change. Obviously, though, it was not in everyone's interest to see a popular regime change threaten existing relationships with the risk of instability - "stability" implying an established order & accountability.
The U.S. has a lot of interests on the line in Kenya, which is listed in the 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS), along with Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia, as one of four "anchors for regional engagement." According to a study, U.S. Arms Exports and Military Assistance in the “Global War on Terror, compiled by the Center for Defense Information at the World Security Institute last September:
Kenya is considered a vital U.S. ally in the war on terror and has supported U.S. counterterrorism efforts by sharing intelligence, providing overflight rights and granting access to airfields and bases. The State Department considers Kenya to be a “front-line state” in the war on terror and this counterterrorism cooperation has yielded an increase in U.S. military assistance for Kenya since Sept. 11, 2001.
In the five years after Sept. 11, Kenya received nearly eight times the amount of military assistance it received in the five years prior to Sept. 11.
In addition to the figures listed in that study, Daniel Volman, Director of the African Security Research Project in Washington, DC, while pointing out that "the US is heavily invested in stability in Kenya", has summarized some of this assistance in his January 5 article, U.S. Military Activities in Kenya, posted on the website of the Association of Concerned African Scholars.
Indeed, Kenya is "a major African recipient of U.S. miltary assistance."
Democracy Promotion and the ECK
Returning to the remarks of James Knight outlining U.S. policy in the HOA, he mentioned that:
"The U.S. is providing elections training to civil society organizations, political parties, and youth and women candidates, as well as supporting the Electoral Commission of Kenya ensure that these elections are smooth, free, fair, and transparent."
This is almost exactly the same message delivered by Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs James Swan four months earlier to the 4th International Conference on Ethiopian Development Studies on August 4, 2007:
The U.S. is providing election-related training to civil society organizations, political parties, and youth and women candidates, as well as supporting the work of the Electoral Commission of Kenya to ensure that these elections are free, fair, and transparent.
From public records, it is clear that, overtly, the State Department works most closely with the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in thier "democracy promotion" programs throughout the world.
A RightWeb profile of IRI explains, its reach is vast:
The IRI is the indirect product of a democratic globalism effort spearheaded in the late 1970s by neoconservatives and their allies in the AFL-CIO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and in the two main U.S. political parties. This project, which aimed to create a quasi-governmental instrument for U.S. political aid that could replace the CIA's controversial efforts to do the same, came to fruition in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan proposed a new organization to promote free-market democracies around the world, the NED. In 1983 Congress approved the creation of NED, which was funded primarily through the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) and secondarily through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Designed as a bipartisan institution, NED channels U.S. government funding through four core grantees: IRI, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDIIA), Center for International Private Enterprise, and the Free Trade Union Institute-the AFL-CIO's international operations institute that is currently known as the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.
Like NED and the other core grantees, the early focus of IRI was Central America and the Caribbean-a region that in the 1980s was the cutting edge of the Reagan administration's revival of counterinsurgency and counter-revolutionary operations. After the Soviet bloc began to disintegrate in 1989, according to IRI's website, the institute "broadened its reach to support democracy around the globe." The IRI has channeled U.S. political aid to partners-which like itself are often creations of U.S. funding-in some 75 countries, and it currently has operations in 50 countries. Most recently, it has expanded its operations into Central Asia, having opened offices in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. In Latin America, IRI has offices in Guatemala, Peru, and Haiti. In Africa, IRI has offices in Kenya, Nigeria, and Angola. IRI's offices in Asia are found in Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, and Mongolia. In Central and Eastern Europe, IRI has offices in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Turkey. There is also an IRI office in Moscow.
IRI's leadership spans the center right, far right, and neoconservative factions of the Republican Party.
Both USAID and IRI have been actively involved in preparations surrounding the 2007 Kenyan elections, however a general search does not uncover much information linking NED.
From a A Report to Members of the Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate titled Nongovernmental Organizations and Democracy Promotion: "Giving Voice To The People"' from December 2006, the U.S. agencies are openly listed as:
U.S. Embassy: Ambassador Michael Ranneberger
Deputy Political Counselor Craig White
USAID Stephen Haykin, Mission Director
USAID Jaidev "Jay'' Singh, Sr. Regional Conflict, Democracy and Governance Advisor
Peter Meechem, Director, IRI
Sioghan Guiney, Resident Program Officer, IRI, Parliamentary Strengthening and Reform
Moses Owuor, IFES, Program Officer--Capacity building programs with the Electoral Commission
Fred Matiangi, Country Director, State University of New York, Parliamentary Strengthening and Reform
Democracy NGOs are prevalent and are not hampered significantly by government regulation or restrictions.
The majority of U.S.-funded democracy efforts are coordinated through the USAID office in Nairobi.
U.S. democracy promotion programs work to a great degree in building political party capacity.
An idea of the funding involved is available from USAID's Congressional Budget Justification FY07: Kenya [pdf]:
Program Title: Democracy and Governance
FY 2006 Program:
Promote and Support Credible Elections Processes ($448,200 DA; $2,425,000 ESF). USAID provides technical assistance, commodities, and training to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK). USAID anticipates supporting domestic and international observations, including training for both party agents and domestic observers, allowing them to assess whether the presidential and parliamentary elections are non-violent, transparent, and competitive. USAID further anticipates monitoring media bias in the run up to the 2007 elections. Principal contractors and grantees: ECK, the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), local CSOs (primes).
FY 2007 Program:
Promote and Support Credible Elections Processes ($460,200 DA; $1,455,000 ESF). USAID will continue to support local election observers, political party agents, and strengthening the ECK. Principal contractors and grantees: Same as FY 2006.
The International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) is another name that is closely associated with U.S. democracy promotion electioneering. The IFES profile at RightWeb is from 1989 but details its early rightwing & CIA connections. A Kenya project webpage on their site informs the reader that:
The communications network has assisted the Commission in its general operations and in results reporting. In May 2003, the ECK used the equipment successfully in the collation and transmission of results in three by-elections in the Naivasha, Wajir West and Yatta constituencies. The by-elections served as an opportunity for IFES and the ECK to improve the performance of the communication network used during the December 2002 presidential elections. The use of satellite phones improved communication between poll workers and the computerized tabulation of votes enabled election results to be announced the same day. Overall, the equipment has greatly improved communication and efficiency between the ECK headquarters and its district offices.
Current activities focus around the implementation of the ECK’s Strategic Plan and Organizational Development, computerization of the Commission’s operations, review of the Commission’s structure and policies, assistance with the polling station infrastructure study, and support to the improvement and implementation of the Communications Protocol.
IFES and IRI both began working in Kenya in 1992, the first year of multiparty elections, and appear to have been involved in some capacity in each 5-year election since then. In 2002, IRI was credited with accurately predicting the presidential elections results from polling "3,000 Kenyan registered voters in the eight provinces". (see IRI Poll Correctly Predicts New Kenyan President.) It was also the first year that IRI conducted exit polls in a presidential election.
On the U.S. role in nurturing the ECK, from USAID's webpage on the 2002 elections:
In 2000, the ECK was widely perceived as lacking credibility and independence and no bilateral donors were willing to take a risk and provide any substantial direct funding. However, the U.S. decided that this risk was worth taking and embarked on a substantial program that not only included technical assistance and commodities, but intensive diplomatic efforts to ensure that certain safeguards were in place to level the electoral playing field. Through the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), USAID began implementing this program in March 2001. One significant element was the design and provision of a communication system that enhanced the ECK’s ability to ensure public security and provide secure transit of ballots and electoral results. As the perception of the independence and credibility of the ECK increased, other bilateral donors became willing to provide some support, leveraging USAID’s funding.
Current partners, domestic and foreign, are listed on the ECK's Partner-Relationship web page:
Foreign Partners/International NGOs
ECK collaborates with various national and international organizations especially those that lay emphasis on matters of governance and democracy in her various activities such as voter education, training of election officials, funding of voter education programmes e.t.c. These organizations include the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), USAID, IFES, the Royal Netherlands Embassy (RNE), DFID, CIDA, National Democratic Institute (NDI), the European Union (EU), the Carter Centre, International Republican Institute (IRI), African Union (AU), and other Foreign based missions, and donor agencies in Kenya.
A controversy recently arose when it was revealed that IRI had conducted exit polls during the 2007 election which showed that Raila Odinga won the presidency by an 8 percent margin.
Kenyan president lost election, according to U.S. exit poll:
An exit poll carried out on behalf of a U.S. government-backed foundation indicates that Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was defeated in last month's disputed election rather than being re-elected as he claims, according to officials with knowledge of the document.
The poll by the Washington-based International Republican Institute - which hasn't been publicly released - further undermines an election result that many international observers have described as flawed.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga led Kibaki by roughly 8 percentage points in the poll, which surveyed voters as they left polling places during the election Dec. 27, according to one senior Western official who's seen the data and requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. That's a sharp departure from the results that Kenyan election officials certified, which gave Kibaki a margin of 231,728 votes over Odinga, about 3 percentage points.
The head of the International Republican Institute - a nonpartisan democracy-building organization whose work in Kenya was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development - said the data weren't released because of concerns about their validity.
The institute contracted an experienced Kenyan polling firm, Strategic Public Relations and Research, which had done two previous national-opinion polls for the institute last year. But on election day the institute's staff found that pollsters weren't gathering information in some areas.
The senior Western official, who reviewed partial results, described them as credible. The survey included a sufficient sample of voters from around the country, and Odinga's lead was comfortably outside the expected margin of error for a poll of that size, the official said.
Strategic Public Relations & Research Limited is the same firm commissioned by IRI in 2002 when they took credit for successfully predicting that year's presidential elections by polling 3000 voters. The IRI issued a press release on January 15th stating that "For IRI to rush to release a poll that was incomplete and very likely inaccurate would have been irresponsible and dangerous given the situation in Kenya." What may have changed between 2002 and 2005 was not addressed.
At a minimum, the role of all of these organizations need to be included in any investigation of the "voting irregularities" in the 2007 presidential elections. Were the sponsored polls used at all in adjusting the outcome? Do they contain data that paints a picture no longer helpful to certain interests? Which was more rigged - the final totals or the entire system? And how do all of these pieces fit together? These questions, among many others, need to be raised and addressed.
"The US confidence in Kenya as a regional strategic partner has not been threatened by the crisis and will not be"
Finally, there are the machinations of the diplomatic front - the public face put on by state officials. By now everyone is familiar with the U.S. State Department's rush to congratulate Mr. Kibaki on Sunday after it looked like he was able to pull off the coup:
”We obviously congratulate the president on his election," department spokesman Rob McInturff told AFP.
"Again we would call on the people of Kenya to accept the results of the election and to move forward with the democratic process," he said.
-- AFP, US congratulates Kenyan president on re-election, December 30, 2007
"The United States congratulates the winners and is calling for calm, and for Kenyans to abide by the results declared by the election commission. We support the commission's decision."
-- Reuters, Kibaki wins Kenya's presidential election, December 30, 2008
This was followed by the about-face on Monday morning:
"We do have serious concerns, as I know others do, about irregularities in the vote count, and we think it's important that those concerns... be resolved through constitutional and legal means," department spokesperson Tom Casey said.
"I'm not offering congratulations to anybody, because we have serious concerns about the vote count," he added after another State Department spokesperson on Sunday had congratulated Kibaki.
"What's clear to us is that there are some real problems here and that those need to be resolved in the Kenyan system, in accordance with their constitution, in accordance with their legal system"
-- AFP, US withdraws congratulations, December 31, 2007
In these seemingly contradictory messages one can observe two themes that now, more than two weeks later, have become easily recognizable as orchestrated talking points -- moving on, and, in an incomplete interpretation of the legal standings on the matter, the election results have been announced, so the law says if you want to challenge them, take it to court.
Both of these fit into the U.S. efforts to prevent a recount or rerun.
As the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ratteberger told the audience at a CSIS forum [transcript and audio available] on January 16th, "our position so far is to say that Kibaki was named winner by the ECK regardless of how flawed the election was, and so he’s the president." It should be pointed out that when Kibaki was declared the winner and then immediately sworn in, there was a precedent for it -- two actually -- in 1992 and 1997, the last two terms of Daniel arap Moi's "re-election". As mentioned earlier, not only was 1992 the first year that multiparty elections were held in Kenya, but it was the first year that both IRI and IFES became involved in that country. For obvious reasons, neither of these two items gets mentioned in the "free" press.
On the talking point that Kibaki was sworn in by the ECK and thus any challenges must go through the courts - it is patently false. As explained in an article on the Mars Group Kenya Blog:
On receiving [the counts] the ECK gives all parliamentary and presidential candidates 24 hours to lodge complaints, if any, including demanding a recount or retallying.
The ECK is obliged to, within 48 hours, allow the recount or retallying. All candidates and the ECK therefore have 72 hours to resolve any disputes. It is only after the period that the ECK can announce the winners of each of the 210 parliamentary seats and issue a certificate known as Form 17 to each elected MP and Form 18 to the elected president. The results are then gazetted.
With due respect to Mr Kivuitu, it was irregular, unlawful and void in law to announce the results on December 30 and swear in the President on the same day. The ECK boss announced the results when he did not have the original Forms 16, 16A and 17A from each constituency, refused to allow the 24-hour period for candidates to lodge complaints and declined to allow retallying. He told the world that his returning officers had gone underground, and that he did not have powers to order retallying.
On the day the results were being announced, Special Gazette Notice No. 12612 was issued declaring Mr Kibaki the president. Mr Kivuitu deliberately misled the world and subverted the law.
Section 5 of the Constitution states that the president shall be elected in accordance with the Constitution and the National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act, Cap 7. Non-compliance with the mandatory provisions vitiates the process.
In law, the fundamental principle is that a void process does not confer legitimacy. A public officer acting in compliance with the law must comply with the substantive, formal and procedural conditions laid down and at all times act in good faith and for the public good.
The Law Society of Kenya, "the premier bar association and legal development agency in Kenya," is only one organization among many that makes up the coalition Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice which has just released documentation, titled Count Down to Deception: 30 Hours that Destroyed Kenya, detailing many of the issues which made the election results null and void:
We provide a table of these anomalies, malpractices and illegalities committed in at least 49 constituencies across the country. Instructively, in the constituencies these electoral offences occurred, the presidential election results announced by the ECK do not tally with those released at the constituency tallying centres as reported on Kenya Television Network (KTN) and/or observed by the Kenyan Election Domestic Observers Forum (KEDOF).
Again, we reiterate that the electoral anomalies, malpractices and illegalities noted were sufficient to alter the outcomes of the Presidential election. To this extent, the counting and tallying process for the Presidential election cannot be called free and fair. And the incumbent cannot be said to be in office legitimately or legally. An independent investigation into this process is necessary to bring the country to closure on this issue. Such an investigation must be a priority for the mediation process.
However, the talking point about taking any complaints to court began almost immediately following the swearing in and consecutive ban on live media coverage in the country -- which just happend to cut off a live broadcast of an ODM press conference -- and continues to get parroted in certain circles. On January 15th, an article in the East African Standard, on the nonsense that the hardliner John Michuki spit out last week, couldn't help but stating the obvious:
Michuki’s tune fell in line with what appears to be a well-choreographed tune in Government that goes thus: "Kibaki won the elections fairly; any aggrieved party should go to court".
Others who have adopted this line in the past include Justice minister Ms Martha Karua and Government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua, who went to the extent of saying Kufuor jetted in "to have tea" with his longtime friend, President Kibaki.
Of course, the list is longer than that. For instance, there's the Foreign Affairs Minister on the 14th -- "President Kibaki was voted for by Kenyans, declared a winner by a competent Electoral Commission, sworn in and has formed Government. Any challenge to that has to be made by a court of law. The claims are untenable and illegal" -- or, better still, in an article on January 8 from the same paper, on statements by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Jendayi Frazer during her extended stay in Nairobi:
Asked about the options during negotiations and whether a presidential run off was expected, Frazer responded that it was up to the two leaders to hammer out a compromise.
However, she noted that the law stipulated that once the ECK had announced results, any party contesting the outcome should seek remedy in the courts.
Further inquiry into where this talking point originating would be illuminating. However, the fact that the PNU and the US are using the very same language suggests more than just a harmonious coincidence.
Publicly, the U.S. has insisted that it is a neutral mediator in this crisis yet its positions show otherwise and, in fact, display solid backing for Kibaki.
Both are firmly against any recounting or re-running of the elections. In an interview with the Daily Nation that ran on the same day Ambassador Ranneberger told the CSIS forum that it is the U.S. position that Kibaki is legitimately the President, he also explained that "[t]he idea of a recount is not feasible because documents have gone missing or been altered. A fresh election is not feasible either. It’s not the best thing to put this country through this kind of trauma so soon again." At the CSIS event he opined: "Neither side has the money for it"
Rather than allowing a re-run, the U.S. agenda is to promote the idea of a power-sharing arrangement. A January 9 article in the East African Standard, Frazer opposes fresh polls, describes Asst. Secretary Frazer's press briefing immediately following her meeting with the Catholic Kisumu Archdiocese wherein the Archbishop advanced the position that "Kibaki has no authority to govern and he should immediately step aside for fresh presidential elections."
US Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Africa, Ms Jendayi Frazer, said she believes a re-run of the elections was not the way forward.
"I don’t support calls for a re-run of the elections as the way forward. It is not my responsibility to decide for Kenyans on the matter. It is up to political leaders," she said.
She said the way forward was for the politicians to accommodate each other in a power-sharing strategy.
She said the proposed power-sharing plan should also be constitutionalised.
On the very same day, another article ran with the headline, "We oppose poll re-run, says PNU"
The Party Of National Unity (PNU) is against a re-run of the disputed General Elections.
Finance Minister, Mr Amos Kimunya, said the PNU was against the use of the ballot box to sort out the political crisis.
"A re-run is not practical because it would not enable the country to achieve its social and economic designs," he said.
This view, however, appears to be in the minority. In the strongest international pressure yet, the European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2008 on Kenya declares the EU position as follows:
3. Regrets that, despite the broadly successful parliamentary elections, the results of the presidential elections cannot be considered credible owing to widespread reports of electoral irregularities;
4. Deplores the fact that Mwai Kibaki, appointed his cabinet unilaterally, which severely undermined mediation efforts;
5. Calls on Mwai Kibaki, to respect his country’s democratic commitments as enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya, the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and to agree to an independent examination of the presidential vote; urges the Kenyan authorities, in addition, to facilitate such an investigation in order to redress the situation and make the perpetrators of the electoral irregularities accountable for their actions;
8. ... calls on the Commission to offer to the Kenyan authorities all necessary technical and financial assistance in the process of an independent examination of the presidential elections, as well as in the steps deemed necessary to redress the situation;
12. Calls for fresh presidential elections should it prove impossible to organise a credible and fair recount of the votes cast in the presidential election by an independent body;
This is similar to the ODM position, which has requested international assistance to obtain mediation that results in a coalition government for three months until the elections can be conducted again. The mass protests that took place last week were part of that effort, acknowledged by ODM Party Secretary-General, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o as reported by the East African Standard, "The aim of the rallies to is to make a point to the public and the world that the presidential vote was stolen and we are ready for a re-run."
The U.S. explanations for why a re-run is not possible do not hold water and therefore appear calculated to protect Kibaki and the PNU.
In an article, Kufuor’s whistle-stop diplomacy was only to pave way for Annan, in the East African on January 14, one can find more confirmation of this:
What is emerging ... is that the United States and European countries appear to be pulling in different directions in the conflict.
Washington’s overriding concern in Kenya is stability. Indeed, ODM stalwarts say US top diplomat Jendayi Frazer, who was last Friday still in the country, has been pushing them to accept Cabinet positions in Kibaki’s government and ignore the genesis of the conflict.
In contrast, the Europeans, through the European Union, are pushing for a re-tallying of the presidential vote and, finally, a re-run of the presidential election.
In Ambassador Ranneberger's remarks during last week's CSIS event, he quickly gave his take on both parties positions:
on Kibaki’s side, his people have told him, of course, that time is on their side, that if they simply proceed unilaterally, in essence, all this is going to go away; the country will calm down and they’ll muddle along. On Odinga’s side, he’s counting on international pressure and the threat to make the country ungovernable to force Kibaki to step down or make major concessions.
We told both of them that those kinds of assumptions are dead wrong. The country’s not just going to return to normal and on Odinga’s side we’ve told him that the international community is not going to ride to the rescue and at some point, you know, people will get tired of sort of mass action.
Realising that it's going to be difficult to get Kibaki and Odinga to agree on a power-sharing structure -- as Ranneberger admits, "to be frank about it, I don’t think ... it’s inconceivable that [Odinga] would simply want to stay in the opposition and continue to make things difficult for the government" since he's been burned by Kibaki previously and has little to gain from any permanent power-sharing arrangement -- the Ambassador continued on:
So our efforts are sort of directed at trying to corral them or trap them, if you will, into a face-to-face meeting to launch a – (audio break) – and the idea would be that the process would be launched – that by getting a process launched you have to stop the immediate violence and then provide the space that’s needed to address these fundamental institutional issues which, of course, will take time.
Evidently, one of those schemes to "trap them" involved the World Bank and its Kenyan official Colin Bruce in behind-the-scenes attempts to get a power-sharing agreement signed during the visit from Ghana's John Kufuor. From the January 14 East African article cited earlier:
It was during discussion of the Harambee House meeting that the controversial agreement on power-sharing that eventually caused the talks to collapse came up.
The meeting agreed that the controversial document would form the basis of the truce and consequently the face-to-face meeting between Raila and Kibaki.
Where did this controversial document come from and did President Kibaki know about its contents? Did the president commit to implementing the controversial agreement at any point during the negotiations?
What we have been able to establish is that at the height of the ethnic violence that gripped Rift Valley Province, a group of Mombasa-based businessmen and allies of Pentagon member Musalia Mudavadi joined hands with World Bank country director Colin Bruce apparently to offer freelance secret mediation between Mwai Kibaki and Raila.
We have also confirmed from the diplomatic community that all major diplomatic missions in Nairobi were aware of the parallel mediation process that had begun long before Kufuor came into town.
One senior Western diplomat, speaking to The EastAfrican under conditions of anonymity, admitted having been shown the document by Mr Bruce as early as Saturday last week.
It has also emerged that the document was widely circulated to Western diplomatic missions.
Did Colin Bruce have the mandate from Kibaki to work on the agreement?
Who were the other shadowy characters working with the World Bank representative? Is it conceivable that a senior World Bank official should have involved himself in the negotiations so intimately without the knowledge of his hosts? These questions still lack answers.
Apparently, Colin Bruce intimated to many Western diplomats that everything was to be done secretly to prevent the hardliners in Kibaki’s Cabinet knowing what was going on.
From the Daily Nation interview with Ranneberger:
Q: One of the reasons leading to the meeting planned for last Thursday between President Kibaki and Mr Odinga being cancelled is said to have been President Kibaki’s refusal to sign the controversial agreement negotiated by representatives of both sides. You were listed alongside your British and French counterparts as witness to the agreement. What exactly was your role?
Ranneberger: We had no role whatsoever in negotiation of that document. I understand what happened is that representatives of PNU and ODM approached the World Bank and asked them to facilitate negotiation of a document that could set agenda for the way forward. That document was negotiated between PNU and ODM representatives.
They said they were in direct touch with President Kibaki and Mr Odinga. At a certain point, ODM asked President Kufuor to present to document to President Kibaki to confirm that he was in agreement with it. It was at that point that it became apparent that President Kibaki had never seen the document.
So I don’t know exactly what happened but there was a huge misunderstanding in regard to that document. We had indicated to President Kufuor that we were prepared to witness the signing of it if the two sides wanted us to. That is how our names appeared on the document.
And from Ranneberger's remarks at the CSIS forum on the 16th:
The U.S. has been very much at the center of trying to promote dialogue, both by supporting the African Union but also directly, of course. We are uniquely positioned, I think, with credibility on both sides.
[On ODM objections to a power-sharing structure]
I certainly don’t think he’s going to be signing any documents without an international witness but, you know, it’s absolutely true that the level of mistrust is tremendous. That’s where I think we, particularly the U.S., comes in, in indicating a willingness to witness. And we’ve sort of avoided the term guaranteed, but I think we’re willing to go pretty far to some sort of an agreement between them.
So that's where things stand now. The U.S. has sided with the PNU in rejecting calls for a recount -- which in all likelihood is no longer possible given the time elapsed since the election, the lax security measures that allowed the inflated counts, and the general mistrust of the ECK's impartiality -- and using its influence to prevent a re-run.
Kibaki so far remains an international pariah, having received official recognition from only a handful of governments (Uganda, Swaziland, Somalia and Morocco), after such a blatant auto-coup literally following in the footsteps of the corrupt and brutal regime of Moi. (The message that will be understood from this has yet to be determined. Autocrats like Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame, and Meles Zenawi would probably rather not see a popular democracy movement succeed in Kenya and encourage similar ideas in their own nations.) Odinga, who was imprisoned and tortured under the Moi, knows all too well what is at stake. As do many other.
As the ACAS press release quoted at the outset of this report states:
The U.S. has played a central role in building up Kenya’s weaponry and internal security apparatus, now being deployed in the crisis. Current U.S.-Kenyan relations are a product of 24 years of U.S. support to the Daniel arap Moi dictatorship that jailed, exiled or disappeared those opposed to the regime.
During last week's mass protests, the world became increasingly aware of the brutality of that internal security apparatus as reports poured in of the regular police, the GSU, and paramilitaries, operating under an informal "shoot to kill" policy, firing live ammunition indiscriminately and killing scores of civilians, including those not even involved in demonstrations.
Under the larger context of the GWOT, Kenya is slipping into a national security state, which, from a historical perspective, fits in with the ideological rationale of the old cold warriors behind the U.S. institutions heavily involved in "democracy promotion" and electioneering in Kenya.
The current U.S. push for a "stable" Kenya involves (1) protecting the imperial presidency of Kibaki, first and foremost, and then (2) calling for internal reforms. Ranneberger described these reforms to the audience at CSIS -- "a package that needs to include a commitment to an agenda for institutional reform, meaning constitutional, electoral commission, land reform, the three key areas..."
In her thesis laid out in "Dictatorships and Double Standards", the neconservative academic Jeane Kirpatrick distinguished between left-wing and right-wing dictatorships, arguing that "right-wing 'authoritarian' governments are more amenable to democratic reform than left-wing 'totalitarian' states," thus providing the "intellectual" justification for continued U.S. support for authoritarian regimes, however brutal they may be. The idea, still accepted in the neoconservative worldview, is that their dictators are more open to external influence than the other guy's.
How seriously one wants to consider the notion that ODM represents a "left-wing" government, let alone one having totalitarian designs, is of lesser importance than the reality that it does pose a threat to "business as usual." ODM campaigned on the slogan of bringing change, accountability, and a more equitable distribution of the benefits that Kenya's economical advances have been reaping over the past years. It managed to unite many of the underrepresented and unrepresented populations of a very diverse nation. And therein lay the real threat - maintaining the established order of things. In terms of U.S. interests, which override all other considerations wherever the United States is involved, ODM represents instability.
The current Kenyan government and its foreign partners have much to answer for. Much blood has been shed needlessly. The chaos in the HOA has now spread into East Africa. Obscene amounts of money and efforts will be required just to provide a modicum of humanitarian assistance & subsistance for those displaced and affected by this latest, entirely avoidable, tragedy. Undelivered promises of "free and fair" elections are not to be taken lightly. Blame must be placed accordingly.
Perhaps more light will be shed on the Kenyan government's roles earlier last year in the secret detentions and other violations of international law and human rights. And perhaps, as more information comes out on the connections of the Kibaki regime in the U.S. GWOT, a fuller understanding and awareness of the U.S. role in the unfolding tragedies that have betrayed all meaningful definitions of the words democracy and sovereignty will develop and attempts at true accountability can begin.
But for the meantime, as Jendayi Frazer confidently announced to the press during her recent trip to Nairobi:
"The US confidence in Kenya as a regional strategic partner has not been threatened by the crisis and will not be.”
[You may also want to read Coup in Kenya - Part I and the comments to that piece]
Posted by b on January 21, 2008 at 11:30 AM | Permalink
this info on the u.s. role (which may be an understatement) in the african union (AU) comes from a propaganda article that was supposed to have been up on the state dept's new "america.gov" site -- which appears to have replaced the usinfo one -- but is not there now, so i'll link to the copy at the aggregator site allafrica. (and what's the deal with calling the new site america.gov? what do the canadians, central & south americans think of that? and if there really is only one .gov exercising claim over all of the americas, doesn't this make it easier to prove that we are talking empire here?)
Continent's Strategic Importance to U.S. is Growing, Envoy Says
A senior diplomat says her appointment as the first full-time U.S. envoy to the African Union (AU) highlights a growing U.S.-Africa partnership aimed at pursuing political stability and economic prosperity on a strategic continent.
"This is an historic moment, both for the African Union and the United States," as the focus of Africans' attention moves from a preoccupation with the colonial era to today's globalization, Ambassador Cindy Courville said.
the colonial era was a period of intense globalization too, don't forget
In December 2006, Courville was named to represent the United States at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, becoming the first non-African envoy to be exclusively accredited to the 53-nation multilateral organization.
"We are the only non-African mission at the AU," Courville pointed out. She said Africans welcomed her new assignment because "serving as President Bush's special assistant for Africa, they knew my appointment had the highest level of attention at the White House."
Courville, a former analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency, served most recently as Africa director at the White House National Security Council, where she developed and coordinated U.S. policy engagement with Africa.
In the critical area of conflict resolution, "the United States has provided over $400 million to the AU for peacekeeping operations in Darfur in the last four years alone," Courville said. "We know the AU has the political will and heart to go into crisis regions," but lacks the resources to undertake these missions, she added.
With that in mind, the U.S. aim has been to buttress AU peacekeeping capabilities through initiatives like the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program, which is working with a number of African militaries to build up an AU standby force of 25,000 troops to respond to emergencies.
To further that effort, Courville said, her small mission staff includes two military liaison officers, responsible for assistance to most African countries, and the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), the 1,500-troop force centered in Djibouti that is responsible for anti-terrorism efforts and regional humanitarian outreach.
Also, more than $1.7 million in U.S. funding has been devoted to the support of the AU political affairs directorate with another $250,000 going for the support of diplomatic initiatives by the organization, Courville said.
In addition, the U.S. mission currently is working with the AU to help set up a "strategic planning cell" to monitor the growing crisis in Somalia. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer is behind the effort and is giving it her full attention, Courville added.
These initiatives are all line with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's transformational diplomacy, which is "based on a proactive rather than a reactive approach to international problems," Courville said.
Posted by: b real | Feb 15, 2008 12:44:18 AM | 101
okay, i found it. the article was from last may, so allafrica.com is incorrect in labeling it acribing the byline
America.gov (Washington, DC)
8 February 2008
Posted to the web 14 February 2008
& running it in thursday's news. will have to look up the numbers for 08, but rice & her protege frazer certainly did transform the region throughout the year ;-)
Posted by: b real | Feb 15, 2008 12:53:07 AM | 102
interesting article in the daily nation saturday
Foreign missions in dilemma over crisis
Impeccable sources in diplomatic circles said the envoys and development partners including the World Bank have been meeting to chart the way forward if the problem takes long to resolve.
Britain, Kenya’s former colonial master, and the US are some of the countries expressing optimism that the talks will be fruitful and have made it clear that the country is too important to be left to go the Somalia way.
Our sources said some foreign embassies and multi-national organisations have prepared evacuation plans and booked hotels for their staff in the neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania in case the country explodes for the second time.
The sources noted that some of the diplomats participating in the briefing meetings feel that Americans and the British had a “secret plan” but didn’t know exactly what it involves.
They say pressure by the British High Commissioner Adam Wood and America’s Michael Ranneberger on the Government suggests that they might be courting a plan B which did not rule out anything.
They also refer to a statement by the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Dr Jendayi Frazer, who warned that a solution from outside could be imposed on Kenya if it does not solve its own problems.“We’ll find an international mechanism if they can’t find it internally,” she said ahead of an African Union meeting held early in the month.
However, US embassy spokesman T.J Dowling denied that the American had a plan B but quickly added that if the two camps fail to reach an agreement, the UN and African Union will intervene.
The US official said Kenya is too important a nation and has had a long standing relationship with the US, adding that the superpower wants it to be a leading model for economic growth and democracy in Africa.
The US embassy said Ms Rice’s trip will underscore the country’s commitment to assisting both sides agree on a common way forward that will bring peace and stability to Kenya, and help the country regain its position as a democratic and economic leader in the region.
It is also believed that Rwanda President Paul Kagame’s comment that the army should intervene to stop the killings and humanitarian crisis, was made after consultations with the some western countries.
In the early days of the crisis, it was learned that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called a meeting– as chairman of the EAC– to discuss the violence.
However, President Kibaki cancelled his trip in the last minute and insisted that his colleagues could not meet to discuss Kenya without him.
It is also understood that Mr Museveni was supposed to return to Kenya last Friday but failed to show up due to unknown reasons.
It was argued that Western allies might have advised him against visiting the country.
Posted by: b real | Feb 16, 2008 3:23:47 PM | 103
the Western governments did not see fit to condemn Kibaki's rigged-election. Nor his fraudulent swearing-in. Nor to support calls for a recount or re-run. Nor to stop enabling Kibaki, pretty much across the board. Nor to say or do anything substantive, erstwhile claiming deference to Kenya's constitution & sovereignty.
but they are ready to invade if the Kenyan's do not solve the problem themselves.
hypocrisy ? Its pretty obvious & transparent, its all about divide & rule.
Posted by: jony_b_cool | Feb 16, 2008 5:51:03 PM | 104
and now it's come to the point where many kenyan's are rejoicing over bush's announcement to dispatch secretary rice to nairobi on what is probably the most critical day of negotiations. i see it in the blog comments & opinions, and now in the papers.
editorial in the standard (of all places!) on sunday
Rice’s visit must push talks to concrete action
The announcement on Thursday that United States President George Bush was sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya was welcome news. It showed that the US, and the international community in general, are not standing by as Kenya rolls off the precipice.
It showed that the international community was moving from simply showing concern to making concrete steps to secure national accommodation and peace.
Notably, Rice’s will be the second high-profile visit by a senior US official since violence broke out after the disputed, and so far discredited December 27 presidential election. The first, by the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Dr Jendayi Frazer in January, yielded little result.
Rice’s visit follows two significant moves by the US: First, its withdrawal of congratulations to President Kibaki on his disputed re-election, and second, backing off Frazer’s remarks that the killings amounted to ethnic cleansing.
While some have labelled attempts by the international community to support mediation as "interference", the lack of progress so far show that external help is crucial. That is why it is refreshing to hear Bush’s remarks that he supports talks led by former United Nations Secretary General, Dr Kofi Annan.
since the parties are in the spirit of making many concessions, wondering if/when the u.s. will slip in a demand for a SOFA and article 98 agreement...
since the house subcommittee never published a webcast or transcript (yet) for that hearing linked in #83, here is a link to the C-SPAN video of the event.
Situation in Kenya
Posted by: b real | Feb 17, 2008 1:44:24 AM | 105
"Any individuals ... seen as obstructing the effort for a peace process, a power sharing agreement, the president stated, will be subject to possible further sanctions by the U.S.," said Frazer, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
Bush starts Africa trip with call for Kenya deal, reuters
Posted by: b real | Feb 17, 2008 2:29:02 AM | 106
am interested if you know something of the projects by the evangilicals in africa - the little gangster benny hinn in kenya for example & they seem to be focusing on that continent in much the same way as they despoiled latin & central america in the 60's, 70's & 80's
these creeps really seem to get their claws in countries & attempt to ravish them, literally
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 18, 2008 6:34:40 PM | 108
r'giap - sorry, i haven't come across any information along this line in my research, outside of older stuff on pat robertson, diamonds, gold & liberia, the occasional dispatch from missionary "partnership" programs, and the everlasting effects of livingstone & kin's efforts to infect heathen savages into civilized societies. i will certainly keep an eye out for anything of interest.
of course, one could look at the current efforts of the u.s. DoD to dominate africa as a form of evangelism. the military has its "missions". it seeks "partnerships" w/ indigenous nations, claiming that it is responding to their requests for assistance. some of the warriors colonizing djibouti at camp lemonier are tasked w/ performing outreach operations "to provide evidence of alternatives to religious extremism," winning hearts, minds & souls on the orders of a higher authority. preaching against the evils of resistance to the ultimate dominion of god's chosen empire. converting. blessing. cast away all suspicionsthe point where only faith in the benevolent
Posted by: b real | Feb 18, 2008 10:55:40 PM | 109
whoops. she works in mysterious ways. naw.. wrong key.
Posted by: b real | Feb 18, 2008 10:58:54 PM | 110
a quick glance at some headlines from the last 48 hours
- reuters: Bush calls for power-sharing, Kenyans skeptical
- bbc: Bush urges Kenya power-sharing
- guardian: Bush backs Kenya power sharing agreement
- cbc: Bush presses for power-sharing deal in Kenya
- dallas news: In Africa, Bush warns Kenya it needs power-sharing deal
- daily nation: US: Kibaki and Raila should share power
- cnn: Rice demands 'real power sharing' in Kenya
- bloomberg: Rice Urges Kenyans to Share Power to End Violence
- abc online: Rice urges power-sharing deal for Kenya
- daily nation: Rice backs power sharing in Kenya crisis
- east african standard: US proposes ‘real power sharing’
- daily nation: US pushes for quick peace deal
- ips: Rice Lobbies for Power-Sharing Government
- guardian unlimited: Rice joins Annan in Kenya to push rivals into real power-sharing deal
- wapo: Political Deal Is Overdue, Rice Tells Kenyan Rivals
- china post: Rice demands fast solution in Kenya crisis
- ap: Rice says power sharing in Kenya will strengthen country's ties to US
- the mercury: Rice -'Kenya can gain from US aid'
and, to requote from a january 9th article in the original post in this thread
US Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Africa, Ms Jendayi Frazer, said she believes a re-run of the elections was not the way forward.
"I don’t support calls for a re-run of the elections as the way forward. It is not my responsibility to decide for Kenyans on the matter. It is up to political leaders," she said.
She said the way forward was for the politicians to accommodate each other in a power-sharing strategy.
Posted by: b real | Feb 19, 2008 12:12:32 AM | 111
what up with the sheer incompetence of Bush/Rice/Jendayi is how it has become the most redeeming quality of their Africa policy.
and, is the USA really trying to catch up with the situation in Kenya, or is it trying to stay a few steps ahead ? Thats the question Kenyans need to ask.
Posted by: jony_b_cool | Feb 19, 2008 3:26:34 AM | 112
it seems that these 'prosperity preachers' have a focus on africa that appears in its truest sense, diabolical. & creeps like benny hinn are the thin edge of the wedge - establishing 'cancer clinics' in return for financial 'anointing'. all to say their escalating presence in africa not an accident - & i wonder what their relation is to militias like the lords army
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 19, 2008 1:27:43 PM | 113
this falls in w/ the u.s. policy outlined in my original article and throughout the commentary in this thread & confirms much
daily nation: Revealed: Secrets of talks with Rice
The secret details of the high-level meetings US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held with President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga in her few hours of diplomacy in Nairobi can be revealed today.
..the diplomat ... carried with her the details of the election results, the reports of domestic and international observers and the allegations that both parties had tabled.
On the basis of the information gathered since the disputed elections, Dr Rice is said to have delivered to President Kibaki and his team on the one side and to ODM leader Raila Odinga and his group on the other a three-fold message laying out the concerns of the United States and the international community.
First was the fear that instability in Kenya was likely to affect the entire region, including countries in eastern, central, and southern Africa as well as those in the Horn. Their concern ran the gamut of political stability, economic development, relations with other nations of the world and the search for democracy.
The second item in her message centred on the violence that had been well-documented by the media. Dr Rice is said to have urged the two sides to take steps to ensure that violence doesn’t engulf the entire country because, once it does, it would be difficult to stop.
The third issue was based purely on Washington’s concern over international terrorism. It is understood Dr Rice told the two sides that the US believed that should political instability take hold in Kenya, then terrorism would have found a new home.
She is said to have argued that whenever security becomes endangered, civilians tended to buy a lot of guns, something that would make it difficult to tell a terrorist from a person fighting for a political cause or a tribal war.
Sources who attended the top-level diplomatic meetings revealed that Dr Rice insisted that Kenya must quickly stop the slide into the abyss and return to the democratic path as a stable, secure country.
To achieve the stability, she urged the two sides to forget about the question of who was the winner or the loser and work together under a grand coalition.
When she arrived on Monday morning, she first went to the Serena Hotel where Mr Annan and his team that includes former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and former South African First Lady Graca Machel are based.
They briefed her on the issues, the mediation status and the hurdles that needed to be overcome before a political settlement could be reached.
From the hotel, she was driven to Harambee House to meet President Kibaki.
The meeting took two hours, and it is understood that President Kibaki was the first to speak, summarising the issues that he believed showed clearly that he was the winner and that ODM was using violence to support their claim to power.
It is understood that Dr Rice said that given the state of affairs in the country, it was the President’s duty to provide leadership by agreeing to share power with his rivals and prepare the ground for fresh elections.
After the two-hour meeting with President Kibaki, she went to the residence of the US ambassador Michael Ranneberger in Muthaiga to meet the ODM team.
On its side, ODM had prepared a forensic audit of the votes to show how the final figures were altered at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) to favour President Kibaki.
But when they arrived prepared to argue their case, Dr Rice reportedly made the task easier for them. She is understood to have said: “We have everything on the elections; let us not waste time on it.”
The meeting took one hour.
Sources close to the meeting said the ODM team argued that a re-run of the presidential election was necessary to restore tespect for democracy in the country and clear the air over who the clear victor was.
But it is said Dr Rice replied that the environment was not yet conducive for an election and urged them to consider the sharing of power as the solution to the crisis.
She said it was no longer important to know who was the winner and the loser because of the damage that it had cost the country in terms of instability and the scale of violence.
Dr Rice made it clear that a grand coalition was necessary, that no obstacles should block the sharing of power and that the country should not rush into another election.
This position trumped the second ODM argument that they were ready to enter into a coalition with PNU on condition that an election be held after two years.
In fact, it is said that Dr Rice insisted that the grand coalition should last long enough — five years — to enable those involved in the conflict to carry out the necessary constitutional, legal and judicial reforms that would seal the loopholes that led to the disputed poll results. Priority would be given to comprehensive review of the Constitution.
This, it is understood, was to ensure that the country took advantage of the disputed elections to enact reforms that would return it to the democratic path.
it should be quite clear to all who care to notice that the u.s. has & is protecting kibaki's illegitimate presidency over the democratic voice of the kenyan electorate.
what lessons will be learned from this experience?
Posted by: b real | Feb 23, 2008 10:58:19 PM | 114
if I can interject a lesson: Kenyans should resist allowing their ethnic tensions to take on the surliness it has over the last 20 or 30 years. That just leaves the door wide-open for divide & rule.
and Condi Rice continues to provide as much inspiration to Kenyans as a friend who once told me -- "You'll never be broke as long as I owe you money". By the way, she's no longer my friend.
Posted by: jony_b_cool | Feb 24, 2008 2:50:16 AM | 115
something to chew on from a daily nation analysis
Mr Bush’s long stay in Tanzania, seemed to vindicate those who suggest that the US has decided to locate its controversial African Command (Africom) along the East African coast. Nearly all African countries have refused to host Africom, fearing that they would get embroiled in America’s “international war on terror” and provoke internal instability. Only Liberia has publicly offered to host it. The matter has become so heated, that the US has announced that it has shelved the idea indefinitely, and Africom would continue to be run out of Germany.
Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t work that way. A look at the world map will tell you that Africom, when it is eventually set up, is most likely to be on the East Coast where the location makes strategic sense. It will probably never be located in a country because, as in the case of Liberia, just because that country has offered to host it. [sic]
It can’t be located in North Africa, in part because all the North African countries are Muslim countries that pose a real risk of radicalising the region and the Middle East further.
If Ethiopia, Rwanda or Uganda were not landlocked, Africom would be a done deal by now. Tanzania has few port options, and its capital Dar es Salaam is a coastal city, which means a large population lives there.
Kenya has historically hosted US forces on a short-term basis, and its capital Nairobi is in the hinterland, meaning there are fewer prying eyes at the coast. It also offers Malindi and Lamu. In addition to offering easy access to most of Africa, an Africom base on the East coast would give the US proximity to the volatile Middle East, and a forward position and “line of sight” to the region which offer it its greatest future global rivalry – Asia.
A settled Kenya and a Nairobi government with national legitimacy will almost definitely continue saying “No” to hosting Africom. However a crisis in which the US plays a “saviour role”, which will also destroy the hold of the political elite that is squabbling over power today, creates the conditions for a US base to be welcome.
as i pointed out in an earlier comment, the pentagon apparently was pushing for kenya as the HQ site of choice. i have read other mentions of this, specifically naming the coastal port city of lamu. lamu has been in the news over the past couple of years as an alternative oil hub to mombassa, whose refinery is old & limited in capacity (though currently under expansion/development), for transporting crude oil from southern sudan to the sea where it can be either refined or loaded onto the ships of foreign buyers.
from the POV of framing AFRICOM as a projection of power directed at china (and india), the situating of its HQ in that geographic region would make sense.
but criteria for consideration, as outlined by gen ward in his confirmation process, were
Some of the criteria includes: political stability; security factors; access to regional and intercontinental transportation; availability of acceptable infrastructure; quality of life; proximity to the African Union and regional organizations; proximity to USG hubs; adequate Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)
but they're definitely not going to try to set up a HQ w/ 600-800 people plus their families in a conflict zone, of which kenya has a very real potential, esp if a meaningful solution agreeable to all groups in the kenyan polity is not achieved.
and kenya is not one of the countries listed as having a SOFA w/ the u.s., though i would not be surprised if that issue has come up already during this period of political concessions & very well may be a carrot.
the african countries i see listed as having a status of forces agreement w/ the u.s. are:
- south africa
Posted by: b real | Feb 24, 2008 11:35:09 PM | 116
two from the east african standard
tuesday: 205 suspected militia arrested
Police have arrested 205 youths allegedly undergoing military training at the home of former MP, Mr Davies Nakitare.
Police said the suspects, aged between 18 and 34, were going through military drills when they were arrested.
Police camped at the home of the former Saboti MP in search of firearms suspected to have been used by the youths.
In 1997, the MP was arrested at his farm and charged in a Nairobi court with possessing illegal AK-47 rifles.
The Standard has learnt that a former February Eighteen Movement fighter was among suspects in police custody.
The man was the training commander of the movement and was being referred to as major-general.
Nakitare was away when the officers raided the home, 25km north of Kitale town.
The training allegedly started on February 18. Police said they had been monitoring the goings-on at the farm.
The youths said they were from Gituamba, Kalaha, Salama and Teldet, areas hit by post-election violence.
People displaced from the areas are camping in Kitale and Endebes. One suspect confessed that they were being trained to defend their communities.
"The training started after we took an oath. We were served with a liquid, a bitter substance, and warned against revealing what was going on," said the man.
wednesday: Police seek former MP over training of militia
Police are looking for a former MP after a group of youths were allegedly found undergoing military training at his home.
Kitale DCIO, Mr Issa Mohamud, said a warrant of arrest had been issued for the former Saboti MP, Mr Davis Nakitare.
"We have secured a warrant of arrest for the former MP and detectives are on his heels. We want him to shed light on the issue," said Mohamud.
The officer said Nakitare would face charges of promoting warlike activities.
Unconfirmed reports said Nakitare flew out of the country on Monday evening to join his family in America.
In 1997, during tribal clashes in Rift Valley Province, Nakitare was arrested at his home and charged with possession of AK-47 rifles.
Tension was high in the area over unconfirmed reports that 800 youths were being trained at another undisclosed military camp along the Kenya-Uganda border.
Soldiers from Uganda People’s Defence Force reportedly head the training.
let's see, according to the first article, "The training allegedly started on February 18. Police said they had been monitoring the goings-on at the farm." yet "Nakitare was away when the officers raided the home" having reportedly fled the country to the u.s. the night previous. interesting.
and the "February Eighteen Movement" was a banned/heavily repressed mvmt that relocated in uganda during the moi years, where they were accused of plotting to overthrow the kenyan dictator. story provides more support for the rumours of ugandan forces training kenyans (kikuyu) from the central and rift valley regions. gituamba, for instance, is due north of nairobi, in the center of the country. the raided camp is north of kitale, on the western edge of the rift valley.
Posted by: b real | Feb 26, 2008 10:58:24 PM | 117
this is from an article in wednesday's daily nation. whether it ignites tomorrow or next year, it will blow up again.
Raising funds to arm gangs for revenge poison delicate peace
We established that the community’s militia is already in place and each member has a machete while there are other weapons being kept for them, which nonetheless no one is willing to disclose. The militia comprises mainly groups of youth who have been mobilised and lectured to defend their people should they be attacked.
At first, the Mungiki militia volunteered to help their kinsfolk who were being flushed out of the Rift Valley since they appeared defenceless.
They are said to have been the force behind the ruthless killings in Nakuru and Naivasha where about 100 people were killed.
The youths are being mobilised in the urban centres and upcountry where the exercise is being carried out by selected elders who have been picked to do the work having been involved or witnessed similar tasks during the Mau Mau war.
Signs of serious mobilisation taking place among the young people are evident from the casual talk in the villages in Central Province.
“Keep your weapon closer to you so that when the whistle is blown you are ready to defend your people” is a common phrase in the area.
Professionals who have in the past been known to be aloof in causes such as those championed by groups as Mungiki have this time round become the brains behind the militia groups.
They are assisting them by equipping them with organisational skills and generally preparing them for the anticipated war.
In other words, they are now the intelligence arm of the militia as well as funding the operations. Those who have retired after working with the armed forces have been instrumental and are offering their services in the spirit of community patriotism.
The justification for having such a militia to protect the community, the leaders, say is because when violence erupted in the Rift Valley, the attackers seemed to have been well organised and coordinated.
In the streets of Eldoret Town, there has been talk that news of Mr Annan’s plane departing from the country without an acceptable political settlement will immediately throw the region into renewed violence akin to that which broke out after Mr Kibaki was declared president on December 30.
“If it turns out that the talks have failed to offer us a favourable solution, we will unleash all that we have prepared over the recent past to soldier on with our protests,” an elder and opinion leader in the area said.
Investigations by the Nation revealed a worrying development in which terror gangs, and the post-election violence itself, have assumed a life of their own far beyond the control of local political leaders or government.
In Uasin Gishu, the name of a local school has been changed from Ngarua to Kipnyigei primary school. The former name is associated with Central Province while the new one is local to the area.
The school has a new motto too — “Success through war”. The authorities are yet to take action.
The situation here is not helped by reports of an arms racket at the international level, where guns are reportedly smuggled into the North Rift from neighbouring countries of Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia for onward transmission to urban centres such as Eldoret and Nairobi.
This is being done ostensibly for local militia to arm themselves ahead of any fighting that could break out in case the mediation talks collapse.
Militia in the Rift Valley are thought to have a new impetus in arming themselves following claims that Mungiki sect members have been mobilising in the region.
“We are aware of plans to arm Mungiki to unleash violence on us. We cannot sit back and wait for disaster but are doing all we can to hit back in the event their evil plans come to pass,” said an Eldoret man.
Although most residents of Uasin Gishu, Keiyo, Nandi North, Nandi South, and Eldama Ravine were not used to arming themselves with guns, that has now been possible thanks to the alleged Mungiki threat.
The situation is not much different in Western Province as uncertainty pervades towns and trading centres which were rocked by the post-election chaos, with reports of fresh attacks being planned by youths.
As the country continues to divide along tribal lines, it has emerged that the involvement of prominent personalities and the elite in arming and preparing their communities is as a result of the near collapse of the security situation in many parts of the country.
This has given way to organised gangs to rule through threats and extortion.
Posted by: b real | Feb 26, 2008 11:21:30 PM | 118
looks like the crisis in Kenya is about to shift into a new phase.
in both Somalia & Kenya, the USA is backing factions that are ultimately destined to lose. But we will run through a cycle of different means available, trying to prevent it, before we get there.
Posted by: jony_b_cool | Feb 27, 2008 2:29:18 AM | 119
Kenya rivals agree to share power
not Uhuru yet, but a very big step forward
it will be tough to make it work but at the very least it gives Kenya time & space to heal as well as a lot of lessons learned in lieu of the future.
Posted by: jony_b_cool | Feb 28, 2008 1:03:50 PM | 120
reuters is still working hard to make sure their readers have no idea what really went on in kenya
from two of their wire service reports today
final paragraph in Deal brings hope that Kenya's dark chapter is over
The crisis erupted after Kibaki was sworn in on Dec. 30 and Odinga claimed the election was rigged. Kibaki said he won fairly and blamed his rival for instigating violence and unrest instead of going to court to challenge the result.
yea, odinga & practically everyone on the planet except for the PNU hardliners & their loyalists (and any readers who solely rely on the printed word from western wire services).
reuters practically ran the same lines in a separate story -- Kenya rivals sign power-sharing deal -- though they do manage to change a couple phrases in ways that don't conflict w/ the primary message reuters wants to broadcast
The crisis exploded after Kibaki was sworn in on December 30 and Odinga claimed the election was rigged.
Kibaki said he won fairly and blamed his rival for inciting violence and unrest instead of going to court to challenge the result -- the closest in Kenya's post-independence history.
and in a FACTBOX-Key facts about Kenya article of their today, one can read the following "key fact" about kenya
POPULATION: The country of 36.5 million people, split into more than 40 ethnic groups, was widely regarded before the crisis as a haven of relative peace and prosperity in a region plagued by conflict, poverty and disease.
readers would be much better served/informed by reading the following commentary from pambazuka by a "former Consultant at UNESCO/PEER Nairobi and former Director, UNESCO Office, Geneva"
Kenya: model or myth?
Nearly two months after Kenya's rigged elections and Kibaki's "victory" claim set the country on fire, there is one question that has been on everybody's lips and it has still to be answered.
How can it be that this "model" African country,this island of stability, democracy, good governance, economic excellence and humanitarian solidarity in an otherwise chaotic, conflict-ridden and backward part of the continent, can so quickly collapse into tragedy? And this as a result of rigged elections which take place all the time and all over the world, but seldom with such horrendous consequences?
This perception of Kenya being the exception, the model, is widespread, among Kenyans especially and in the outside world but is it really justified, is it not more fiction than fact?
It is difficult to square this image with one simple truth universally acknowledged, that, Kenya is one of Africa's most corrupt countries. Its history of state corruption is not a secret, nor is it complicated to understand, thanks to the country's vibrant and vigilant press and to well-documented investigation reports of major financial scandals, such as the Goldenberg scam (under Moi) and the recent AngloLeasing scam (under Kibaki).
For those who wish to know more about Kenya's endemic culture of corruption at the highest level,a seminar with John Githongo would be useful. Githongo is the former head of the country's anti-corruption unit, now living in exile in London, having fled Kenya in fear for his life in 2005. The myth about Kenya's economic status has long been promoted by representatives of the World Bank and IMF who imagine that Kenya, by virtue of its hosting the "most powerful economy" in East Africa and the UN Office in Nairobi, exists in some other parallel universe, far away from African realities.
However, the people of Kenya are now poorer than ever. According to the Financial Times, in 1990, 48% of the population lived below the poverty line. "Today, four decades after independence, 55% of Kenyans subsist on a couple od dollars a day"(FT.1/1/2008).
Since independence in 1963, the international donor community, led by the UK, has contributed some $16bn in aid. It is also under their watch that Kibera, so-called "the largest slum in Africa" has expanded and festered in the capital city where about 1.2mn people live without clean water and sanitation amenities, many of them without employment or adequate medical care. Vast amounts of Kenya's arable land are owned by the three ruling families,namely, Kenyatta,Moi and Kibaki. Half of the nation's wealth is in the hands of 10% of the population.
Kenyan MPs earn allowances amounting to tax-free salaries of more than $10,000 per month. This is a democratic model very few African countries can afford to emulate. The international community, so massively present in Kenya, has been complicit in fabricating the "model" country myth, to the detriment of the suffering of the Kenyans.
Myths can take on a life of their own, unaffected by concrete realities which in Kenya are only too visible. The so-called economic success story should be seen in context. For, however impressive may be the gains on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, the tonnes of agricultural exports, the thousand of tourists, the millions of dollars in aid funds and the 6% growth rate since 2006, this cannot hide the misery and the humiliation of over half the population which used to live on $2 a day before the current breakdown.
myth-makers like reuters, for example...
Posted by: b real | Feb 28, 2008 11:46:43 PM | 121
daily nation: How Annan magic worked to seal Kibaki-Raila deal
Details of the dramatic events leading to the signing of a peace deal that ended two months of Kenya’s political turmoil emerged on Friday as the country sprung back to life.
Sources said that Mr Annan decided to deal directly with President Kibaki and Mr Odinga after realising that the two may not have been getting accurate briefs on the progress of the negotiations from their teams.
It is not yet clear what may have prompted President Kibaki’s change of heart over his earlier stated stand on the creation of a PM’s post which he had emphasised only hours before the deal was sealed on Thursday.
The Saturday Nation tried to reconstruct the events that led to the peace agreement and established that there may have been outside forces behind the success.
Both President Kikwete and President Museveni seem to have known that a deal was possible, and the Tanzanian leader seems to have brought a message that dramatically broke the deadlock once he met President Kibaki and Mr Odinga. What that message was, remains a mystery.
President Kikwete’s role at the highest level of the talks was threefold: First, as the Africa Union chairman his presence was the voice of the continental body that is backed by the European Union, Britain and the US.
Second, Mr Annan needed a president of a country that has a premier, to explain to another president whose country has lived with none for 45 years to understand that it can work.
Thirdly, as a former Foreign minister of his country he had what it requires in diplomacy to deal with feuding principals and communicate in a language that should not offend either side.
It is understood that President Kikwete brought out the relevant sections in the Tanzanian constitution and showed his counterpart explaining that whatever the ODM was asking for was less powerful than his PM.
daily nation: International and local leaders throw weight behind power-sharing pact
Publication Date: 3/1/2008
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is among international and local leaders who have thrown their weight behind the power-sharing agreement signed on Wednesday to end Kenya’s political impasse.
Dr Rice said President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga had demonstrated courageous leadership by putting the interests of the nation first.
“This is a Kenyan solution. I commend the former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan and the eminent persons for their tireless efforts to mediate negotiations between the two sides,” she said.
Describing the US as a strong friend of Kenya, Dr Rice assured Kenyans of US support as they implement the agreement and reform agenda. She appealed for unity, democracy and prosperity.
overall, if the deal actually holds & kibaki doesn't screw over odinga as he did in 2002 (or odinga doesn't screw over his own supporters), it's better for the avg kenyan that the conflict end this way for now. at the moment, majority voices seem to indicate that kenyans are pleased to have this agreement in motion & renewed violence or even a civil war are things to be avoided at all costs where possible. of course, this settlement does not address the issue of free & fair elections nor hold kibaki accountable for what kenya just went through & now that kibaki's presidency rcvs legimitization domestically & internationally, any opportunities for real recourse & action against him for crimes will wane. whether kenyans get the type of change they voted for en masse remains to be seen, but it looks like this will buy enough time to ease some of the tension in the hinterlands. how long that lasts is up in the air, but at least they're no longer staring into the abyss. the coalition govt is slated to last for two years.
the role of kikwete is interesting & perhaps more will come out about the connections to bush's visit w/ him the week prior. what msg or words did kikwete relay from his new partners? emphasis from the u.s. has certainly been on promoting the power-sharing resolution as "a kenyan solution" - despite everything we've watched transpire & documented in this thread
Posted by: b real | Mar 1, 2008 12:53:47 AM | 122
daily nation: Americans aid Kenya
American citizens have raised Sh1.75 billion ($25 million) towards the country’s reconstruction after weeks of violence, it was announced on Saturday.
US ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said the amount will be channeled to those affected by the post election violence through the civil society groups and in consultation with the coalition government.
“Our focus will now be on assisting the affected to resume their livelihoods which was destroyed during the skirmishes,” he said.
While on a visit to Nakuru on Saturday, the envoy revealed that his country played a major role in Thursday’s historic agreement between president Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga.
He said US President George Bush dispatched his secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to compel the two sides into the power-sharing agreement.
During the closed door meetings, Ms Rice told the two leaders that the violence in the country was not only bad for the country’s economy but for those of its landlocked neighbours as well. And she asked both leaders to prevail upon their supporters and stop the violence before it spread to other parts of the country.
Mr Ranneberger hinted that the US might have known the outcome of the talks long before the actual signing of the peace deal.
“We were confident the deal would be achieved,” he said.
and from the standard's story on the aid
The ambassador promised increased funding and more cooperation between his country and Kenya following the signing of the political deal.
He described the agreement as an important first step to help sustain Kenya on its democratic path.
never you mind the role of free & fair elections...
Posted by: b real | Mar 1, 2008 11:05:56 PM | 123
nyt's take on the u.s. role, barely (subtly) hinting at what really transpired & the context for it
In Kenya, U.S. Added Action to Talk of Democracy
WASHINGTON — Within hours of Thursday’s power-sharing deal between Kenya’s rival leaders, the State Department issued a rare statement from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, praising the pact and citing the United States for providing “intensive support” to bring it about.
Indeed, while Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, spent weeks in Kenya negotiating the agreement, many foreign policy experts also credit the Bush administration for putting action behind its talk of the need for democracy in Africa.
In Kenya, that meant pressing President Mwai Kibaki, whose supporters, many policy experts say, were most to blame for December’s disastrous elections and the ensuing fallout.
..in recent months, a growing chorus of critics have said that when it comes to democracy in Africa, the administration has been all talk. They argued that deeply flawed elections in Ethiopia and Nigeria — results that were, in some way, endorsed by the United States — showed the administration putting stability above justice. Kenya, they said, was the latest example.
In a scathing commentary in several African publications in February, Jeffrey D. Sachs, a special adviser to the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called the initial response to the Kenyan elections “distressing.”
By assigning blame to both sides of the elections fracas, when most independent observers said Mr. Kibaki was more to blame, the administration was tilting in favor of Mr. Kibaki, Mr. Sachs said in an interview.
Human Rights Watch was equally critical. In a report on Jan. 31, Mr. Roth said, “The U.S. government has embraced democracy promotion as a softer and fuzzier alternative to defending human rights.”
In Ethiopia, where Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has become a strong ally of President Bush, the United States did little to chastise Mr. Zenawi after elections in 2005 during which 200 demonstrators, bystanders and policemen were killed. Hundreds of opposition members were jailed. Many of the independent news outlets were shut down.
Next came Nigeria, where, after much hemming and hawing, President Olusegun Obasanjo finally gave up his effort to change the Constitution so he could run for a third term. But the elections were, by most accounts, a mess: Observers pointed to voting centers that never opened, yet nonetheless reported 90 percent turnout. In some polling places, the police watched while poll workers stuffed boxes with ballots marked for the ruling party.
The results, naming Mr. Obasanjo’s successor in the governing People’s Democratic Party, Umaru Yar’Adua, the winner, were announced hours before counting had finished in several states.
The State Department said it was “deeply troubled” but it urged Nigeria to sort out things on its own, and the administration accepted Mr. Yar’Adua as Nigeria’s new leader.
At first, it seemed as if the administration would follow the same playbook with Kenya’s elections, on Dec. 27.
Ms. Rice sent Jendayi E. Frazer, an assistant secretary of state, to Nairobi a few days after the election.
Mr. Sachs and other critics have complained that Ms. Frazer was too accommodating to Mr. Kibaki, by declaring that the vote probably could not be reassessed by an independent tally; by saying there had been vote-rigging on both sides, so Mr. Kibaki might have won; and by not acknowledging an independent exit poll that showed a clear victory for the opposition.
State Department officials take issue with that characterization.
Posted by: b real | Mar 2, 2008 12:10:50 AM | 124
whats just transpired in Kenya is nothing new to Africa. Pretty much every African country has gone through episodes (in the colonial & post-colonial periods) where Western govts would favor a particular ethnic group even as they engaged in well-orchestrated efforts to fake a public appearance of fairness & neutrality.
not surprisingly, these episodes have had a devastating effect on ethnic relations perhaps nowhere more so than Rwanda where the French & USA took turns siding with whichever ethnic group they determined to be in their best interest on the particular day.
Fortunately African countries have learnt valuable lessons from these experiences and I suspect Kenyans will too.
On the role of President Kikwete of Tanzania, its very likely that the thrust of his message to both Kibaki & Odinga was --- " if you allow your people to be divided by the bias of Western govts, heres whats going to happen to your country ..."
by the way, Tanzania itself is probably the African country that has been least troubled by ethnic problems and all Tanzanians attribute this to the legacy of the great Julius Nyerere.
Posted by: jony_b_cool | Mar 2, 2008 1:26:22 AM | 125
b real, Thanks so much for this series. We've had a few Kenyans post and we would have liked more but I am certain many Kenyans have been here and come back too. The value in these discussions is self-evident and requires no further claim of merit. Still. as you know, its not inconceivable that some of whats been found here may very well have filtered up the chain in some manner or the other. Thanks again, And Thanks Bernard for making it possible.
Posted by: jony_b_cool | Mar 2, 2008 2:02:23 AM | 126
yes, thank you bernhard
east african: How Kikwete, new darling of the West, saved Kenya from collapse
One theory has is that he came to town with a terse message from US President George W. Bush to the effect that the power-sharing deal must be sealed by all means.
As chairman of the African Union, Kikwete has recently emerged as a key ally and kingpin of the US in the region.
Although this same message had already been passed to Kibaki by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had visited Nairobi barely a week earlier, Kikwete’s intervention was bound to meet with a better reception in Nairobi considering that he came to the Kenyan capital wearing two hats — president of a neighbouring fellow member of the East African Community as well as chairman of the African Union.
His visit to Nairobi had added significance in the wake of thinly-veiled threats by the US government, the European Union and even the United Nations of an intervention in the country if the mediation talks failed.
It was US top diplomat Jendayi Frazer who early this month on the sidelines of a summit meeting of the African Union in Ethiopia first issued the threat that the international community would impose a solution on Kenya if the mediation process led by Kofi Annan collapsed.
If any such intervention was indeed being contemplated, the person who would have known its scope and full consequences would have been the chairman of the African Union.
Hence, the theory that Kibaki capitulated in the face of the threat of an AU-led military intervention in the Kenyan crisis.
not so sure about the following, though. so far as i know, tanzania isn't helping westerners exploit the DRC.
Kikwete’s intervention indicates that the Tanzanian president, who came to power in 2005, is gradually becoming the linkman of the US in the region, having replaced Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.
Signs that the US now considers President Kikwete its chief regional ally came in September 2006 when it emerged, to Nairobi’s fury, that Kikwete had discussed Kenya’s “instability” with President Bush during a visit to the White House.
Kikwete’s rise as a regional kingpin has been bolstered by a high-profile anti-graft campaign he recently launched that has seen former powerful members of Tanzania’s ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), fall one after another — allowing him to redraw power centres and reform the grand old party.
He dissolved the Cabinet after he had accepted the resignation of his prime minister, Edward Lowassa, and two other ministers, Nazir Karamagi and Ibrahim Msabaha, who were both implicated in a major corruption scandal.
The ministers and several other officials were accused of interfering with an energy contract to favour the US-based Richmond Company, contravening laws and rules on procurement.
Observers also saw the reshuffle as a move to dismantle corruption networks within CCM and reclaim party organs from the control of a wealthy clique.
Having been elected the new AU chairman on January 31 this year at the summit in Addis Ababa, Kikwete’s role in resolving the Kenyan political crisis has given the AU a much-needed shot in the arm after its dismal performance in Darfur and Somalia.
..it is Kikwete’s emergence as an influential figure in the region that could spark a major realignment within the Great Lakes region. Until now, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the Commonwealth chairman, was believed to be the darling of the West.
However, his victory in the disputed 2006 elections and the harassment of opposition figures before and after the polls dented his image as a reformer who had saved Uganda from sliding into total anarchy.
Similarly, his move to change the constitution to do away with the presidential term limit did not go down well in the West.
that role as chair of the AU is what makes him an important player, as team AFRICOM have made clear their reliance on that org & it's network structure for implementing their neo-imperialist project on the continent.
Posted by: b real | Mar 3, 2008 1:55:34 AM | 127
interesting on Kikwete. But I seriously doubt that Tanzania is going to emerge as a USA proxy (ala Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia) or as a potential base for Africom. Also Tanzania has a large Muslim population centered around Zanzibar & the coast. And as AU chair, he has to talk to everyone.
Posted by: jony_b_cool | Mar 4, 2008 4:27:19 AM | 128
global politician: Kenyan Deal: A compromise between Britain and America
The announcement of the deal is an attempt by the US not only to assuage Odinga’s criticisms of Kibaki, but also to accommodate British interests in Kenya. The British galvanized by their support for Odinga threatened further violence, if a compromise political solution between Odinga and Kibaki could not be reached. Unsurprisingly then that the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown said: “Kenya's leaders have reached a power-sharing agreement that represents a triumph for peace and diplomacy, and a renunciation of the violence that has scarred a country of such enormous potential. The Kenyan people have the outcome for which they have hoped and prayed.”
However, from the outset of the Kenya’s parliamentary elections the US supported both Kibaki and Odinga. Kibaki was America’s preference, but because of his sagging popularity the US also supported Odinga, even though he was aligned with the British and the Europeans. After the election result, the US publicly praised Kibaki, but then shifted and aided Kibaki behind the scenes—the World Bank was one of the instruments used by America.
Amongst American policy makers there was a realization that Kibaki’s control only extended to Nairobi and central parts of Kenya, the remainder of the country was dominated by Odinga and his allies. The US also feared that Odinga persistence with political protest posed a real danger to Kibaki’s rule, paralysis of political life, and a grave threat to America’s war on terror. Hence, in early January 2008, the US dispatched US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs, Dr Jendayi Frazer, Kofi Annan and other pro-American regional leaders to push for a compromise solution. The role played by Annan and other African leaders was to dispel the notion that the US was dictating solutions to Kenya— the actual role played by leaders from Ghana, Tanzania etc was to implement US plan to solve the dispute.
For the time being the Anglo-American struggle over Kenya has subsided, but a lot rests on the formation of the coalition government, the redistribution of Presidential powers and US policies put forward by Kibaki for the new parliament to approve.
Posted by: b real | Mar 5, 2008 2:45:04 AM | 129
AFRICOM may officially be staying in Germany for now, but that will not be the case forever. A regional AFRICOM center is reportedly going to be quietly housed in either Rwanda or Tanzania for the time being, with Rwanda as the frontrunner according to sources from the region. Rwanda already has a US-built cargo plane (C-130) military airport in Bugesera (used by MPRI to airlift Rwandan soldiers in AMIS/UNAMID and supplies to El-Fasher, where the CIA housed a base in the 1980s to counter Col. Gaddafi by supplying Hissen Habre) and a listening station near Mount Karisimbi. The new US Embassy in Kigali, inaugurated recently by President Bush during his visit to Rwanda, also reportedly contains a high-powered listening station.
The US also has a communications center (run by MPRI employees) in Kisangani in neighboring DRC, officially to support the Tripartite Agreement framework and aid in patrolling the Rwanda-Uganda-DRC border. This station is complimented by the recently created US satellite embassy in Goma, run by Mr. Haywood Rankin, who worked in Iraq and Sudan previously.
Tanzania has small military bases located in different places near Dar es Salaam and in the north of the country that could potentially be used, as some of them are already US joint-military training centers for Tanzanian, Rwandan, Kenyan, and other regional armed forces, some working through the Golden Spear program. The US has been using Entebbe Airport in Uganda for many years, as well as smaller airstrips in the north. The US also has airfields near Bamako, Mali, Dakar, Senegal, and an airstrip in Gabon. The US also uses private airfields in Morocco and Tunisia, along with utilizing their ports. The US has 'refueling' stations in Ghana, Senegal, Gabon, Namibia, Uganda, and Zambia. During the 1990s, the 3rd Special Forces group that was involved in Haiti, Rwanda, and Congo-Zaire held training and demining exercises in Zambia. Additionally, the US has a large Air Force base in Botswana that houses C-130s.
The US Navy has agreements with numerous nations, particluarly in West Africa, to utilize their ports, including Ghana, Benin, Gabon, Cameroon, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Togo, Sao Tome and Principe, and Equatorial Guinea. In this capacity, they periodically carry out military exercises with the host nations. This is the same expanse of land the West African Gas Pipeline is expected to be built, and the UK-Ireland firm Tullow Oil had large offshore finds in Ghana relatively recently.
The US military uses an airport in Tamanrasset, Algeria to accomodate C-130s, P-3 Orions, and Predator drones while Brown and Root-Condor, a joint venture between former Halliburton subsidary Brown and Root and Sonatrach, a state-owned Algerian company, is contracted to expand the Tamanrasset base as well as open up a new one at Bou Saada. The Orion P-3s have been used to pass intelligence to the Chadian Government, who likely passes it on to their allies in Sudan (SLA-Minnawi and JEM). The 10th Special Forces also train Chadian soldiers at a small base in Camp Loumia, located 50km south of N'Djamena.
The US and Uk are now pushing to declare former British Somaliland an independent nation and the US has sought a base there since 2000. They have a well-developed port city at Berbera. The US Navy (with a Marines contingent) has a base in Mombasa, Kenya, and uses the airfields at Embakasi and Nanyuki. The US also has listening stations on the islands of Lamu, Pate, and Burr Gaabo. There are also reportedly listening stations in Garissa, Kilifi, and in Somalia's Ras Kambooni.
In Ethiopia, the US has small training bases at Bilate, Gode [supposedly closed] and Hurso. Their larger bases are located at the Debre Zeit airbase near Addis, in the Ogaden region, and in Tigre Province near the Eritrea border. North of Ethiopia is well-known Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, a former French Foreign Legion post.
One of Bin Laden's brothers currently wants to build a massive bridge from Djibouti to Yemen, where the US is also entrenched. The US currently has a military base on the Yemeni island of Socotra, which they had acquired prior to the terrorist bombing of the USS Cole. The Israelis had a signals intercept station called "Unit 8200" on Dahlak Island (part of Eritrea) that was used to aid the SPLA during the late 1990s. The US has also established a military base in southern Libya under the guise of the Pan Sahel anti-terrorism program, where covert activites related to Chad and Sudan are reportedly taking place. The Pan-Sahel initiative also carries out the massive Flintlock training program on a biannual basis, carried out already in 05 and 07. The US also has a training base in Gao, Mali as part of the Pan-Sahel Initiative.
Posted by: DB | Mar 12, 2008 10:46:55 PM | 130
thanks, DB. have to put together a map at some point to keep track of all this, unless something similar already exists in the public domain. (i posted some AFRICOM FY2009 budget stuff in the current open thread.)
here's a real kick in the groin, courtesy of the 'power-sharing' agreement
reuters: Kenyan president appoints panel to probe election
NAIROBI, March 13 (Reuters) - Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki, whose disputed re-election triggered violence that damaged his country's reputation for stability, has appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the Dec. 27 vote.
A statement sent from Kibaki's office on Thursday said the panel would "inquire into all aspects of the General Election ... with particular emphasis on the Presidential Election".
The panel is expected to probe the tallying of votes "to assess the integrity of the results" and look into the Electoral Commission of Kenya's independence among other issues.
Posted by: b real | Mar 14, 2008 12:00:44 AM | 131
amongst a whole bunch of dissembling & canned bureaucrat-speak, i'll just point out this from a webchat w/ ranneberger from march 12
Q [kjk2]: Greetings, I am Kevin J Kelley, the US correspondent for the Nation Media Group.
Will the US government call for release of the International Republican Institute's exit poll conducted during the Dec 27 voting? Kenyan human rights leaders have urged that the poll be published in the interest of helping ensure accountability for election irregularities.
A [Ambassador Ranneberger]: The poll was not a U.S. Government poll, and so we have no authority to release it. However, it is my understanding that this "exit poll" was part of a training exercise and was never intended for publication.
"it is my understanding" that the good ambassador is not an honest man
Posted by: b real | Mar 21, 2008 12:43:42 AM | 132
east african standard: US to help strengthen PM role
The United States government is promising maximum support for the Office of the Prime Minister saying it has a critical role in ensuring the success of the Grand Coalition Government
Out of the crisis that gripped the country at the beginning of the year, America sees hope for democracy.
i take it that was meant as a joke by the author of the article, right?
according to the u.s. state dept's definition of democracy
Democracy comes from the Greek word, "demos," meaning people. In democracies, it is the people who hold sovereign power over legislator and government.
Although nuances apply to the world's various democracies, certain principles and practices distinguish democratic government from other forms of government.
one of those principles, of course, is free and fair elections:
Free and fair elections allow people living in a representative democracy to determine the political makeup and future policy direction of their nation's government.
Free and fair elections increase the likelihood of a peaceful transfer of power. They help to ensure that losing candidates will accept the validity of the election's results and cede power to the new government.
unless, of course, that transfer of power is not viewed as being in the interests of those who matter more than the "demos" unfortunate enough to have stood in longs lines at polling stations...
returning to the standard,
The super power dismisses fears that Kenya could be regressing like Zimbabwe.
This is why it’s promising to work closely with the Office of The Prime Minister, that will be overseeing other ministries.
America is promising stronger ties to the civil society to sustain democracy.
"What happened in Kenya gives us hope. Kenya has a strong civil society, media and highest level of education in Africa. That is why it never degenerated into a civil war when the crisis struck. Its institutions stood firm.
The fact that Kenya has been tested this way shows it has a future. No amount of pressure would have changed things here without pressure from Kenyans pushing their leaders", US ambassador in Kenya Michael Ranneberger said.
In an interview with The Sunday Standard the US Ambassador said his country is putting "a lot of hope" in the PM’s office because of the role the Constitution has assigned it to co-ordinate and supervise government ministries.
"In a government this large, the role of the Prime Minister is going to be critical. We will work very closely with the Prime Minister in co-ordinating and supervising the Government," the ambassador said.
He added: "We recognise that critical role, and that is why we are ready to give money to strengthen the office."
the coalition govt -- pushed at all costs at the behest of the u.s. in complete disregard for its published principle of "ensur[ing] that losing candidates will accept the validity of the election's results and cede power" -- has gotten off on a very shaky start, experiencing one rift or crisis after another. more than once, ranneberger has inserted himself into the heart of the kenyan political apparatus in order to preserve the power-sharing arrangement that his country deigned appropriate for the east african nation, before it goes down in flames. and one has to ask, why didn't the u.s. just go ahead & formally include the ambassador's office in the power-sharing arrangement?
"Having talked with President Kibaki and the Prime Minister, I notice each realise that he can accomplish nothing without the other. I think this will last a while. It is true they need each other," Ranneberger said, adding, "PNU cannot pass legislation without ODM, nor can ODM do it without PNU. They need each other even for the Government to be seen to represent all Kenyans."
The ambassador also announced that the US had invited Prime Minister Raila Odinga to Washington "at a mutually convenient date".
Raila, Ranneberger said, was being invited to the US because of the importance Washington attaches to his role as the one "constitutionally required to supervise and co-ordinate the activities of government".
The ambassador said he remained in close touch with Kibaki, adding that the President had been to the US before.
"We are inviting the PM so that we can review assistance here and show that we can co-ordinate closely. The US has such a large partnership with Kenya and we want to ensure it is properly co-ordinated," he elaborated.
The ambassador spoke soon after announcing the US had committed $500,000 (Sh30.5 million) to support the development of the PM’s office.
Part of the "large partnership" the ambassador was talking about includes some $2 billion (Sh122 million) that flows from the US to Kenya every year.
The US, the ambassador said, is tying its relationship with Kenya on the "full implementation of the national political accord," a task which he says will see the PM play a critical role.
The formation of the grand coalition, the ambassador said, is not the end, but a beginning.
"The reform agenda, which includes reform of the Constitution, addressing the land question and the ECK are critical and urgent, so that we do not have a repeat of what happened during the last elections. These reforms need to be carried out within the next 12-14 months," he said.
so much for the state dept's vaporous notion that "[i]n democracies, it is the people who hold sovereign power over legislator and government."
Posted by: b real | Apr 27, 2008 12:53:58 AM | 133
"Having talked with President Kibaki and the Prime Minister, I notice each realise that he can accomplish nothing without the other.
i can't help but think this 'sharing' arrangement is the new axion when they loose. when it is so overwhelmingly obvious they can't steal it outright the pull the 'share' canard.
makes me livid. maybe this will be the new 'democracy'. everybody gets apiece of the pie, when really nobody contols except the right wing. i really hope he decline the invitation to go to washington..
one has to ask, why didn't the u.s. just go ahead & formally include the ambassador's office in the power-sharing arrangement?
formality is not their strong suit. they're more smoke 'n dagger kinda guys.
Posted by: annie | Apr 27, 2008 1:53:07 AM | 134
this Kenyan situation is a very interesting precedent. First, depending on ones point of view, its a striking example of the failure by the USA to support democratic/electoral fairness/transparency in Africa (and the world) or some might see it as yet further proof that the USA is far more about its own interests than seeing democracy/progress work in Africa.
other Africans will pay very close attention to this power-sharing structure imposed on Kenya to see where it ultimately leads to. While the USA & other European powers cannot do a whole lot about known obstacles to democratic success such as ethnic contentions and the composition of electoral courts, they can have a strong influence on technical features such as the voting process, the counting process and recounts/re-runs. And the opportunity to support the assertion of these valuable technical tools in Kenya was squandered by the USA. And the extent to which this very awkward & clumsy power-sharing succeeds or fails will decide whether other Africans begin to see the USA/Euro as more of a threat to democracy, peace & progress than otherwise. This may have deep implications for the future of democracy/governance in Africa.
what we have here is a very shaky power-sharing agreement that promises to elevate all the intrigues of government/political in-fighting/manipulations to full national view, of which many incidents will be accompanied by an ethnic slant. Its not clear what the impact of this will be on ethnic sentiments around the country. But it will be a soap-opera like revelation for the Kenyan people who will feel disgusted by much of what they see. But its better that these ethnic contentions are thrashed-out on the government/political stage than on the street. Hopefully the Kenyans will learn enough from the process even if it ends up a dismal failure/fiasco.
Posted by: jony_b_cool | Apr 27, 2008 4:01:41 AM | 135
plenty of material for a case study in hypocrisy comparing the u.s.' principled stand wrt the elections in kenya & zimbabwe
here's a sample of some special quotes on zim's election from jendayi frazer in a press conference she gave on april 24th
The United States called time on Robert Mugabe's 28 years as leader of Zimbabwe on Thursday, saying he had clearly lost an election last month and his opponent should now head a new government.
After talks with officials in neighbouring South Africa, US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer said the people of Zimbabwe had voted for a change on March 29 even though results have still to be announced.
"Normally when you contest for president, you're finished if you lose. That's how democracies work."
Frazer also responded coolly to the idea of a national unity government to end the political deadlock between Mugabe's ruling party and the opposition, saying there was no way the president should stay in office.
"You don't need a government of national unity, you simply have to respect the result of the election," she said.
"There may need to be a political solution, a negotiated solution.... but any government should be led by Morgan Tsvangirai."
While the United States has heavily criticised the delay in releasing the results of the polls, Frazer's comments mark the first time the Bush administration has declared that Tsvangirai was the winner.
one more from jendayi
"We think that in a situation like we have in Zimbabwe, you have to be morally clear and you have to stand on the side of the people themselves, who have demonstrated great courage to come out and express their will"
and a couple from bush's april 29th press conference
..the will of the people needed to be respected in Zimbabwe. And it is clear that they voted for change, as they should have, because the -- Mr. Mugabe has failed the country. It's a country that used to be an exporter of food; it's now got terrible human conditions there.
..it's really incumbent upon the nations in the neighborhood to step up and lead, and recognize that the will of the people must be respected...
no doubt there are plenty more examples for compare & contrast w/ how the kenya's vote for change played out & u.s. "moral clarity"
Posted by: b real | May 1, 2008 12:44:12 AM | 136