ACTING TOGETHER FOR KENYA: AGREEMENT ON THE PRINCIPLES OF PARTNERSHIP OF THE COALITION GOVERNMENT.
The crisis triggered by the 2007 disputed presidential election has brought to the surface deep-seated and long-standing divisions within Kenyan society. If left unaddressed, these divisions threaten the very existence of Kenya as a unified country. The Kenyan people are now looking to their leaders to ensure that their country will not be lost.
Given the current situation, neither side can realistically govern the country without the other. There must be real power-sharing to move the country forward and begin the healing and reconciliation process.
With this agreement, we are stepping forward together, as political leaders, to overcome the current crisis and to set the country on a new path. As partners in a coalition government, we commit ourselves to work together in good faith as true partners, through constant consultation and willingness to compromise.
This agreement is designed to create an environment conducive to such a partnership and to build mutual trust and confidence. It is not about creating positions that reward individuals. It seeks to enable Kenya's political leaders to look beyond partisan considerations with a view to promoting the greater interests of the nation as a whole. It provides the means to implement a coherent and far-reaching reform agenda, to address the fundamental root causes of recurrent conflict, and to create a better, more secure, more prosperous Kenya for all.
To resolve the political crisis, and in the spirit of coalition and partnership, we have agreed to enact the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008, whose provisions have been agreed upon in their entirety by the parties hereto and a draft copy is appended hereto.
Its key points are:
* There will be a Prime Minister of the Government of Kenya, with authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the Government of Kenya.
* The Prime Minister will be an elected member of the National Assembly and the parliamentary leader of the largest party in the National Assembly, or of a coalition, if the largest party does not command a majority.
* Each member of the coalition shall nominate one person from the National Assembly to be appointed a Deputy Prime Minister.
* The Cabinet will consist of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the two Deputy Prime Ministers and the other Ministers. The removal of any Minister of the coalition will be subject to consultation and concurrence in writing by the leaders.
* The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers can only be removed if the National Assembly passes a motion of no confidence with a majority vote.
* The composition of the coalition government will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance and will reflect their relative parliamentary strength.
* The coalition will be dissolved if the Tenth Parliament is dissolved; or if the parties agree in writing; or if one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition.
* The National Accord and Reconciliation Act shall be entrenched in the Constitution.
Having agreed on the critical issues above, we will now take this process to Parliament. It will be convened at the earliest moment to enact these agreements. This will be in the form of an Act of Parliament and the necessary amendment to the Constitution.
We believe by these steps we can together in the spirit of partnership bring peace and prosperity back to the people of Kenya who so richly deserve it.
President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga Thursday signed a deal that will see them share power through the creation of a Prime Minister position.
The deal, brokered by Africa Union chairman President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Mr Kofi Annan, will see the creation of a grand coalition sharing power according to party strength in Parliament.
The deal provides that the PM will coordinate and supervise Ministers, while Cabinet positions will be shared proportionally according to party strength in Parliament.
The President will have the authority to sack Cabinet members, but only with written agreement from leaders of the respective coalition party.
The Cabinet will comprise the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers.
The coalition will collapse at the end of the current Parliament, or if the parties so agree, or if one partner withdraws.
The signing at Nairobi’s Harambee House was witnessed by diplomats and broadcast live on national television.
President Kibaki and Mr Odinga first signed the agreement, then President Kikwete and Mr Annan appended their signatures as witnesses.
The agreement was the result of a five-hour meeting chaired by President Kikwete involving Mr Annan, President Kibaki and Raila Odinga.
And this is how Kofi Anan explains the deal:
But let us not forget, how it sounded just some days ago:
Still, the coalition depends on the good will of the protagonists. It is a deal between Odinga and Kibaki, but there are many more characters who want their share of the deal. As soon as there is no Kofi Anan in Kenya anymore, the Coalition will become fragile. It all depends how much issues will be dealt with in next weeks before it comes into a standstill.
According to Reuters, Kofi Annan, reporting on progress at this week’s talks, also said it was essential for the parties to form a “broad coalition” to agree on constitutional and electoral reforms going forward.
There has been optimism during the arduous task that Kofi Annan has taken upon himself in ensuring a peaceful transition and one with accord to propel Kenya from the post-election quagmire. This optimism is contagious and is slowly affecting me. However, I still retain that a lot has to be considered and changed within the political environment between those involved and Kenyans in general. This is based on an analysis of the facts surrounding the nature and evolution of political parties in post-independence Kenya.
Political Parties: A History
After independence Kenya came up with a constitution that vested enormous powers in the presidency. This included all executive power and he could appoint and fire ministers, senior administrative officers and heads of parastatal organisations. The president was also the leader of the ruling party and equally wielded enormous powers. As a result presidents were habitually re-elected, a phenomenon we now see in most of Africa of perpetual incumbency.
Post-independence KANU, especially under the rule of Moi, had always opposed a multi-party democracy using every means possible; from constitutional changes to the provincial administration, the registrar of societies, the attorney-general and courts of laws, the police and hired KANU youth wingers. In 1982, the attempts by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and George Anyona to found their own party was dealt with by a Constitution Amendment Act outlawing any legal opposition. Moi used the 1982 Coup attempt to rally loyal ethnic followers especially in the military and the police by purging it of those who would be a threat to him, successfully ethnicising it: a preacher of condemnation of ethnicism but in reality a champion of one. Detentions, deaths of more than 200 people and disappearances, the massacre of more than 3000 Somali Muslims at Wagalla airstrip by the military, all point to this fact.
Other civil society groups and organisations that Moi perceived would turn political were banned, this extending to the budding football clubs of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. He essentially and effectively killed opposition from civil society, leaving one full of fear, one that could not be a base for effective grounding of political parties.
During the 1990 period however, and with reference to May 1990, Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia were the names behind the campaigns opposing single party rule (eventually detained for their efforts) and offered much hope in multi-party political arena. December 1991 however brought Moi’s accession to change and reintroduction of multi-party politics, albeit due to extreme pressure and riots.
Matiba and Rubia’s efforts resulted in the formation of a broad coalition FORD (Forum for the Restoration of Democracy). This barely lasted a year before breaking up into FORD-Kenya headed by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and FORD-Asili by Kenneth Matiba, the latter which brokered a KNC (Kenya National Congress) spin off from it. A Prof. Abdilatif Abdala, advising one of the protagonists, would later say that they were too busy after the lifted sanction, euphorically forming (naming) political parties than laying ground for formation of political ideologies that would give strong foundations to their parties. And so political parties were formed, fragmented, spun off from each other without any guiding political principle.
“Maendeleo” (development(s)) was the catch phrase that the political parties used to woo Kenyan voters. However since lessons from the the then ruling party had taught the populace that ‘maendeleo’ essentially meant a patronage of state resources that would veer into their direction, they swallowed it hook, line and sinker, for want of being among the beneficiaries. It was a reward system that could be understood as an ethnic economic advantage as seen during the Kenyatta’s KANU regime, soon followed by the Moi’s KANU regime. This fragmentation of parties would also mean that the minds of the politicians likewise would veer in that direction each only sure about the potential votes of his community. Their expectations were of course, to be proven unrealistic.
Meanwhile, Moi was having a ball. Having the hindsight of these events, he took advantage of this fragmentation and introduced in July 1992, the 25% rule Bill, which stipulated that a winning candidate at the presidential election garners 25% in at least 5 of the 8 electoral provinces. Moi’s calculation here was that the opposition could be manipulated into disintegration along ethnic lines, making it impossible for it to beat KANU, a fact. This led to a disillusionment of the political class, distanced from objective reality, cutting deals with Moi to stay in power, thus weakening any political parties in the opposition. The ethnicity still stayed strong, and as long as they were trapped in their ethnic cocoons, Moi was happy. NDP had its support among the Luo, DP among the Kikuyu, Ford Kenya among the Luhya, the rest too small to bother him.
1997 general elections would see a realisation by KANU that the situation was not as rosy, that they would have to initiate an attempt at coalition talks with other parties. This change was brought about by James Orengo‘s “Muungano wa Mageuzi” (Coalition for change), an across the ethnic strata group with similar agenda-demystifying the ideas of regional lords, and had extremely high popularity and support from the university student political groups. It was considered a serious threat. KANU sought out Kibaki’s Democratic Party (DP), then later on Odinga’s National Democratic Party (NDP). Mageuzi did raise a lot of hell, captured the public but failed. It lacked the essential ingredient of organising ideology, did not propel a leader effectively, and their goal of overhauling the state by mass revolt insurrection failed. Orengo killed it further by being too quick in shifting to Social Democratic Party (SDP).
President Moi casts his vote in the December 1997 election (c) BBC
Pre-2002 general election saw the emergence of “Breakfast coalition talks” by FORD Kenya (Wamalwa Kijana), DP (Mwai Kibaki) and NPK (Charity Ngilu) as a united front to get rid of Moi. These however were not fruitful because each of the three (with pressure from their constituents) wanted to vie for presidency and neither was ready to give in to another. However,it was enough to ruffle KANU’s feathers. Moi’s anointed successor Uhuru Kenyatta (who would enable him to continue in the post of party chairman) and it was at this point that he saw he was fighting a losing battle when he was heckled and pelted with stones in Nyanza, Nairobi and Western Province in his campaign endeavors for Uhuru. Finally the coalition of opposition around NARC with Mwai Kibaki as opposition candidate won the day, with an eventually small opposition in Kanu.
Moi and Uhuru Kenyatta by Gado
NARC evolved structures that would help organise her campaign. It set up what become known as the Summit which exemplified the emerging coalition of social groups in Kenya for national unity.
It also came up with a memorandum of understanding binding the winner to practice politics of inclusion and consultation with the other senior members of the coalition. The two NAK and Rainbow coalition partners were to share positions at a ratio of 50-50.
According to a Friedrich-Ebert Publication: To the entire nation, it was apparent that while Mwai Kibaki would be president, Raila Odinga would emerge Prime Minister following a speeded up constitution drafting process. Had the promises been honoured , it would have meant the diffusion of power among various actors and by inference the regions. However, once elections were over, and this faction had gained power, the motivation to honour their pledges dissipated. Facilitating this was the fact that the so-called Memorandum of Understanding which was negotiated outside existing state structures and was based on a mere trust, something rare among a begrudged elite faction used to politics of exclusivism. Before long the Ethnic group becomes veritable competitor to the State in its attempts to command loyalty. Unfortunately, this accentuates divisions among different ethnic groups. To cut across ethnic divide, elite merely seek to organize alliances which seek to facilitate the capture of power and in the process, access to State resources. With NARC dead, an effort towards putting into place a new coalition of parties was in the offing in the name of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
Understanding the nature of current political parties: The case of ODM
According to Mukoma wa Ngugi, asking some of the people commentating on Kenya about the differences within ODM, whether it’s a coalition or a party with a single vision, who are the main players, and the implications for peace, will yield shallow answers. Its indescribable according to an ideology, nothing compared to the clear cut differences as exist in the case say of US internal politics in the Democratic Party’s Hillary and Osama. He continues to ask “How can we agitate for peace when we do not understand the nature of the parties involved?”
There are three competing elements within ODM: the activist-intellectual left(Prof. AnyangAnyang’ Nyong’o and Salim Lone), the Moi-ist retrogressives (William Ruto), and the populists (Raila Odinga). The Moi-ist retrogressives have cost ODM a lot of political mileage. They are seen as having been responsible for ethnic violence that in 1992 and 1997 left hundreds dead and thousands displaced in the Rift Valley. The recent Eldoret church burning and cleansing took place in Ruto’s constituency. William Ruto is leading the ODM delegation in the Kofi Annan mediated talks. Raila has a solid Luo support base and youth appeal across ethnicity. Had ODM not run a campaign along ethnic fault lines, his support amongst the poor would have been solidified. Raila has all the contradictions that come with populism. Populists prefer loud rallies and protests. They want to draw violence from the state because the consequent anger unites the people and earns then international political mileage. Populists also like to “shock and awe” but end up sending mixed calls.
Mukoma further notes that a closer analysis of the two political parties finds that they are mirror image of each other. They both represent the elite of their different ethnicities, and they manipulate ethnicity to hide their bankruptcy. The prevailing ideology is ethnocracy.
He says that at the very least both the government and the opposition need to let their respective Moi-ist retrogressives go. When both sides are not swayed by the extremists, a return to the center where sanity prevails will be possible, and a political solution within grasp.
The lessons to be drawn from the Kenyan experience are several and include the observation that political parties in East Africa are generally fragile, lack a national outlook, are not driven by clearly differing ideologies in the context of the same State, and woefully lack a viable resource base. Kenya needs a fresh start in conceiving, feeding and maturing political parties that differentiated from each other in terms of ideology, a critical fact that would take them away from the current ethno-based party quagmire they are entrenched into. We need political parties not ethno-representatives.
ODM denies involvement in the violence
ODM officials object the Human Rights Watch report about the involvement of local ODM leaders in the Rift valley violence.
“ODM leadership Friday trashed the report and said that nothing could be further from the truth.
ODM leader Raila Odinga said all communities in the area were equally affected. “That evidence is only from one person. What happened was not premeditated but spontaneous as people reacted to the injustices they suffered after the elections. In addition, the violence could not have been planned because all the communities in the Rift Valley have suffered,” said Mr Odinga.
Separately, the party’s secretary-general, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, told a Press conference that it would be surprising if any human rights violations would be linked to the party. He also challenged the authors of the report to investigate violence in other areas such as the Nairobi slums and western Kenya and give their verdict.” (Nation)
We agree that there should be independent investigations about the violence in other parts of the country, but what ever will be found out there, it will not change nor justify what happened in the Rift Valley Region.
Kenyan Army is operating in Nakuru
According to the Eastern Standard, “thirty-Two people were killed in fresh flare-up in Nakuru and Molo. And Rift Valley’s capital was put on 7pm-6am curfew. Military officers in fatigues, and armed to the teeth, were brought out of the barracks to enforce law and order. Another 5,000 people were displaced in Nakuru and adjoining areas. In Nakuru town alone, 12 people were hacked to death or shot with bows and arrows in the Thursday night terror. This followed a serious fighting in Githima and Kwa Rhonda estates next to the sprawling Kaptembwo slums. Of the 20 killed in Molo, 18 were shot with poisoned arrows.
Nakuru DC Mr Andrew Wanyagah led a security team backed by military personnel from Lanet barracks, as he toured Kaptembwa slums calling for peace.
“This problem has been fuelled by rumours circulating among local communities. We have received reports that members of the Mungiki gang and armed militiamen have been transported to the town to cause mayhem,” he said.
Following the violence, angry youths barricaded all roads leading in and out of Nakuru town for the better part of the day as police made frantic efforts to clear the highway.”
Nakuru residents made up most of the new arrivals at the town’s showground camp set up for people fleeing post-election violence in neighbouring districts, according to a local aid official. The camp holds 5,900 people, according to coordinator Jesse Njoroge who said most of the 696 new arrivals were from Nakuru itself. (Kenvironnews)
The use of military forces is a new development. It might be influenced by the presence of the international mediators. With the international Community watching, the government has to show that it can provide security
Koffi Annan termed the violence “gross and systematic human rights abuses” on a visit to western Kenya, where scores more people were killed in the flashpoint Rift Valley province.
No consequences for Colin Bruce from the World Bank
Following up on one of our previous articles, it seems that the World Bank still trust in Colin Bruce as their local representative. He still is in power and can influence the World Bank’s policy towards the Kenyan government. Colin Bruce, a tenant of Kibaki, sent a memo to the World Bank, suggesting that his Landlord had won a “fair” election.
Considering how much Paul Wolfowitz had to do to get kicked out, it is no surprise.
With the African Cup of Nations football fever, we cannot fail to have our eyes on the Kenyan football scene. East African Standard reports that suspended Kenya Football Referees Association (KFRA) chairman Wycliff Ogutu says he will appeal against the action.
Ogutu was among three officials suspended by Fifa’s ethics committee for five years after being found guilty of engaging in corrupt activities.
Human Rights watch accuses local ODM leaders in the Rift valley region of organising atrocities
“Human Rights Watch investigations indicate that, after Kenya’s disputed elections, opposition party officials and local elders planned and organized ethnic-based violence in the Rift Valley, Human Rights Watch said today. (Read and comment here)
We are waiting for an official statement from ODM. They have to take actions now.
Number of reported rapes have doubled
Violence against women seems to explode. According to reuters , reported cases of rape and sexual attacks against women have doubled in areas of Kenya hit by political violence amid a climate of impunity for gangs carrying them out, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday. In an interview with Reuters, Kathleen Cravero, director of the world body’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, called for aid programs in the East African nation to make sure that vulnerable women and girls were protected from attack. “In Nairobi hospital and in the medical centers and hospitals around the areas of greatest violence, the number of rapes and sexual attacks being reported by women and being handled by medical personnel has doubled,” Cravero said. “What that tells us is that we have a very serious problem indeed because only a small percentage of rapes and sexual attacks are ever reported in Kenya or in many other countries.”Cravero stopped short of directly accusing the Kenyan government of ignoring the problem but said the political violence had led to “an environment that is tolerating very high levels of rape and sexual attack against women”. She said she was sure there was targeting of women for political or ethnic reasons although there was no evidence that either side was particularly responsible. But much of the sexual violence was opportunistic, she said.”Gangs find a woman who’s searching for firewood, gangs find a couple of young girls that are fetching water,” Cravero said. “There’s nothing to stop them, there’s a climate of impunity, they’re sure there will be no consequences, so it happens, and this is what we have to stop.”
We ask for support for setting up Rape crisis centers. For those wishing to contribute to the appeal for rape crisis centres, the bank details are available from email@example.com
The film-maker and member of the Coalition of Concerned Kenyan Writers Simiyu Barasa brings the discussion about the role of local and international media forward with the powerful essay “War journalism: Kenya’s newest tourist attraction” published on the kwani blog.
Barasa picks up the concept of “peace journalism” by the Norwegian Scholar John Galtun and showed how the local media tried to use their influence to promote peace and failed due to an international “war journalism”. He gives examples how cameras create stories and media attention is only drawn by violence. This is done by the very same media cooperation which thought it was their responsibility not to show any cruel pictures after 9/11 and during the Iraq war.
Charity event in Boston
People on the other side of the ocean will have the chance to raise money at a benefit concert in “The Roxy” in Boston, Ma on Feb. 2nd. Numerous Kenyan artist will preform. The money will go to the Kenyan Red Cross. It is organized by “Vuma Kenya”. For more information look up the Joseph Karoki blog.
Because the words “tribe” and “tribal” have had a great recurrence of no less than once in each media reporting about Kenya, Pambazuka Editors try to give a very detailed and lengthy definition that fits. What’s in a word? What does the word “tribe” carry? Here below Pambazuka Editors give you a few snippets of what is a long struggle to get US Mainstream media to stop using a racist and stereotypical lens in its coverage of Africa. One can find the fascinating discussion at www.h-net.org/~africa. They end with an excerpt from an Africa Action essay on the word.
A way forward?
Do we see a way forward in the Kenya’s stale-mate? Nation Media reports the news that the rivals Kibaki and Odinga are actually slated to meet together today at Harambee House.
President Kibaki and the Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga have both arrived at Nairobi’s Harambee House for the first face-to-face talks over the political crisis out of disputed election results. No agenda has been given for the talks brokered by a team of international mediators led by former UN chief Kofi Annan. Mr Odinga was accompanied by one of his party’s top officials, Mr William Ruto. President Kibaki arrived with five members of his Cabinet, including Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Ministers George Saitoti (Security), Martha Karua (Justice), Samuel Poghisio (Information) and Ali Mwakwere (Transport).
We eagerly await results of the talks, and cross our fingers for an end to the violence.
The second part of our article Eyes on the International Community concerning elections in Africa about Ethiopia is out now. The next part will be about the election in in the Democratic Republic of Congo and and will be published in the following days.
While Annan, Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel arrive in Nairobi, the killing continues. 7 people died in Nandi, Rift Valley region. At least this time it seems that none of the mediators got insulted by Mr Mutua.We appreciate the presents of Mrs Graca Machel. Finally the UN resolution 1325 on women, peace and security is being taken seriously.
We do not appreciate the Presence of Ugandan President Museveni. Not only that rumours about Ugandan military operating on in Kenya are so hard to kill, that the Uganda army now mad newspaper advertisements in Kenya to say they are not in the country (We still have not found any proof that they have been in the country, but the advertisement almost leads to the question: What do they have to hide?). Looking on the number of Ugandan opposition leaders in exile, his presence during the mediation does not seem to be positively influential. We will take a closer look at how Museveni won his last election in Part 4 of the analysis: “Eyes on the International Community concerning elections in Africa.”
Good news is that both sides said they want the International Criminal Court to investigate the killings. Hopefully actions will follow words.
The Orange Democratic Movement has announced it will file a case against the Government at the International Criminal Court (ICC). In their case, the party announced that they had named President Kibaki and his Cabinet, Roads minister John Michuki, Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, AP commandant Kinuthia Mbugua and his GSU commandant Mathew Iteere as the people they want investigated and tried. Prof Nyong’o said about 3,000 guns and uniforms had disappeared from the GSU camp in Nairobi and were being used by gangs masquerading as police officers, but could not give any evidence.
African women thought she saw a change in the police tactic in the area between Kibera and Ligi Ndogo grounds where ODM prayers were held. It looked like the police forces would manage to keep it peaceful. Unfortunately her hopes were too optimistic
the mourning and grief at the funerals did not.
John Barbieri from the US Coalition for Peace with Truth and Justice in Kenya published the interesting article “The poverty of international journalism” in which he analyses the role of the US state department in East Africa and also criticises the role of international media. He quotes from Rebecca Wanjiku’s blog:
“...the mainstream U.S. media appears to send the following double message: we are not interested in Africans or African politics, that is unless there is a full out Rwanda-like bloodbath (with pictures of gruesome machete attacks and all, of course) so we can stereotype all Africans as the savages we think they are.”
The well read blog from Joseph Karoki raises the question whether ODM could have done more to prevent the ethnic clashes especially in Rift valley and states that Raila could have done more. He posted a BBC interview of Raila Odinga, in which he denies that ODM could have done more. We also recommend Wandia Njoya’s post "Maybe Kibaki and Raila Are Powerless To Stop the Senseless Slaughter (But Reconciling Them Is Still Worth A Try)" in which she compares the situation in Rwanda with Kenya, coming to the conclusion that “maybe we would have avoided this tragedy if Kenyans had not deluded themselves that we are not like other African countries.” We do not necessarily agree with all her points, since there are many differences between the history of African nations, but read it for yourself.
Kenyan novelist and play writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o published a comment today from the diaspora in the United States via BBC news. He compares the incident of the Eldoret church massacre with the massacres in Bosnia, Iraq and Rwanda. He then says that the “ethnic cleansing” must be separated from the accusations of a rigged election. To him it seems like a “co-ordinated program with similar acts occurring in several other places at about the same time against ordinary members of the same community.” He also says that Ethnic cleansing does not happen spontaneously, that it is almost always premeditated by members of the political elite, who usually do not have to suffer the consequences of their actions. He proposed an inquiry by the United Nations as necessary, that if political organizations have a “campaign on a program that consciously seeks to isolate another community as a community, then they ought to be held fully accountable for the consequences of their ideology and actions.” He continues to say that this should not only be the case if such is instigated by the government, but also if “such a massacre is inspired by a program of an opposition movement… “ He then says that they must be condemned “even when they (the campaigns) are clothed in progressive, democratic-sounding words and phrases.” In conclusion he urges “all progressive forces not to be so engrossed with the political wrongs of election tampering that they forget the crimes of hate and ethnic cleansing.”
Ngugi wa Thiong’o
We would like to add some remarks to Ngugi wa Thiong’o's comment. We can not say that we could have foreseen what happened in post-election Kenya, not even after reading Ngugi’s novel “Wizard of the Crow”, “…where the ruling party and the opposition parities engaged in Western-sponsored democracy become mirror images of one another in their absurdity and indifference to the poor.”, as he writes. No doubt, it is a great novel with fitting reflections on Kenya’s and Africa’s political situation. But the book does not lift Ngugi wa Thiong’o to the position of the prophetess Cassandra as he implies. Despite the inadequateness of the Kenyan political Parties, one should take into account that ODM obtained so much support, because it was more likely to deliver the promised constitution. Of course, from the lookout of a prophetess, that might be very little, not bringing uhuru, not breaking the claw of the World Bank. But, decentralizing and sharing power, having control bodies against corruption, and elevation of human rights would have made a difference especially for the poor. Or in Binyavanga Wainaina‘s words: “A Constitution that names and recognizes the tribal nations within our nation, that decentralizes some power and that includes us all in the process is possible.”
An 11-year-old survivor stands amid the burnt out ruins of the Kenya Assemblies of God Pentacostal church, where at least 18 people were burnt alive ,near Eldoret in western Kenya (from josephkaroki)
When Kenya gained independence, it was with a multi-party constitution under the „Majimbo“ (federal) system. It slowly evolved into a one party sytem by 1969 under the leadership of the flamboyant orator Mr. Jomo Kenyatta. These oratorical skills were of importance back then in the denouncing of the colonial ills, and these he wielded with shrewdness that has never been challenged in the region. The aspect of majimbos fell apart when he made Kenya a republic looking out for prosperity of all Kenyan people after 1963 elections which KANU won. The then existing opposition KADU and APP were drawn into the fold reducing Kenya to a one party system meaning that there were no checks on the powers of the executive that a multi-party system does. This led to a centralisation of all political and economic power around him.
Jomo Kenyatta (middle) and Daniel Arap Moi (second from the left) before Independence
His ideology of a government of political unity survived unscathed 1966. The Limuru Conference in 1966 was the turning point in the blind following of the ideology when it was questioned by Mr. Oginga Odinga and the newly formed Kenya People’s Union (KPU) . Odinga’s ideology was dismissed by the government with chants of Uhuru na Kazi (independence and work) as the lazy Socialist (Marxist). October 1969, during the opening of a hospital in Nyanza, Kenyatta was booed and heckled (a serious shock to him). The presidential escort fired live ammunition into the crowd (what is known today as the Kisumu massacre) killing 11 people. This ideological conflict between Kenyatta and Odinga and the aftermath was quickly transposed into a ethnic rift. This rift was widened and solidified by the assassination of Tom Mboya who was a political hero amongst the Luos and also supported in poor Kikuyu areas, allegedly by the government which was then considered a Kikuyu turf.
Tom Mboya in London for the Lancaster House Conference on the Kenya Constitution, January 1960. © Corbis.
Coming back from a quite depressive Protest of the Kenyan Diaspora in Berlin, I was eager to hear news from Kenya, first of all, news from the people I know. And I was relieved to hear that it was not so violent today.
A friend of mine, who was afraid of leaving her flat, living as a Kikuyu in a rather tensed neighbourhood, send me a sms that things were OK today. The last time we talked she was telling me that she had not left her house for days and was living only on ugali, since there was no food and she thought it was dangerous to go out. She said that she thought that her neighbours would do anything to her. After a small pause she continued: “I guess that people in Rwanda thought the same...” “But Kenya is not Rwanda!” a insistently replied. And I hope it will never be. It was good to hear from her today.
Kenyan Jurist wrote today:
“What is clear is that the full story of all the atrocities out there is not being reported. The situation in Kisumu, Kakamega, Kisii and Eldoret is bleak and it will take many years to repair the damage to the communities affected.”
From the little news I got from Nyanza Province I have to agree. I hope that those atrocities will not be forgotten and maybe a Truth and Reconciliation could be done. Honourable Bishop Desmond Tutu, who already did so much for Kenya could help here. But in order to get there a government is needed that has nothing to hide.
Mental Acrobatic blogged two stories of grass root initiatives that Kenyans are taking to building bridges of healing. My great hope is that the Kenyan civil society will be stronger in the aftermath of this crisis.
From a reliable source I heard that a high figure in the US Diplomatic staff said some weeks before the election: “Do you believe the United States would acknowledge a President, who named his son Fidel Castro Odinga?” I ask myself, "what will this guy think when he comes home, having a President called Barack Hussein Obama? " What is it with Luos and first names? By the way, Obam means “not straight”, but don't tell Hillary, she will use it against him.
Speaking of Obama, I just remember one of my favourite Gado Cartoons with Barak giving a talk show interview. The host asks him to tell her something about his roots. He replies: “My father was born in a little African village called Kenya.” At least some more people know this little village now.
Speaking of Gado, here is how he saw Kibaki's world record in taking Kenya's presidential crown.
Since I know that I will get replies for putting this on my blog, calling me not objective and Pro Raila, let me tell you, this is from the Daily Nation.
Next posts will be more serious again!
The United States interest in Kenya is vital. Viewed up to now as the most stable East African Country, and having „trouble“ neighbouring countries like Sudan and Somalia, good relations are crucial. Like the the United Kingdom, the US has bilateral Agreements with Kenya and also Military Bases within the country.
It is no surprise that the Bush Administration favoured Kibaki. While Kibaki is considered conservative, Odinga seems to be almost a socialist from the US point of view. A closer look at Odinga’s agenda shows that he has little interest in interfering with the free market. But words like “more social justice” are enough to ring alarm bells in Washington.
The State Department’s early Congratulation to Kibaki’s victory and the almost humiliating withdrawal of the statement and denial of having said that seemed at the first like a big misunderstanding. But that is hard to believe: The United States sent their own election observers and were therefore informed at an early stage about the irregularities of the election. The German Prof. Rolf Hofmeier, Director of the Institut für Afrika-Kunde, interprets the withdrawal as an acknowledgement of the mistakes made in Ethiopia in 2005. After the US accepted the obversely unfree, unfair and undemocratic election, riots broke out all over the country, leading to many deaths, the arrest of journalists and government critics.
The US’ stakes in East Africa are high. If the situation is not solved soon, the people’s demand for free and fair election could spread to the neighbouring countries and lead to a sudden lost of influence. Ethiopia’s President Woldegiorgis, who is fighting “the war on terror” in Somalia, as well as, Uganda’s President Museveni, a member of the “coalition of the willing”, are not eager to introduce models democratic models of power sharing in their countries. How quick the Kenyan conflict can spread can be seen in the
reports of military intervention of Ugandan militia forces in Kenyan Nyanza Region. It should be in the interest of the United States not to hold on to Kibaki, before they lose their influence in the whole region.