Chasing The Presidential Dream:
Raila Odinga’s Strategic Alliance
With Political Opportunists
Extract from “Stolen Presidency”
Before the advent of the November 21 Referendum, the unfolding crisis with the writing of a new Constitution after NARC came to power, the dumping of the MoU and the formation of ODM, William Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi who all became “leading lights” in ODM, were all members of the vanquished ruling Party KANU before they resurfaced to join Raila in the anti-Kibaki struggle. Uhuru Kenyatta was the Chairman of KANU Party, William Ruto, the Secretary General, while Musalia Mudavadi was the immediate former Vice President who served under none other than former Dictator Daniel arap Moi, a ruthless dictator who plundered Kenya’s economy for twenty four years.
However, Raila decided to work with these politicians, some of whom had frustrated his efforts towards rising to the Presidency after he accepted to merge his NDP Party with Moi’s KANU. Raila accepted to work with Uhuru Kenyatta who was central in his departure from KANU four months before the December 2002 elections. Despite the unpredictability of these newfound political allies, Raila convinced his supporters that unity with previous enemies was the way out. In fact, there was little alternative because Raila could not mobilize to defeat the Wako Draft of the Constitution using LDP alone. He needed support countrywide. Who were the opportunists Raila decided to work with in the process of chasing Presidential ambitions?
At forty-two, William Ruto was definitely one of the youngest politicians in Kenya whom, like myself, also belongs to the restless “post-Uhuru generation.” Ruto is very promising and it may be too early to judge him on the basis of his brief political history. Despite his profile as a key element in the Kenyan reform movement represented by ODM, Ruto is another political child of former dictator Daniel arap Moi who came into prominence in 1992 as Treasurer of Youth for KANU 92 (YK92), a marauding and gangster-like lobby group that was set up by KANU to drum support for the re-election of Moi at a time when the despot was very
After Moi was installed as President following the 1997 elections, Youth for KANU 92 became irrelevant and Ruto became politically unemployed. It is at this point that the son of Eldoret plunged into electoral politics eventually emerging as the winner of the Eldoret North Parliamentary seat after the 1997 general elections, which was widely believed to have been rigged by Moi who returned to power to serve his last term as President. Ruto had no problem capturing his seat because he had the support of President Moi whom, as President of the Republic, called the shots in the wider Rift Valley Province dominated by members of Moi’s Kalenjin ethnic group.
The real political profile of the real Ruto emerges after his election to Parliament on a KANU ticket both in December 1997 and December 2002. After Raila opted for a political pact with Moi when the son of Odinga failed to become President in the 1997 election, and after Raila fused his National Development Party (NDP) with KANU to form the New KANU, Ruto supported the move because this was not just politically expedient but because Ruto had to support anything Moi said since Moi was the kingmaker in Rift Valley who also introduced the young Ruto into politics. As soon as it became clear that Moi had other ideas that were represented by “Project Uhuru,” Ruto became one of the most ardent opponents of Raila Odinga in his quest for the Presidency because Ruto was dancing to the tunes of Moi and other senior Kalenjin politicians such as Nicholas Biwott. Moi was Ruto’s political Godfather and going against the old man’s wishes could have been anathema at that point in time.
After Raila formed the “Rainbow Alliance” in his struggle for democratic nominations of the New KANU’s Presidential candidate, Ruto was among the first “KANU hardliners” to dismiss the Rainbow Alliance. This was because soon after it was initiated, Ruto emerged as one of the staunchest believers in the Uhuru Project mainly because his political fortunes at that time were tied to being loyal to Moi. Ruto dismissed the Rainbow Alliance that was being headed by Raila and asserted that Uhuru would be nominated by the New KANU as the Party’s Presidential candidate because “there was no other candidate.” By then, Ruto was the “Director of Elections” in the New KANU and Minister of Home Affairs in Moi’s government. Dismissing Raila Odinga’s group, he said, “We are going to Kasarani to endorse Mr Kenyatta and those criss-crossing the country under the umbrella of the Rainbow Alliance are wasting their time. There will be nobody to vote for or against.” (287)
Raila was running for nomination and by asserting that there was “nobody to vote for” at the New KANU nominations except Uhuru, the signal Ruto was sending was that he had adopted the “no nonsense” and authoritarian methods of Moi to ensure that the will of the President, his Godfather, prevailed. As the holder of the powerful position of Director of Elections in the New KANU and by asserting strongly that the issue of Uhuru Kenyatta’s nomination was as good as over when Raila was still in the race and campaigning across the country, Ruto sent a strong message to Raila that he was no longer welcome in the New KANU outfit if he had ambitions of running as President under the New KANU ticket.
Ruto’s profile as a political opportunist was strengthened because when he discovered that Moi was already a spent force after the December 2002 elections, which removed KANU from power, he chose to forget historical factors and agreed to work with Raila Odinga who also needed him as part of the wider ODM strategy for power takeover. Ruto was among KANU sycophants who once created great anxiety to the Kenyan nation by making a public declaration that it was fine for Moi to rule Kenya for the next one hundred years. At a fundraiser for Kaiti Educational Fund in June 2000, Ruto was quoted in The Daily Nation saying that “As far as President Moi’s retirement is concerned, it is up to those who voted for him to decide. Right now, we are still okay with him going on even for another 100 years.”(288)
“Kalenjin Protection Plan”
After Moi’s “Uhuru Project” was defeated, Ruto dumped Moi to join Raila he had opposed during the Uhuru Project crisis. In certain instances, Ruto went overboard in his campaign that Moi rule beyond 2002. At a funds drive in aid of Sugoi Secondary school in April 2001, William Ruto together with former Finance Minister, Chris Okemo, MP Ekwe Ethuro and MP John Marirmoi declared that they would ensure that the clause limiting Presidential term would be repealed to enable Moi rule after the December 2002 election “because it was President Moi’s democratic right to vie for another term in the next general election.”(289) At the same function, Ruto added that he was not afraid of being called a sycophant of Moi and “… wondered why opposition leaders get jittery when they hear that President Moi should continue ruling the country.” It was these kinds of utterances that provides a pointer to Ruto’s brand of opportunism. After he participated actively in opposition to Raila’s Presidential candidacy in the New KANU, Ruto then proceeded to surprise Kenyans by making a public pronouncement to the effect that Kenyans needed to proceed to the December 2002 elections with the old colonial Constitution (290) that many Kenyans believed was undemocratic because it favoured KANU.
The “Ufungamano Initiative,” a church led move that was also trying to get assurances from political parties, prepared a memorandum that was presented to political parties to sign as a commitment to the delivery of a new Constitution by mid 2003. When KANU was approached to sign it, it is Ruto who emerged as the voice of opposition against such a move. According to The Daily Nation, which reported KANU’s opposition, “The memorandum drafted by the faiths-led Ufungamano Initiative seeking to commit political parties to a new Constitution by mid next year ‘is of no consequence,’ Kanu’s Director of elections William Ruto said yesterday.”(291) Ruto, the then Director of KANU Election, had also warned that there would be chaos if Ufungamano group dared visit Bomet District.(292) After KANU lost the election in 2002, it was no longer opportunistic for Ruto to continue opposing the delivery of a new Constitution. The rules of opportunism dictate that political positions could change according to circumstances.
When KANU was eventually defeated and NARC failed to deliver a new Constitution to Kenyans, it is the same Ruto who emerged in ODM to take a strong position on the need to abolish the colonial Constitution he supported when KANU was calling the shots and had the advantage. This abrupt shift of position was the product of pure political opportunism because for Ruto, it became fashionable to support (after 2002) the Bomas Draft of the Constitution as a matter of political survival.
Opportunistic politicians who understood this simple arithmetic such as Ruto abandoned their political parties and crossed over to ODM while those who were blinded by the goodies that came with their top positions in the Kibaki government are the ones who later walked out of the Bomas Constitutional Conference since the new Constitution that was being crafted was not in the interest of the ruling class that was sitting in Kibaki’s government at that point in time.
Even as members of the “Youth for Kalenjin Unity” publicly opposed Ruto’s support for Uhuru Kenyatta and as other members of the Kalenjin community insisted that Uhuru was not fit to be President because nobody knew his background, Ruto surprised his community by saying that he was supporting Uhuru Kenyatta to succeed Moi because the former dictator needed someone to protect him and the Kalenjin after Moi went into retirement.(293)
Leaning heavily on “Kalenjin protection plan” as the basis of political support for Uhuru, Ruto said, “Kalenjins need protection after Moi’s retirement and that is why we have chosen Kenyatta, who will protect us.”(294) It was Reverend Maritim Rirei, the Anglican Priest at the Eldoret Diocese, who later answered Ruto by reminding him that the Kalenjin did not need anybody to protect them and that “most Kalenjins suffered like other Kenyans both economically and socially and that the community should not be hoodwinked to vote for anybody imposed on
However, the voices of reason that was represented by the likes of Reverend Maritim did not get their way because they were nowhere near the power structure where main decisions were being made. Project Uhuru did proceed as planned, Raila jumped out of the New KANU and the former ruling Party lost elections to NARC with Kibaki as President. It was after Kibaki took over the realms of leadership that clues about Ruto’s alleged illegal deals began to surface, deals that might have been concealed by KANU government in some kind of “protection arrangement.”
After NARC came to power, Ruto was arrested together with Mr. Samwel Mwita (a former Commissioner of Lands) and charged with hiving off a portion of Ngong forest and selling it to hurriedly formed companies in a deal that was estimated to have cost Ksh272 million.(296) The former Minister was later charged with Mwita of defrauding the Kenya Pipeline Company (which allegedly bought the land) of Ksh77 million although the thirty-three counts they were facing were reduced to nine. Ruto was charged with receiving Ksh9,916,836 from Ms. Hellen Njue, the Finance Manager of Kenya Pipeline by pretending that they could sell to her 1.75 hectares of land in Ngong Forest in Nairobi on September 6, 2001,(297) when he was still in office. After the land was hived off, it was split into thirty-two plots, which were then allocated to thirty-two different companies, which, in turn, sold the land to Kenya Pipeline Company.(298) Apart from Ruto, Mr. Mwita and Mr. Joshua Kulei, companies that were listed in the case as the accused were Berke Commercial Agencies, Priority, Celtic multi-systems and the Sovereign group. According to a report published in the April 15 2004 edition of The Daily Nation newspaper, police believed that five of the companies that bought the stolen land before selling the plots to Kenya pipeline belonged to Ruto…
From: Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency: Consequences and the Future of Kenya (Pages 163-168)
The Ebook version of ”Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency: Consequences and the future of Kenya” has been launched in the Internet and is now ready for download. The release of the Ebook is part of a campaign to make the book more and readily available to readers across the world especially to the Kenyan audience which is a key target of the book.
In the recent past, there have been attempts by the Kenyan government to intimidate bookshops and other book distribution outlets to prevent them from stocking “controversial books”, a retrogressive tendency which has no place in today’s highly technological world where the Internet has taken over as a dominant media channel that defies control by both individuals and governments alike.
In a CNN broadcast, the Kenyan government was reported to have asserted that Michela Wrong’s book, “Its Our Turn to Eat” together with “other controversial books” will not be allowed to sell in Kenya. This, by any stretch of the imagination, was a callous attempt at overt State censorship, a draconian measure which, many Kenyans believe, belong to the past when both the Moi and Kenyatta dictatorships used to ban books on grounds that they were “seditious”.
The launching of the Raila Ebook should easily beat any attempts at censorship as the political struggle continues in Kenya. As compared to the hard copy, the Ebook is much more practical especially in this age of laptops and other electronic reading devices.
The Ebook comes with a free sample copy which should give the reader an inkling about the full version before purchase. Another advantage of the Ebook is that it comes with several features that facilitate easy navigation. Many Ebooks come in PDF formats and this makes it difficult for the reader to navigate effectively because the only option available is to click on the pages to either move forward or backwards.
In the Stolen Presidency Ebook, this problem has been eliminated because the book is stored in a user friendly environment where the reader has more than 3,500 links to click on during navigation. A reader seeking to check out a reference at the back of the book does not have to go through a series of clicks to get there. You simply click on the reference number on the text and you are immediately brought to the relevant reference page. From there, the reader can navigate back to the page under study and continue reading.
Likewise, the reader will be able to jump between chapters by moving back and forth from the “content” page which is linked in all pages. There is also a search facility to enable the reader find a specific search entry on a page. By checking an entry in the control panel, the reader will be able to re-open the book from the last page navigated. The reader will not, therefore, have to remember or write down the last page navigated since the last reading.
There is no limitation as to the number of computers on which one can read the book and it will be possible to move from computer to computer by storing the Ebook in a storage device such as a USB gadget.
For purchase, the transaction has been simplified as much as possible. As soon as a purchase is made, the reader is re-directed to a download page while an automated email is also sent to the purchaser with log in details.
Once the download is complete, the purchaser can then run the Ebook after which a prompt pops up asking for activation. Using the log-in details sent via email, the purchaser should be able to open the Ebook by entering a user name and pass word to begin reading immediately. You do not have to log in every time on the same computer for another reading session. One log in is enough until you move to another computer or until you log off.
The Ebook has undergone an extensive test run and is expected to function without major technical hitches. The free sample copy comes with a “Tell a friend” button and this is important in helping the message of the Ebook to spread. The free version does not require any log-in and can be sampled immediately after download. The sample contains extra information about events surrounding the book following publication together with information on how to download the full copy. In case of difficulty, there is contact information for technical support. The processing of the Ebook has provided opportunity to settle known issues since the book’s publication.
Mapambano Distributors have exclusive distribution rights of the Ebook which comes at a reasonable price of US$ 17, a huge difference compared to the hard copy (you save US$ 35 from the Hard copy). To purchase the Ebook for immediate download or to download the free sample copy, visit the Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency Download Center.
Mapambano Online wishes all readers interested in the Ebook a smooth download and smooth navigation as the truth about Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency also spreads peacefully across the world and as the launch of the book in Kenya is eagerly awaited.
Osewe, I am pleased to let you know that your book, Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency, grabbed the headlines on the current issue of the Eagle Weekly here in Kenya. It is a fantastic report and gives details about your book in a way that leaves the reader wanting to read the book. The picture of the book, Raila’s picture and your picture were on the front page. The headline said “A Book on Raila’s Stolen Presidency”.
You Kenyans in the Diaspora are doing a good job and keep it up. Our country is failing and may be, you people are our only hope. When we read that one of you has written a book of this kind, we get more hopes for the future. The story is long and it was given a coverage of four pages in the Eagle.
The article gives the impression that The Nation did not tell us anything about the book. The article says that the book has already been launched in Stockholm while some names of people who attended the launch are also published. You should try and get a copy because I cannot reproduce the article here. One thing is that with these kinds of developments, you Kenyans abroad are providing some hope here. The country is finished. It is a very long article, four pages. I am in a cyber café but I thought it is important to let you know. Greet all Kenyans in Stockholm.
Lucas Odhonji in Kenya
In the wake of a biased review of my book, “Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency” by The Nation newspaper, and in relation to enquiries and comments by people who have read the book, it is prudent to highlight what the book says about the paper so that the sloppy review can be put into context. Excerpts below are drawn from Chapter thirteen (The anatomy of the 2007 election rigging) of the book.
Just before and after the Referendum on a new Constitution, which Kibaki lost, Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper was notoriously accused (rightfully or wrongfully) by politicians, research groups and opinion pollsters alike of being pro-Kibaki government and anti-Raila allegedly because the paper was being managed by a clique of Kikuyu barons, the same ethnic group as Kibaki. A poll conducted by the Strategic Public Relations and Research (SPRR) on behalf of UNDP noted “…a general bias in favour of the President in both State-owned and private media.”(313) At the time the SPRR poll was conducted, the result showed that The Nation had given Kibaki “space coverage” that totaled 741, Raila 532 and Kalonzo was trailing with 645.(314)
Top staff who were promoted at The Nation before elections and who were Kikuyus were supposedly entrusted with a special responsibility of helping Kibaki’s election campaign at the propaganda level and at the expense of Raila’s team. For conspiracy theorists, the plan was to have The Nation employ a level of bias in favour of Kibaki. This theory almost gained credibility when an SMS was circulated across Kenya urging ODM supporters to boycott The Nation and to stop the newspaper’s journalists from covering ODM events. Sensing the potential damage the message could inflict on his election campaign, especially through accusations that his Party was trying to muzzle the press, Raila dismissed the SMS, saying, “I would like to state categorically that I have nothing to do with that message.”315
Although The Nation Media Group is a private entity, it is a mainstream daily newspaper in Kenya and, therefore, its line of reportage has the potential to influence political events depending on circumstances on the ground. Because of its high position in the Kenya media rating, and were this the agenda, the paper’s top brass of Kikuyu extraction clearly had the capacity to collaborate with designated members of the Kikuyu ruling class to influence political opinion in Kenya for purposes of materializing a specific pro-Kibaki psychological outcome, especially among the Kikuyu. The phenomena of mainstream media emerging as a major player to influence voting patterns in general elections is rampant across the world. In the United States, the Republicans are known to depend heavily on the Fox News TV channel for propaganda dissemination while in China, the view of the government is known to find echoes in key TV stations, especially those controlled by the State.
In Kenya, the State-controlled Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) exhibited obvious bias in reportage of election campaigns in favour of PNU, a bias that reached a climax during Kibaki’s secret and illegal swearing-in ceremony at State House Nairobi where KBC was the only media house that was invited to cover the event. That was after KBC was given exclusive rights to cover the announcement by Samuel Kivuitu that Kibaki had won elections. Every media outlet, including International Press, were kept out of the announcement room by General Service Unit personnel and regular police after the great deception at the vote tallying room at Kenyatta International Conference Center. Before elections, Kivuitu was himself quoted by the BBC accusing KBC of bias in their reports on election campaigns. According to one media report, “Samuel Kivuitu condemned the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) for not providing equal coverage to all presidential candidates.”(316) Given his role in election rigging, was Kivuitu’s attack on KBC for PR purposes?
This view about KBC bias was further supported by Raila Odinga who had no kind words for the Corporation. He said, “We are demanding equal coverage by this station, which is being funded directly by taxpayers’ money,” he (Odinga) said after holding talks with US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger in Nairobi.(317) In the report, Raila went further and accused Permanent Secretaries and Provincial Administration officials of having been directed to campaign for Kibaki. Using the inclination that The Nation was pro-Kibaki, Kenyan conspiracy theorists literally saw the rigging of election plans as early as 2005 when The Nation and other privately owned media houses controlled by boys from Central Province began elevating members of the Kikuyu ethnic group into top positions apparently in preparation for election rigging. Kikuyus who were already in high slots at The Nation Media Group were retained in the process of the abrupt promotions as non-Kikuyus were allegedly transferred to peripheral positions that could have no impact when it came to the general direction of news during election campaigns. Media houses that were already owned by the Kikuyu were reportedly encouraged to sing pro-Kibaki hymns as members of the Kikuyu ethnic group apparently underwent a choreographed psychological preparation on a mass scale to vote for Kibaki on grounds that power in Kenya should not leave the “House of Mumbi” (the Kikuyu nation). In rural areas populated by Kikuyus (especially in Central Province), this media brainwashing strategy is said to have gone overboard with some news channels using radio stations to openly demonize ODM as a political Party, spread hate messages to scare the electorate and, in particular, demonize Raila Odinga…
…For example, Linus Gitahi, who hails from Nyeri (Kibaki’s home turf ), was appointed the Chief Executive Officer following the retirement of William Kiboro. Mr. Gitahi, whom, at the time of his appointment was also a non-executive director of Kikuyu origin, controlled Equity Bank and had previously been a senior executive with GlaxosmithKline, a pharmaceutical giant.(321) With an interest in Equity Bank, Gitahi was not just another baron at The Nation but a member of the wealthy class of Kenyans whose interest formed part of the economy of the Kenyan nation. The post of Managing Editor of Business Daily, a sister paper launched by The Nation Media Group in early March 2007 and partnered with Wall Street Journal, went to Nick Wachira, another Kikuyu also from Nyeri. If any pro-Kibaki reporting or propaganda spreading was to be executed, these two boys allegedly from Kibaki’s own backyard were said to be the key point men.
In the run up to the 2007 elections, other key positions at The Nation were occupied, almost entirely, by members of the Kikuyu and this, in the minds of conspiracy theorists, further strengthened the view that changes at The Nation’s top leadership that began in January 2005 were not accidental. Other Kikuyus patched on top positions of The Nation Media House included the paper’s Editorial Director, Wangethi Mwangi; Managing Editor of The Daily Metro, Tim Chege; General Manager in charge of Marketing and Circulation, Mike Ngugi; General Manager in charge of Advertising, Julius Maina; Managing Editor, The Sunday Nation, Macharia Gaitho; Managing Editor, The Daily Nation, Bernard Nderitu while Managing Editor of Taifa Leo (sister paper in Swahili) was Wainaina Kiganya. Nderitu, who had been the Managing Editor of The Sunday Nation, had just returned from post-graduate studies in Britain when he was posted to his new position.
Theoretically, if The Nation was to help with sending pro-Kibaki signals to its English readers allegedly through a media master plan, the “Swahili assignment” rested with Kiganya and this made substantial sense, especially to a conspiracy theorist who could have found lots of indigestion trying to decipher why Kikuyus (whom, by the gist of their ethnic origin, were supposed to be aligned to PNU) were literally patched on the “control tower” of The Nation, especially in an election year. The paper’s top brass who were non-Kikuyus such as Joseph Odindo, the group’s Managing Editor, were seen more as flowers meant to colour the Kikuyu-populated garden of The Nation and to give it a semblance of ethnic balance. The non-Kikuyus reportedly had no influence when it came to key decision making, especially on political reporting that could influence opinion in the run up to the elections.
Besides having their fingers on The Nation, the State-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) was also in the hands of children from the House of Mumbi, namely David Waweru, Managing Director and Waithaka Waihenya, Editor in Chief. It is instructive that Waweru hails from Nyeri, Kibaki’s home turf. Together with other boys from Central who were in the control room at The Nation, it is possible that election news could well vibrate positively in the direction of Kibaki and at the expense of ODM as a covert or “invisible” contribution to Kibaki’s President’s campaign.
In a media survey conducted between January and June 2007 by Steadman Group, Kibaki was leading in media coverage among top Presidential candidates. He topped with 33 percent in mentions in newspapers, television and radio. Raila received 22 percent while Kalonzo trailed with 11 percent.322 The Daily Nation (25.08.2007) reported that from a grand total of 2,042 mentions, Kibaki got 1,151 mentions in radio, 747 in print media and 144 in television. In the month of June alone, the same issue of the newspaper reported that Kibaki got 32 percent of total mentions while Raila got 18 percent, a clear indication that there was a media bias that tended to favour Kibaki during election campaigns. Who could have been behind this bias?…
While the theory that the media may have been part of the rigging as early as 2005 sounds credible, it cannot exclusively explain this historic and criminal act that appeared to have had much broader conspirators. The Kikuyu-controlled media may have been a cog in the wheel of election rigging but my view is that Kenyans need to look much further and search for other parts of the puzzle that together can add meaning to an act of cowardice that not only shocked the nation but also plunged the country into deep crisis.
RAILA ODINGA’S STOLEN PRESIDENCY: Consequences and the future of Kenya
KSB Comment: The right wing media is unlikely to be obejective in its review of the book, given that the book also questions the capitalist status quo.
DAILY NATION SATURDAY MARCH 21 2009
By KWAMCHETSI MAKOKHA Posted Friday, March 20 2009 at 20:22
So it is impossible to know who won Kenya’s 2007 presidential election? Not true, according to a new book published in Sweden that could rekindle debate on who exactly deserves to be president of Kenya. In his book, Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency: Consequences and the Future of Kenya, Okoth Osewe claims the Independent Review Commission (IREC) on the 2007 elections shielded the truth from Kenyans by saying it was impossible to know who won.
The book claims the Orange Democratic Movement’s Raila Odinga beat the Party of National Unity’s Mwai Kibaki by 246,987 votes.
Kenyan civil society groups have in the past dismissed IREC’s findings for not going far enough in the search for electoral truth but Osewe’s book is the first bold challenge to the verdict.
“Out of the 210 constituencies,” writes Osewe, “available documentary evidence indicates that ECK did a superb job in at least 161 constituencies in which results announced at the constituency level and certified by agents of political parties tallies (sic) with results announced by ECK (Electoral Commission of Kenya) at KICC (Kenyatta International Conference Centre).”
Although the author, a 44-year-old veterinarian and activist blogger, did not reproduce copies of the results in the 464-page book, he says he tracked down the records at the constituency level to compare them with those used by the ECK at the national tallying centre at the KICC.
“I obtained records of election results at the constituency level, records bearing the altered results (some altered by hand after they were received from the constituency) and records announced by ECK at KICC,” Osewe wrote in an e-mail to the Saturday Nation.
Despite the anomalies in the results records, which IREC readily acknowledged, Osewe says he went over the paperwork and found that the tally for the undisputed 161 constituencies put Mr Odinga in the lead with 3,734,972 against Mr Kibaki’s 2,269,612.
An examination of the election results documents from the 47 constituencies, whose outcomes ODM contested, the book adds, reveals that ECK officials at the national tallying centre wrongfully awarded 471,063 votes to Mr Kibaki.
The tally at the KICC also allegedly denied Mr Odinga 2,772 votes, which officials subsequently added to the PNU candidate’s total. Tallies excluded results from Makadara and Kamukunji constituencies because of irregularities.
Springing from IREC’s analysis of the results from 10 constituencies, which showed that Mr Kibaki received an erroneous 180,750 votes, the author takes the common sense approach. He examines outcomes from the remaining 37 disputed constituencies and concludes that the President received another 290,313 undeserved votes.
Mr Osewe criticises IREC’s decision to investigate the results of 19 constituencies, of which only 10 were disputed instead of investigating all the 47. It found that the documents were missing, unsigned as required by law or had wrong arithmetic.
The ECK announced that Mr Kibaki had won the election by 4,584,721 votes against Mr Odinga’s 4,352,993. The book claims this “blatant theft” was allowed to occur because Mr Odinga had made a tactical error by signing a memorandum of understanding with Kenyan Muslims.
He was thus viewed, according to the book, by Americans as inimical to their interests, hence the haste with which the United States Government sent a message of congratulations to Mr Kibaki before quickly retracting it.
Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency, which has 24 chapters, is as vociferous as it is polemical. It claims that the manipulation of the election results by the ECK officials was the last desperate effort to prevent Mr Odinga, now Prime Minister in the grand coalition Government, from ascending to the presidency.
Entrenched forces opposed to Mr Odinga’s ascendancy to power, claims the book, unsuccessfully tried to turn him into a bogeyman with greed for power, communism and failure to be circumcised.
Secondly, these forces allegedly attempted to create a split in the Orange Democratic Movement party of Kenya, on whose ticket Mr Kalonzo Musyoka contested for the presidency. The book asks whether Mr Musyoka was working for the Kibaki presidential campaign all along as he wrested control of ODM-Kenya from Mr Odinga ahead of the election.
His conduct at election time and after, and the alacrity with which he entered a coalition with President Kibaki are pointed out as telling.
The third scheme to scuttle Mr Odinga’s journey to State House, claims the writer, was by preventing him from being elected a member of Parliament for Lang’ata constituency. For a candidate to be elected president, he or she must be an elected MP.
When all these schemes fell through, claims Osewe, it became necessary to play the last card – use the ECK to manipulate the result.
Mr Odinga and his party have publicly insisted that they won the election but had to accede to power sharing as a way of ensuring peace.
The book is likely to readily face criticism for its lack of rigour. Critics will capitalise on the opacity of the methods the author used to study his subject, and the apparent lack of peer refereeing and editorial review to tear down his work.
The factual and typographical errors in the book, perhaps resulting from a lack of intimate familiarity with the subject, detract severely from the authority of the work.
Matters are not helped much by the fact that the publisher, iVisby AB, does not appear to be well-known, let alone respected for publishing in English. The writer uses political epithets that could easily annoy people who do not share his persuasion.
Osewe’s background as an investigator is not apparent – from the public record and the book.
On Monday, March 9th, Mr. Okoth Osewe gave a presentation of his new book titled: “Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency: Consequences and The Future of Kenya” at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala. The invitation had been extended by the Foundation’s Director, Dr. Henning Melber, who is renowned for his research interest in Africa and is currently at the forefront in analyzing the current China-Africa Relations.
The presentation began at 17:15 after the Foundation treated the participants to tea and coffee. The audience consisted of Europeans, Africans and one North American who all have research interest in Kenya.
Mr. Osewe spent around forty minutes to walk the audience through the various events that led to the bungled 2007 presidential election in Kenya. He gave a summary of why President Mwai Kibaki lost election to Raila Odinga and how elections were rigged to open the way for chaos and mayhem in Kenya.
Thereafter, Dr. Melber requested the participants to field questions and give comments. One German student known as Goerg, who had completed his MA thesis on the issue of the post-election violence that began when the results were delayed, wanted to know whether the ensuing violence had been spontaneous or planned in advance. Of interest to him was the “ethnic angle” of the violence.
Mr. Osewe had to go back into the history of landlessness in Kenya that has affected the Kikuyu in Central province and how the process of land re-distribution after the colonial revolution was hampered by an organized political gang of land grabbers led by the late President Jomo Kenyatta.
Mr. Osewe stressed that Kenya’s land problem was worse than Zimbabwe’s or South Africa’s. Although the Kalenjin had lived side by side with the Kikuyu for many years, he said that the ruling elite pitted them against each other for political gain whenever necessary.
He cited land evictions in the 90s that also affected other tribes because former dictator Daniel arap Moi had instigated them in order to argue that political pluralism would lead to ethnic clashes in Kenya. The post-election violence of 2007 was the worst ever because so many Kikuyu people in the Rift Valley lost virtually all their possessions after being driven out by the Kalenjin.
Georg wanted to know whether Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) had participated in the violence. Mr. Osewe clarified that the violence had various levels: organized violence, spontaneous violence especially in urban areas, retaliatory violence and defensive violence. He said that there was violence that was instigated by the State especially in ODM’s strong-holds and that resulted in extra-judicial executions in the streets, violence that emanated from gangs of ODM supporters responding to election rigging, violence from organized Mungiki gangs mobilized by PNU in retaliatory attacks and violence that erupted out of the need for self defence in various areas after people were attacked by “enemy tribes” and security forces.
Mr. Osewe said that the issue of gangs emerging to engage in political violence in Kenya was not new. He said that what was new was the extent and propensity of the violence. He said that it is fashionable for top politicians in Kenya to maintain gangs of youths routinely used to conduct political thuggery and cited examples of the Jeshi la Mzee that was allegedly maintained by the former dictator Daniel arap Moi, the Taliban that was loyal to ODM and Mungiki terror gang that was seen to have been on the side of PNU after election rigging.
Problem of IDP Return
Another female researcher wanted to know the role of civil society and the media today in raising political awareness in Kenya. Mr. Osewe answered that since there is no official Opposition in the country, these two sectors act as watchdogs in unearthing grand corruption within Government, sensitizing Kenyans on their rights and keeping the government on toes.
He said that the two sectors are trying to fill the vacuum left behind due to lack of an official opposition but added that both the media and the civil society have a serious limitation because they cannot compete for power and present alternative political programs that could change Kenya unless they transformed themselves into political parties.
Because of this limitation, Mr. Osewe said that Opposition movement in Kenya was leaderless while he advanced the view that if election was called in Kenya today, parties sitting in government would end up forming a new coalition to begin a new round of disappointment of the Kenyan people. He called for the setting up of a credible opposition in Kenya that could challenge the government and that could address the question of the Kenyan revolution to change a rotten system that, he said, has not been working for the last 45 years.
Dr. Melber then mentioned the recent gunning down of two top non-governmental organization (NGO) officials in broad daylight as a sad chapter in the country’s history.
A female Canadian researcher, who was recently in Kenya for six months, then described the sad situation of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps and wanted to know Mr. Osewe’s position concerning their plight.
Responding to the question, Mr. Osewe said that the peace deal that was negotiated by Dr. Kofi Annan did not address the thorny issue of land ownership and landlessness in the Rift Valley which has been simmering for decades. He said that IDPs will never return to their homes without grass root solutions that can sustain peace even though majority of them had bought land legitimately in the region.
He said that the peace deal that was signed by Kibaki and Raila was a political document that did not take the dynamics of the situation on the ground into consideration. According to the author, the deal was signed to serve the interest of the Kenyan ruling class that was in a hurry to get their hands on State resources to start looting the economy and not in the interest of IDPs who were anxious to get back to their homes.
According to Mr. Osewe, there could be stage-managed and artificial shows of IDP returns in the Rift Valley played for the media but that these kinds of shows will never erode the fact that the return of IDPs needs a better and well thought out strategy that will address the fears of the IDPs and the real reasons why they were evicted from their lands.
Ms. Rose Adero, a progressive Kenyan resident in Uppsala, said that she had watched a promising segment on a recent episode of “Inside Africa” on CNN showing a group of women called “Mama Amani”, which is Swahili for “Mother Peace”. These are female IDPs who have taken a personal initiative to team up and work on their losses without bothering about their tribes or ethnic background. These are in the Rift Valley (around Rumuruti) and had lost family members and property so they seek to eke out a living on petty trade to survive.
Dr. Melber then ended by saying that Ms. Adero’s narration gave hope and that it had ended the presentation on a good note. People then mingled and some book copies were sold. Many thanks to Dr. Melber for the invitation, and his colleagues, Karin and Karim, who designed the presentation poster. Some Kenyans travelled all the way from Stockholm to participate in the presentation.
They included Mr. Martin Ngatia, Mrs. Ann Okoth, Mr. Odhiambo Opee Junior and Mr. Munala wa Munala (who was the cameraman). A Kenyan gentleman from the Coast who has been based in Uppsala since 1972 was also present and praised the presentation.
Dr. Jared Odero
An explosive book about Kenya’s December 2007 bungled election has been launched in Stockholm. The book, Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency: Consequences and The Future of Kenya written by Mr. Okoth Osewe, a Kenyan author, takes the position that the December 2007 election was rigged by the Samuel Kivuitu-led Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) in favor of Mr. Mwai Kibaki who was immediately sworn in as President in a hurriedly convened secret ceremony at State House Nairobi on Sunday December 30th 2007. The disputed election precipitated a crisis that led to the slaughter of an estimated 1,500 Kenyans and creation of 350,000 internal refugees.
According to the book, the rigging of presidential election in Kenya was masterminded by the corrupt “Kikuyu ruling class” that had formed an impenetrable Mafia cartel around Kibaki and that worked in cahoots with ECK to allegedly steal the vote to hand Kibaki victory.
Detailed backgrounds of a group of “Fat cats who kidnapped Kibaki’s Presidency” are given in the book with top names featuring Dr. Joe Wanjui, a long time Kibaki ally, Kiraitu Murungi, Minister of Energy, John Michuki, Minister of Environment, Chris Murungaru, former Internal Security Minister, Francis Muthaura, Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet and Njenga Karume, former Defence minister. The “fat cats” are painted as corrupt and blamed for having shielded the President soon after the December 2002 election in order to maintain Kikuyu hegemony on power, promote corruption and perpetuate tribalism in government.
EXCERPT FROM STOLEN PRESIDENCY:
“The post-election violence that erupted across the country was a result of election rigging but it was also tied to growing inequalities in the Kenyan society,mass poverty, mass unemployment, lack of opportunities especially for the youth, spiralling inflation, starvation of vast sections of the population,
poor remuneration of workers who live on starvation wages, lack of housing, which has created huge slums in urban areas, social frustrations, lack of clean drinking water, collapse of public infrastructure due to looting of the economy, corruption in high places, and a host of other vices that have ravaged the lives of millions of Kenyans, especially the youth who were defying live bullets fired by police in the streets in the name of change.
The December 2007 election was about the departure of President Mwai Kibaki and the gang of thieves that surrounded the President. Millions of voters who opted for ODM believed that once this economic terror gang was ousted from power, it would be possible to address ways of ending the root causes of the suffering of millions of Kenyans who have to go without food, drinking water and shelter above their heads on a daily basis.
The war between the rich and the poor is grounded on theft of public resources by those in power in the face of collapsing social services across the country and the lavish lifestyles led by the rich using money stolen from the poor taxpayer. Exploitation of Kenyans by local and international capitalists who have acquired every profitable enterprise in Kenya for themselves, corruption within the government by fat cats surrounding the President and the ruthlessness of the so-called “business community” are vices that ODM supporters in the streets expected to be addressed as they voted for the Party”. Stolen Presidency p. 352.
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Kenya’s elections in late December 2007 plunged the country into an immediate crisis of unforeseen dimensions. The unexpected degree of spontaneous as well as planned violence erupting gruesomely killed an estimated 1,500 people, caused large-scale destruction of property and resulted in the displacement of some 350,000 people. It became evident that the hitherto widely perceived relative political stability in Kenya was not the true social reality.
Upon invitation of the government, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary or summary executions undertook a fact-finding mission during February 2009. His preliminary report presented damning evidence of organized killings by members of the Kenyan police forces as endemic to the country’s coercive climate.
Kenya’s protracted search for a political compromise, resulting in a government of national unity, could well be a prelude for a new kind of soft coup attempts by ousted or illegitimate leaders, who instead of vacating office refuse to abandon power and negotiate continued rule. The book, Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency: Consequences And The Future of Kenya, presents a clear view: According to its author, the elections were rigged in favour of the President Mwai Kibaki. His hastily arranged swearing in for a new term was tantamount to theft of office from the contender Raila Odinga.
The author will present his case for further debate on Monday, 9th March 2009, at 17.00 to 19.00 hrs at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Uppsala. Beyond a critical analysis of the events since late 2007, the presentation and discussion will also explore the future perspectives and effects of politics in Kenya. Copies of the book will be available.
Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Övreslottsgatan 2 Uppsala.
Okoth Osewe: “There could be a lot of rhetoric about going back to an election but because in Kenya, politics is business, the MPs are already in business and for this reason, logic dictates that they will try to hold on to the coalition government as long as it takes and steer away from any crisis that may lead to the collapse of the coalition” – Stolen Presidency p.419 (November 2008).
Raila Odinga: “By accident, after a very bitter election in 2007 and similar past ones, we ended up with a government that offers the best opportunity to bring Kenyans together. It is my wish that we hold together until 2012. That will give us time to put in place measures that ensures we don’t witness what was seen in 2007″ – Raila Odinga (February 28th 2009)
Okoth Osewe: “Most likely, the Grand Coalition will deliver a new Constitution to the Kenyan people, possibly before the end of 2009″ – Stolen Presidency p. 420 (November 2008)
Raila Odinga: “A new constitution. That is the biggest reform we must achieve this year. Some people have been fighting for constitutional changes since the 1960s when the adulteration of our independence constitution began” – Raila Odinga (February 28th 2009)