Raila Odinga Book Presentation In Uppsala 09/03

Mr. Okoth Osewe: The author

Mr. Okoth Osewe: The author

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.

8 comments

  • A nice poster from the Foundation. See you there.

    Click to access Book%20launch.pdf

  • Keep it up Osewe. I think the next book should be comical. You have a great sense of humour!

    KSB: Thanks Robbi. We need to get the message out because our country is burning.

  • Osewe, I live in Germany and I have just finished reading your book. I think Kenya needs more people like you. Now, I have no further questions about election rigging in Kenya although I am very disturbed because the problem in Kenya appears bigger than I had imagined. I will be buying a copy every month and sending it to people i know in Kenya until you launch it there. this is the smallest contribution I can make. Thanks and may God bless you.

    KSB: Peter: Thanks for your compliment and promotional offer. People like me are there. What we lack is networking and greater coordination. I am glad that the basic message is getting across quietly. The liberation of our country will have to go hand in hand with political education and the book project is part of contribution to the struggle.

  • Hi Osewe!
    I just wanted to thank you for coming to Uppsala and presenting your book as well as discussing with us. I had one final question – but then time was running out.

    In how far do you think does Kenya need political Left Party? (I think that Kenya needs two things that can come with a red/green-party: 1. more equality meaning more income for the lower classes, 2. a political divide that can (maybe one day) bridge the ethical one.

    Happy to hear your thoughts!

    🙂 Georg (the guy who wrote his M.A. on the violence in 2007)

    KSB: Thanks George. I bet you are the guy who sat at the back benches. Kenya needs all sorts of political parties from the left to the right because people are always of different poitical views. The country needs, left, right, green, center, center-left, center-right or even Alliances. The key issue is that ideological parties will put an end to ethnic politics and give Kenyans an opportunity to chose between ideas and not individuals serving their selfish interests in power. Thanks for coming to the presentation and welcome for further debate and discussions. I would like to have a look at your work. Keep in touch via blog or mail.

  • As usual Osewe, you fascinated the audience yesterday with your chronological presentation of the aspects that ail Kenyan politics in general, and what led to the bungled 2007 presidential election in particular. The audience that mostly comprised Westerners, was equally good in fielding relevant questions. This really raised the book’s standard a notch higher.

    KSB: Thanks. That is the way to go. We have to explain the politics of our country because the crisis needs to be understood before a solution can be found. Thanks for attending the presentation.

  • The simple fact is that the majority of Kenyans do not really understand nor fathom what politics in the country entail. That is why there’s a lot of surprise, disbelief, dismay and shock over current events regarding the creation of political partnerships, be it at an individual or party level. Kenya is a country where people are demarcated by class, anyone even the blind can discern and understand this very clearly, a class society where capitalism reigns unfettered.

    With this in mind, the society can then be likened to a triangle with the politically and economically powerful at the top as a ruling minority and the so called “mwanainchi” at the base in the ruled majority. Any sane and logically thinking person would then pose the question, “How does this ruling minority stay at the top?”. The answer is found in the political alliances formed and being formed today. These alliances have nothing to do with what is best for Kenya and its people, but has everything to do with control of the “mwanainchi” electorate and Kenya’s resources to keep the triangle in place at all costs. To this end everything goes; Inheritance of political and economic power, the use of tribal hatred, the use of security forces to intimidate, assassination, torture, trumped up charges, a controlled and manipulative judiciary that is not independent of the executive, fake election process, control of any and all trade unions, control of the right to organize, assembly and of association, a educational system geared to conformity and not independent thought or development of the individual. The list is endless. This ruling class minority has to maintain the status quo at all costs using a system that is dependent on the existence of masters and slaves, masters being at the top of this triangle and the slaves being naturally at the bottom.

    The slave is often conjured up by most people as a person working in the field with the overseer or master standing over them with a whip, the master of course being Caucasian in race. This is the slave of a bygone and almost forgotten era. A slave in contemporary Kenya is academically, politically illiterate and or socially isolated, paid minimum wage or less, prone to reason within localized terms defined often by ethnic myths and fears and just like the slaves of old is not in control of his or her destiny.

    The political system in Kenya is fine tuned to churn out this kind of citizen and maintain them in this state till death. What this implies is that any significant change must take form as class conscious revolution, anything else is just a waste of time and self defeating.

    KSB: Very good analysis of the situation in our country. We need these kinds of minds to free Kenya, minds that have been liberated from ethnic politics and which understands the role the system is playing in the situation.

  • Kipkemoi arap Kirui

    Okoth Osewe,

    Thanks for the sacrifice. I have not seen the work though I see comments about it in blogs. I would love to get a copy for myself and family. I wish to thank you for recording the unfortunate history for posterity.

    Kipkemoi arap Kirui.

    KSB: Thanks Kipkemoi. Your bravery and principled position against election rigging is well recognized in the book. Kenya needs patriots like you. without sacrifice, our country will never be free. I wish you good reading.

  • Okoth Osewe

    I have just finished reading your book (a friend sent it to me from Sweden). It is a great read, very informative (and entertaining). Although some parts of it seem more like speculation, but the thesis of the book is clearly evident and proved in the book. Best wishes, bro. Karibu Canada, we’ll be glad to host you here.

    KSB: Thanks. We keep in touch. I hope to defend the book at your forums.

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