WikiLeaks Releases: Nairobi Cable No. 45: The Rumblings of Uhuru Kenyatta

Viewing cable 06NAIROBI4629, TWO MEETINGS WITH UHURU KENYATTA

  • Kibaki governed not as the head of a coalition but as the head of his Democratic Party
  • Kibaki went back on his word on MoU.
  • Uhuru Kenyatta carries the historical baggage of KANU around his neck.

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C O N F I D E N T I A L NAIROBI 004629

SIPDIS
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/27/2026
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM ECON KE CH

SUBJECT: TWO MEETINGS WITH UHURU KENYATTA

Classified By: Political Counselor Larry Andre per 1.4 (b,d)

Uhuru: Kibaki betrayed MoU

¶1. (C) Summary: Gliding over the faults of the previous KANU government, KANU political party leader Uhuru Kenyatta sees a political landscape marred by the destruction of party discipline, with ethnic politics an increasingly attractive and dangerous option for some.  The current opposition squabbling is distracting attention from real issues.  Kenyan politics is about personalities more than anything else. Kenyatta remains committed to an opposition coalition against Kibaki in the 2007 elections.  END SUMMARY.

¶2.  (U)  A/S Frazer, Ambassador and PolCouns dined with Uhuru Kenyatta, head of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) and official opposition chief on the eve of Kenyatta Day, which celebrates his father’s role as Kenya’s first president. Deputy PolCouns and visiting member of the Secretary’s policy planning staff Ted Craig breakfasted with Kenyatta the following day.  This message reports the themes Kenyatta raised at these meetings.  Note: many commentators believe this Kenyatta Day was the last: if a proposed and widely favored constitutional change goes through, the holiday will become “Heroes Day,” commemorating a variety of Kenya’s independence leaders.  End note.

History as KANU sees it
¶3. (C) Kenyatta questioned whether the oft-cited political progress in Kenya since KANU’s departure from power was real.  Political freedom, he insisted, was increasing anyway under KANU.  A coalition voted out “terrible KANU,” he said ironically, but immediately the head of the coalition (Kibaki) began acting as if he had been elected as a stand-alone candidate.  He governed not as the head of a coalition but as the head of his Democratic Party, which represented only one part of Central Province (Kikuyuland). Kibaki once in power decided there was no need to change the “strong Presidency” features of the Constitution he had campaigned against.  Then, seeing that he had lost his Parliamentary majority, he did what even Moi never did, “poaching” members of other parties to be part of his government.  After several years of this, there is no party discipline at all, Kenyatta lamented.  Confusion reigns. People who fought you in the election now support you. People who were elected under the banner of your party are now standing with the government and opposing you.  Kibaki was given a golden opportunity in 2002 to bring Kenyans together and take the country to the next level.  He squandered that opportunity and now we are at a worse state of affairs than we were prior to 2002, especially as regards entrenched ethnic sentiments.

Political Observations

¶4. (C) Kenyatta made the following observations on political topics:

THE MOU AND PERSONALITY POLITICS: Kenyatta said he has seen the famous “MOU” (memorandum of understanding) signed by the coalition of parties that ran against him as NARC in 2002. It demonstrates that Kibaki went back on his word.  (Note: it is widely accepted that the main deal of the MOU is that Kibaki becomes President, with the support of Raila Odinga and others, and in return agrees to amend the Constitution to create a weak presidency and a strong Parliament–with Odinga the obvious candidate for Prime Minister.  End note.) However, Odinga and others could not produce the MOU to shame Kibaki.  That is because politics in Kenya is not about policies, but personalities.  Thus, the MOU is a wide-ranging deal about who-gets-what more than an agreement on a new Constitution, and publishing it would embarrass Odinga and others as much as Kibaki and his inner circle.

KIBAKI’S POLITICAL STRATEGY: The Kibaki administration has clearly accomplished some good things for Kenya, especially on the economic front.  We cannot take that away from them. They have locked themselves into the mindset that re-election is assured by these achievements, ignoring the other side of the ledger.  They have disappointed many.  They were shocked by the referendum loss, never seeing it coming.  That same arrogance will blind them in 2007.

ODM-K COALITION: Coalition politics works in many parliaments in the world.  Odinga is pushing hard for a single “ODM-K” party.  But why should Kenyatta and others abandon parties they have worked hard to build up?  The problem is not coalitions, but rather dishonest politicians who forget their promises once elected.  When Odinga keeps pushing for the dissolution of parties, with no clear reason, the question has to be put to him: what’s your real agenda?  KANU will work with the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K) coalition to oppose the government and win the next election, but will not dissolve.  After all, we did not need to dissolve our parties to win the referendum.

ODM-K’S AMORPHOUS NATURE: What are ODM-K’s ideology, plans, principles, party platform and governing structure?  As of now, we are nothing but a collection of personalities and their ethnic constituencies.  We must move beyond this. Instead of focusing on who will get what post in some future government, we must agree on what we want to achieve for Kenyans.  If the ODM-K leadership can work together in a spirit of give and take, then we will win the next election. If not, then we won’t.  So far, no one wants to fully commit their political organizations to ODM-K unless they are first assured of getting the top seat.  This is a bad sign.

CONSTITUENCY DEVELOPMENT FUNDS–GREAT, BUT…: The bill establishing these funds was actually passed before Kibaki was elected.  It’s a great program–people “who never saw one copper coin” spent by the government in their communities are suddenly seeing real spending on their needs.  However, there is no good oversight mechanism, as MPs are each responsible for funds for their districts.  The legislative function needs to be split from the oversight function.  Due to the collegial relationships among MPs, no one is going to publicly ask “is the honorable member from constituency X abusing his fund?”  Until this problem is solved, the program should not be expanded.

ETHNICITY VS NATIONALISM: Kibaki has governed very much “as a member of a certain ethnic group, shall we say.”  (Note: Kikuyu.  End note.)  The President’s raiding of other parties (for cabinet members) and destruction of party discipline, without any real set of policies to give his governing coalition identity, leaves the country more vulnerable than ever to ethnic politics.  “I get called a traitor every day.” (Note: Kenyatta is an ethnic Kikuyu.  End note.)  We need to campaign on a theme of Kenyan unity, dropping the traditional notion of communities taking turns at the national trough. An enhanced spirit of nationalism and inclusiveness will increase accountability.  Corrupt individuals can no longer hide behind their communities.

ETHNIC INCITEMENT FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES: Some of my ODM-K colleagues openly speak of how their communities have been “slighted by the Kikuyu.”  This is dangerous language.  They should say “slighted by Kibaki.”  After all, the average Kikuyu has received no special benefit from this government, only the cronies around Kibaki have benefited.  No good will come from encouragement of ethnic warfare.  Kibaki with his access to state resources is in a better position to buy off community leaders and play ethnic politics than we are.  It is both politically expedient and morally right for us to avoid ethnic politics.  Tensions are such that sparks from any minor inter-ethnic incident can now ignite an uncontrollable fire.  I am worried.

A NEW CONSTITUTION: Poloff asked if ODM-K would run on the original “Bomas” draft constitution (which was altered by Kibaki’s government before the referendum).  Kenyatta demurred.  Remember, he said, that different groups voted against the (government-backed) draft constitution for many reasons.  What united them was the “no” vote.  ODM-K needs to work through this issue very carefully, rather than engaging in its current squabbling.

WILL RAILA RUN: Raila Odinga is about 62, Kenyatta said, so this is his last real chance, and he will try with every ounce of his strength to become president of Kenya.  He will push right up to the moment when he sees he simply can’t make it.  If that moment comes, as a pragmatist he will look around and say, “let’s cut a deal. “MOI’S FADING

INFLUENCE: While Moi is still very active and vocal, in fact his influence is fading.  This is shown in his inability to call the shots within KANU even on his own home turf in the central Rift Valley.

Other Observations
¶5. (SBU) Kenyatta also offered his views on other topics: REMITTANCES:  Remittances from Kenyans in the UK, U.S., Canada and elsewhere have fueled a construction boom in Kenya.  The financial community is discussing the establishment of financial instruments to entice Kenyans abroad into participating in that sector as well.  Kenyatta supports a constitutional amendment to grant dual citizenship to Kenyans.

CHINA: There is a danger that Kenya’s policy of increasing cooperation with China to balance its dependence on western donors will result in overdependence on China.  The award of an extensive airport upgrade contract to the Chinese will result in a “Chinese quality” airport, to Kenya’s detriment. Kenyatta averred that China’s much appreciated lack of conditions for its assistance will not last.  “Once we are dependent, the conditions will surely come.”  A/S Frazer pointed out the downside of Kenya closely associating with a country that does not share its political ideals.

Comment
¶6. (C) Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s first president, is among the most perceptive and enlightened of Kenya’s politicians, and a representative of the younger generation. However, he is a triple outsider at this point.  He stands in opposition to the government, in opposition to most Kikuyus (who strongly back Kibaki) and in opposition to some of his principle colleagues within the ODM-K coalition.  He also carries the historical baggage of KANU around his neck.  The party is both widely recognized among Kenyans for bringing about independence and for committing many abuses against standards of good governance and human rights.  Kenyatta was in fine form despite his many political woes.  He delivered his views with reason, conviction and charm. We will know in coming months whether or not his plea for inclusive, issues-based politics will win over those among his ODM-K colleagues who are steeped in the traditional politics of manipulating ethnic voting blocs.  END COMMENT.

¶7. (U) Neither Ted Craig nor A/S Frazer cleared this message.

RANNEBERGER

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6 comments

  • Uhuru has only confirmed what many sober Kenyans have said for years – that Kibaki is a tribalist:

    Uhuru told US envoy Kibaki ‘was a tribalist and opposed to change’

    Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta believed President Kibaki was a dishonest, non-reformist and tribal leader, according to whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

  • Mativo mwisyani

    Tired og hearing the name of uhuru It reminds me a brutal mp of Gatundo who have assassinated thousands of Kikuyu youth (mongeki)where is this Ocampo and remove this monster from Kenyan soil & lock him in Hague!

  • Uhuru Kenyatta Damu

    Strategic Intelligence (March 20th, 2011, 1:46 PM)
    This is the most candid discussion on Geopolitics by informed Kenyans. Beyond rhetoric is truth…ICC is a stooge of US and US cronies. CIA contractor Raymond Davis under a “blood money” deal in Pakistani after killing people…..If Kenyans are clever enough and reasonable they should use intelligence to judge the United States and its vast crimes against humanity before jumping on rooftops to cheer on. Ocampo 6 need to be eliminated so that a Raila regime can allow the US to explore oil, bug our military, political, and economic bases. Raila, Nyong’o and some ODM ministers have been going for trips where they meet with American political wheeler-dealers to lobby for the riveting of the Ocampo 6 and NSIS did nothing about it. China has been repairing and supplying the NSIS with technology that threatens US capability to eavesdrop let alone jam our secret service radio system. China has been arming the Kenyan military with hardware that is far much good besides making us very good roads under an international funding plan. Which American company has come building us roads or hospital, let alone stand by Kenya? They only support AIDS programs since they gave us the disease and stopped research on a drug to stop global overpopulation….!!

  • Political commentator

    This for you Uhuru >You must know in democ ra cy President do go to Prison>HomeNewsWorld World

    Ex-Israeli president gets 7 years for rape

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    Email this article to a friend
    •But one judge says jail term of four and a half years would have been enough for Katsav

    TEL AVIV, Tuesday

    Related Stories

    Ex Israel president gets seven years for rape
    Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav was today sentenced to seven years behind bars after being convicted on two counts of rape and other offences in a scandal which has rocked Israel.

    The judges also handed him a two-year suspended sentence and ordered him to pay compensation of 100,000 shekels ($28,000/20,000 euros) to the main victim, known only as “Aleph”, as well as 25,000 shekels ($7,000/5,000 euros) to a second victim.

    “This is a victory for lies!” shouted the 65-year-old as the sentence was read out by presiding Judge George Kara, with his legal team vowing to appeal.

    Mr Katsav was convicted in December of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts and obstruction of justice after an 18-month trial which included harrowing accusations, and portrayed him as a sexual predator who routinely harassed his female staff.

    The court granted Katsav 45 days to set his affairs in order before he begins his sentence on May 8.

    The sentence was hailed by women’s campaigners as a “great achievement” but denounced by Katsav’s legal team as a “day of mourning for Israel.”

    As the sentence was read out Katsav began shouting at the judges, telling them: “You are wrong! It’s a victory for lies!” and “An injustice has been done here.”

    The sentence was set by two of the three judges, with the third, the minority opinion, saying a jail term of four and a half years would have been enough for the former head of state, who repeatedly proclaimed his innocence throughout the trial.

    “The crime of rape harms and desecrates a person’s honour, humiliates them, represses the spirit and damages the soul. The severity of the crime of rape was further reinforced because it was carried out through the exploitation of his position of authority,” Judge Kara said.

    “The defendant committed the crime and like every other person, he must bear the consequences. No man is above the law,” he said, according to an official transcript. “The accused is not a victim but the one who carried out an attack.”

    “Aleph,” the main victim said she was satisfied with the outcome of the trial.

    “Personally I was not looking for vengeance and the severity of the sentence was not important to me. The main thing for me was the verdict, that the court unanimously believed me and gave me justice, even if it was delayed,” she told reporters.

    “I just want to get back to my life, to my family and my anonymity,” she said.

    As Katsav left the court, hundreds of photographers and camera operators besieged the besuited former president.

    “Rapist, go to prison!” screamed one woman as he was bundled into a waiting car, with scuffles breaking out between reporters and his family.

    Tzion Amir, one of Katsav’s lawyers, described the sentence as “day of sadness and mourning for Israeli society” and vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

    “There is no doubt that this is a very significant day for the victims of sexual violence after a four-and-a-half-year struggle,” said Dorit Abramovich, who headed a campaign by 20 women’s groups to charge the former president. (AFP)

  • UHURU KOENYATTA Will mobilize a million Mungiki to Hague Court to disp0lay his P=olitical Might>Kilonzo: Time running out for Ocampo Six

    Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo during the Rotary Club of Nairobi luncheon on March 24, 2011.He warned Kenya must urgently set up a credible local mechanism to handle post election violence cases to have any chance of saving the Ocampo Six from The Hague trials. LIZ MUTHONI

    By PETER LEFTIE, pmutibo@ke.nationmedia.com
    Posted Thursday, March 24 2011 at 15:54

    Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo has warned Kenya must urgently set up a credible local mechanism to handle post election violence cases to have any chance of saving the Ocampo Six from The Hague trials.

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    Mr Kilonzo, at the same time, warned the Ocampo Six against ferrying their supporters to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 7 and 8 to demonstrate their political muscle saying such a move would backfire spectacularly.

    Speaking at the Rotary Club weekly meeting Thursday, Mr Kilonzo lamented that politicians were to blame for the government’s failure to set up a credible local mechanism, forcing the ICC to take over the chaos cases.

    “I wish to reiterate my long held position that the best way to avoid the ICC is to establish as quickly as possible credible institutions as envisaged by the Rome Statutes to handle the suspects,” the minister said.

    He hit out at those accusing the ICC of intruding on Kenya’s internal affairs and warned against any attempts to storm The Hague next month to demonstrate solidarity with the suspects.

    “Whenever I see Kenyans shouting at the ICC, suggesting that it is like a Kenyan court where you can go with your supporters to show your political might, be advised that you are in for a rude shock,” Mr Kilonzo warned.

    He added that while the new Constitution clearly sets out ways of setting up such institutions, political bickering and ignorance of the ICC process by politicians was hampering such efforts.

    Coming at a time when the government is pushing for the deferral of the cases at the UN Security Council while at the same challenging their admissibility at the ICC, Mr Kilonzo’s statement would appear to demonstrate little faith in the efforts to save the six suspects accused of bearing the greatest responsibility for the violence.

    In December, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo named Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, MPs William Ruto and Henry Kosgey, Public Service boss Francis Muthaura, former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and radio presenter Joshua Sang as suspected masterminds of the violence.

    Mr Kilonzo has been a strong critic of the government’s efforts to defer the cases for twelve months but supports the move to challenge the admissibility of the cases at the ICC on grounds that they can be handled through a credible local mechanism.

    Attorney General Amos Wako has already authorised two British lawyers to challenge the cases facing the suspects at the ICC on grounds of jurisdiction and admissibility. However, the ODM wing of the coalition has rejected the move saying its ministers in the cabinet sub committee on the ICC were not consulted.

    He defended his opposition to the shuttle diplomacy to secure the deferral warning that if the request was granted, Kenyan politicians would take advantage and keep on pushing for the postponement of the cases for their own selfish interests.

    He told the Rotarians that to save the Ocampo Six from The Hague trials, the government must put in place to address the plight of the post election violence victims while at the same time demonstrating ability and commitment to prosecute those who bear responsibility for the violence.

    Mr Kilonzo hit out at his cabinet colleagues who have criticised his opposition to government’s efforts to defer the cases, saying some of them lobbied MPs to reject the bill to set up a local tribunal in Parliament.

    “The position that Kenya finds itself in is most unfortunate but also quite unique. It is unique in the sense that we almost singlehandedly handed ourselves over to the ICC,” said the minister.

    “I pity my fellow ministers who even lobbied MPs to reject the bill on a local tribunal but are now saying that Mutula is against us. I forgive them,” he went on.

    The minister, however, differed with Prime Minister Raila Odinga on the suggestion that detectives from the FBI or Scotland Yard be brought in to prosecute the cases if they were to be handled locally. He said it was ironical for one to invite foreign detectives when the country was in the process of reforming the police to make it truly independent and competent.

    “The only way to avoid ICC is to establish a credible mechanism and to avoid inviting foreigners. FBI, Scotland Yard, please stick to your countries. The only foreigners who should come here are those appointed by ICC,” he stated.

  • Mercy Bergström

    15th of March 2011 to the Secretary-General & the International Community of White People(excluding the Russians) on the Security Council.

    Dear Ambassador(s),

    Seems like everyone in Kenya is writing to the U.N Security Council. So why not? This chain letter was originally started by the Orange Democratic Party(ODM) in the hope of bringing relief and happiness to tired Nyanza politicians.The Letter also hopes to divert attention from the fact that 60% of Kenyans support the ICC but 95% think Ocampo’s list is incomplete.

    Unlike most chain letters, this one will not cost you any money or promise good health and success. It is simply a letter to aid you in your global conspiracy to install Raila Odinga as CEO of Kenya next year.So please send a copy of this letter to your fellow european or white ambassadors on the security council and other international friends of ODM [NGO’s] we might have missed who are equally tired and involved in this intricate global conspiracy. (please exclude the Russians – they never cooperate on such issues)Then bundle up all letters and send them to the media with the name that appears at the top of the list, and don’t forget to add your name to the bottom of it.

    When your name comes to the top of the list, you will receive sensational press coverage in one of our local Kenyan newspapers preferably the now ODM-friendly Daily Nation.It will of course be accompanied by a brief cooked up analysis of how our letters sunk our current Vice President and sworn Raila nemesis Hon Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka. Also note that the chain will continue until everyones name gets to the top of the list and we all get free press coverage.

    Have Faith “Dont break the Chain !!!!”.We hope to see you on the front page very soon!

    Regards,

    One very bored Kenyan

    P.S We only wrote this letter when we realized that it was fashionable for any Tom, Dick and Harry in Kenya to pen off a letter to members of the Security Council.

    cc.

    Ambassador: H.E. Susan E. Rice
    Ambassador: H.E. Mr. Alejandro Daniel Wolff
    Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations

    Permanent Representative: H.E. Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert
    Deputy Permanent Representative: Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix
    Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations

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