Was Professor George Saitoti Assassinated?

Assassination theories have filled the air on Professor George Saitoti’s death

Despite the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the helicopter crash in which former Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti and his Assistant Orwa Ojode perished, the perception that the crash was a well-organized political assassination has persisted. In the Kenyan Parliament, MPs have openly alleged that the Kibaki government is trying to cover up the alleged assassinations by frustrating the new Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the tragic accident which happened on June 10th 2012.

Charges have even been tossed to the effect that families of the departed MPs have deliberately been kept out of the investigations as part of a grand cover-up. Chris Briers and Tim Carter, two Eurocopter specialists who had been flown in by Saitoti’s family to represent them in the investigations, had to return to South Africa because of multiple frustrations.

The demand by the bereaved families that the wreckage be stored in a 4 foot container until they can be stripped, had also not been acted on by the government which had failed to avail Ksh 70.000 for the purchase of the container. In fact, Mr. Fred Ngatia, the lawyer representing Saitoti’s family in the investigations, had to intervene to prevent the engine from being transported to France for stripping while Ngatia also complained of lack of contact between the government and Saitoti’s family.

More seriously, accusations were also made by MPs that foreign experts from France who arrived in the country to help with investigations, have been so much frustrated by the government that they have had to return to their bases abroad.

Is there any real or circumstantial evidence which could point to a political assassination especially of Professor George Saitoti, a former Presidential candidate in the coming elections?

Just before the accident occurred at Ngong forest, there is evidence that Saitoti’s bodyguard, who was on board, had called the Internal Security Minister’s driver to inform him that he ought not to drive away from Wilson airport from where the helicopter had taken off because the ill-fated helicopter was on its way back to Wilson airport.

What this means is that the occupants of the helicopter knew in advance that the helicopter was experiencing mechanical problems and this knowledge could have prompted the bodyguard to make that lone last minute call for the driver to wait for Professor Saitoti, probably after concluding that the trip was off.

Assuming that this is the case, what the investigators may have to establish is what may have caused the mechanical problem that caused the pilots to take a decision to return to Nairobi less than ten minutes after take-off. The situation is even more intriguing because according to available information, the lady pilot Gituanja had test-flown the helicopter to Voi and back on Friday, the 7th of June 2012 and concluded that the chopper was in good flying condition.

Mechanical problem ruled out
If the helicopter was fit to fly only 72 hours before the ill-fated chopper crashed, what may have happened at the parking bay after the lady pilot landed it and retired for the day? It is reported that 2-3 minutes into the flight following take-off at Wilson, the helicopter began to wobble. This means that if there was any mechanical problem, the problem may have existed before take-off because why should a helicopter wobble immediately after take-off? The helicopter did become airborne but four minutes later, the pilots took a decision to return to base. They never made it because the chopper crashed two minutes after the decision to return to base was taken.

Under the circumstances, the question the investigators will have to answer is what may have caused the wobbling during take-off because it is this problem that may have worsened in the subsequent minutes causing the pilots to abandon the trip before the chopper crashed.

To be specific: “The flight left Wilson Airport in Nairobi at 8:32 a.m. in good weather with some fog and visibility of 8 kilometres (5 miles), Kenyan Transport Minister Amos Kimunya told ministers today in a live broadcast on KTN television station. The pilots lost contact with the control tower at about 8:38 a.m., and four minutes later the aircraft fell to the ground, he said”.

From this report, it means that the chopper began to crash six minutes after take-off. In summary, the chopper did take off and 2-3 minutes later, it began to wobble. In the next 3 minutes, four key events happened: A decision was taken by the pilots that they turn back; Saitoti’s bodyguard called the Minister’s driver to say that they were turning back; the pilots lost contact with the control tower; the chopper crashed.

The question which will have to be answered by the investigators is the kind of mechanical problem that could cause a chopper of that model to crash 6 minutes after take-off. The theory of a mechanical failure has however been dismissed by the chopper’s manufacturers who said that the chopper had the ability to glide and land in case of engine failure. To demonstrate their point, the experts flew a similar helicopter 3,500ft, switched off the engine and successfully landed it to demonstrate to the Kenyan authorities that engine failure could not have led the chopper to crash and disintegrate on impact.

An interesting piece of information, which will also have to be investigated, is the news that the last person to have used the helicopter was Police Commissioner Mathew Itere. According to these reports, the chopper landed at Wilson airport on Saturday, the 9th of June at 6.00 pm with Itere on board, all the way from Mombasa.

The Mombasa-Nairobi trip constitutes a very long distance and after landing at Wilson airport, no mechanical problem was reported on the chopper. That was a day after the chopper was test-flown to Voi (near Mombasa) by lady pilot Gituanja whose opinion after the test was that the chopper was fit to fly. Could someone have tampered with some gadget during the 14 hours that the chopper was parked at Wilson airport as part of an assassination plot and with the knowledge that Professor Saitoti would be on board the following day?

Majority opinion suggest that Saitoti was assassinated
Is it possible that a chopper that was test-flown all the way to Voi and back on a Friday and which successfully flew to and from Mombasa on a Saturday could suddenly crash within a span of 6 minutes after take-off on a Sunday morning? These are key questions the investigators will have to answer.

Assuming that the report that Itere was the last person to have used the helicopter is credible, the implication is that from the Itere landing up to the final take-off on Sunday at 8.32 am, a total of 14 hours had elapsed. If the helicopter was in good flying condition just fourteen hours before the fateful flight, what could have caused the serious problem that may have brought down the chopper?

According to an eye witness, there was smoke coming from the chopper moments before it crashed. Some conspiracy theorists have argued that there may have been an explosion on board which might have created the smoke. The fact that both Saitoti’s and Ojode’s bodies had their legs chopped off has been used to strengthen this theory by positing that a time-bomb may have been planted at a location below the area where the two Security ministers were seated. The view is that it is the explosion that ripped off the legs of the two Ministers.

Although this theory could be credible, it loses a lot of marks with the established fact that at the time of the crash, the helicopter was already returning back to base following the detection of a mechanical problem by the pilots. What investigators may have to find out is what could cause smoke to below from the engine of a helicopter soon after take-off.

According to some experts, this type of problem could be due to fuel overflow or disconnected wires. If two critical wires were disconnected, there could have been an electrical or engine malfunction which could ignite fire in the engine causing smoke to below out of the chopper in mid-air. It is understood that a sudden bellowing of smoke from the engine can also be triggered by a mechanical failure or a fuel leak occasioned by a raptured fuel pipe. Whatever the case, these are leads the investigators will have to investigate. If there was a fuel leak, was it caused by natural circumstances or a human element?

Obviously, there are many issues which will have to be investigated. In the meantime, conspiracy theories linked to assassination of Professor Saitoti will continue to fly. Any perceived frustration of investigations into the crash by the government will continue to be used by conspiracy theorists to suggest that the government has something to hide. As per now, majority of opinions which have been expressed in various media outlets tend to suggest that Saitoti was a victim of political assassination, either by drug barons or members of the Mount Kenya cartel or both. The task of the investigators will be to prove that this is not the case.

Okoth Osewe

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16 comments

  • Saitoti had all the money one can dream of and more. He should have bought himself a private helicopter instead of going for the cheap Government free ride that many of his caliber prefer. He could then make sure it was well maintained and secured from his enemies. When he got poisoned in early 1990s, Dictator Moi claimed then that whoever killed Ouko was also the person who poisoned him.

  • Details of Mutula’s assassination messages and the ICC link

    Sunday July 1, 2012 – Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo has said his stand on the trials of the International Criminal Court (ICC) cases have been the cause and source of the threatening text messages sent to him on Tuesday.

    Speaking to journalists on Saturday, Mutula who is also the Mbooni lawmaker cited his stand on Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC), free education funds and constitutional reforms as possible reasons why he was being targeted with death threats.

    On Wednesday, Mutula stunned parliament when he told his colleagues in parliament that he had received two messages from unknown people, threatening to kill him this weekend.
    Mutula who is the former Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister said that his wife and daughter had also received similar messages.

    “I am not like Martha [Karua] who bowed out of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs under pressure. I am a hard nut to crack. That is why they removed me from the Ministry because of my stand on ICC trials,” Mutula said.

    “I am the first sitting Cabinet minister to receive such messages in the history of this nation.” he added

    The Mbooni legislator vowed to get on with his life, saying sending death threats would not intimidate him in his fight for impunity in the country.

    “Fear is the key that is used to control the human will and resolve. Brave people die only once but cowards die very many times. Their messages are horrifying for a soft heart because they threatened to rape my wife and daughter before killing me in cold blood.” Mutula said.

    Mutula has been opposing presidential bids for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North legislator William Ruto saying it is against our Constitution since the two have cases on crimes against humanity in the Hague based court.

    He termed the move by the two as “impunity of the highest order” and vowed to ensure they are locked out of the upcoming polls.

    The Kenyan DAILY POST.

  • kubaya centro

    Subukia man kills villager eats body parts
    By Patrick Kibet

    A 36 year-old man accused of killing and eating body parts of a 32 year-old man in Subukia has been remanded pending completion of police investigations.

    Ambrose Gichuhi Kimeria appeared before Judge Roselyn Wendoh but did not plead to the charges after the prosecution asked for more time to complete the investigations.

    State counsel Nerolyine Indagua applied for Kimeria to undergo medical examination and for the state to provide a lawyer before he could plead to the charges.

    Wendoh directed that the accused be examined and a counsel is appointed by the state. She further directed the accused to be remanded in Kirengeroro police station in Subukia.

    Kimeria is accused of killing Samuel Londokit a father of four before dismembering his body and eating the body parts.

    He is alleged to have attacked Londokit as he was heading home on Friday evening from shopping centre before killing and eating his intestines and heart.

    A relative of the deceased said the body of the deceased was found 10 meters from the house of the accused by residents of Tetu village on Saturday morning.

    The case will be mentioned on Thursday when Kimeria will plead to the charges.

  • Ojode’s family in row over estate

    By Isaiah Lucheli

    Battle over the estate of former Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode is looming after his brother wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly to stop payment of any compensation to the widow.

    The late Ojode’s elder brother Samuel Awuodi Ojode has written to the Speaker of National Assembly Kenneth Marende seeking the stoppage claiming Mary Awuor Ojode has refused to discuss with the family on matters concerning the estate of his deceased brother.

    Awuodi claims he has written the letter on behalf of their mother Ulda Aloo Ojode and other dependants of the deceased.

    He wants parliament not to release any compensation or benefits to Mrs Ojode and if any payment is made, then it should be to the public Trustee who will hold the same for the benefit of the dependants.

    The letter was also copied to the Clerk of the National Assembly Patrick Gichui, Ojode’s wife and her lawyer, Lutta and company Advocates.

    The late Ojode died in a plane crash in Ngong on June 10. Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti and four others also perished in the accident.

    Last week, the families of MPs who died this year received Sh10 million each from Jubilee Insurance Company.

    Families of the late Ojode, Saitoti and the late Environment minister John Michuki were compensated.

  • Gilbert gitonga

    Si mount kenya na drugballons pekee odm could prime suspects.

  • US envoy to Kenya resigns after ‘threatening to shoot staff in head’

    The US ambassador to Kenya resigned after complaints he bullied staff and threatened to “shoot them in the head” if they did not comply with his orders, it has been alleged.

    By Jon Swaine, Washington

    4:50PM BST 02 Jul 2012

    Scott Gration, who had led the US embassy in Nairobi since February last year, stepped down late last week, citing “differences with Washington regarding my leadership style”.

    It is understood that the State Department’s inspector general is preparing to release a scathing report on Mr Gration, who is a close ally of President Barack Obama, following an extensive internal inquiry.

    The former Air Force major general is said to have shown a “confrontational” and eccentric style of micromanagement that caused low morale and complaints among embassy staff.

    Mr Gration repeatedly engaged in battles with employees and, according to a report by Foreign Policy, threatened at one point to “shoot them in the head” if they did not comply.

    It is also alleged that Mr Gration might have lost his security clearance after the inquiry found he had used a personal email account for official business and set up an office in an embassy lavatory in order to get around the building’s secure network.

    Such was his eccentric style that soon after starting the job he also ordered that the heights of all embassy tables be adjusted and demanded that all clocks be recalibrated, according to reports.

    The disclosures threaten to embarrass Mr Obama, who previously made Mr Gration his special envoy to Sudan after the veteran diplomat became an early champion of his presidential ambitions.

    In his resignation statement last week, Mr Gration said: “I am very proud of my 35-year career of dedicated and honourable service to our great nation, leading at all times with integrity first and the highest ethical standards”.

    Mr Gration did not respond to an email requesting comment on the new allegations. A State Department spokesman did not return a request for comment.

  • As the globe marks World Aids Day today, we take a look at the growing population of male sex workers in Kenya

    Mantulli System 25, wears bright makeup and colourful clothing every evening and then heads to work. He struts into an inconspicuous pub near Kirinyaga Road in Nairobi where he orders two beers and waits. This is yet another promising evening. “You see, you people condemn us during the day but at night you are our clients,” he says.

    Mantulli has been a sex worker for eight years now having escaped home at 18 years after his family disowned him. He is Taita, but prefers to use his “business” name to hide his real identity. He is among hundreds of young male sex workers in Nairobi. Social workers say this is a growing underground population only known to its clientele and a few health officials.

    This new breed of sex workers are vulnerable to HIV infections and have come under focus as the country struggles to contain HIV within the 1.5 million Kenyans already infected.

    At the bar table, Mantulli is joined by Fabian, his 24-year-old friend. Light-skinned, tall and slender, Fabian also orders two bottles of his favourite beer. “Yes we are here,” says Mantulli in a flattering and gentle voice. He frequently flickers his eyelids, scanning the entire bar. He then twists his lips and says the young men present are all sex workers. “I drink daily with them. Sometimes a client may come here or just send somebody to pick me. About 90 per cent of my clients are married men. I know this because they insist that we pay for a hotel room instead of their homes.”

    He adds: “Some of the religious leaders and government ministers who condemn us during the day are our clients at night.” Mantulli says he likes his job. “My brothers hate me a lot, although I usually send money home to help them. I tell them I am a sex worker, not a prostitute.” He grew up in Mombasa where his mother operates a small shop.

    Mantulli says he understands his business is risky. Men who have sex with men account for 15 per cent of all HIV infections in Kenya, according to the 2008 Kenya Modes of Transmission Survey. Other studies have shown that among MSM, infection rates could be as high as 30 per cent, compared to the national average of seven per cent.

    The National Aids and STI Control Programme (Nascop) fears this high concentration of HIV is finding its way into marriages. The 2007 Kenya Aids Indicator Survey shows nearly half of all Kenyans living with HIV are married couples. Nascop deputy director Dr Peter Cherutich says male sex workers can no longer be ignored although their work is illegal. “We are sensitising hospitals to provide treatment to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation,” he says.

    Mantulli says some clients offer more money for unprotected sex. “At such times you take the money.” He says there is plenty of money to be made in Nairobi, compared to Mombasa. “There is more money here. In Nairobi somebody can give you Sh5,000 for one night only. In Mombasa clients usually give you Sh1,000.”

    He claims the police and hospitals are their worst enemy. “The police easily identify us because of fancy dressing. They always demand at least Sh1,000 bribes from each of us. If one does not have money, some policemen rape you. If you resist, you’re thrown into the cells and charged in court with a totally different offence like touting,” Mantulli says.

    Although there is no legal definition of prostitution in the Kenyan penal code, it is illegal to live off the earnings of prostitution. Same sex intercourse is also illegal and punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

    A non-governmental organisation working among sex workers says such legal bottlenecks make intervention hard because sex workers avoid treatment fearing arrest. “As a country we seriously need to consider these groups because they may be the source of most new infections to the general population,” says Job Akuno, a project manager with the National Organisation of Peer Educators.

    He is in charge of a programme that offers health education to 2,000 male sex workers and 12,000 female sex workers across the country. “Our policy is clear. We do not condone neither do we condemn them, but every human being must have access to health services,” he says.

    Mantulli, a muslim, says nearly all government hospitals are reluctant to treat male sex workers for sexually transmitted infections. “I once went to hospital with anal gonorrhoea and all nurses and doctors refused to attend to me. They asked how a man can have anal gonorrhoea unless he’s gay.”

    Mantulli lives alone in a small rented room in the city centre after being chased away by fellow tenants in the estates. His friend Fabian is more feminine and more discrete. He mapped male sex workers for several organisations and says there are about 4,000 in Nairobi, mostly in their 20s and in school.

    He is the last born in a family of three. His mother, a mitumba clothes trader, died of Aids in 1995. He dropped from secondary school in 2005 and the following year was introduced into sex work by a friend he met in Kangemi. “My grandmother used to tell us that education is not everything. She had several plots in the slum yet she was illiterate. So I began going to a bar in Westlands. Here you buy one beer and drink slowly. As the night wears off you’ll get a man chatting you up and the two of you can go to a lodging for the night,” he says. “We didn’t use condoms all the time. Sometimes a good man says we will have sex for Sh10, 000 without a condom and Sh5, 000 if I insist on the condom.”

    He says a friend in 2006 introduced him to the Kenya Aids Vaccine Initiative, who were seeking HIV negative men who have sex with men for an HIV vaccine project. Fabian says he took part because he was desperate to find anything to do and the programme made him busy. He says nearly all his clients have been married people of about 40 years. “They are regular clients. These were the best because you’re assured of constant money,” he says.

    Fabian says he no longer engages in active sex work because he gets stipends from his volunteer work with NGOs. He was recently invited to South Africa to an Aids Forum to speak of his experience. He presented a paper titled: MSM: The Hidden face of HIV in Kenya. Fabian says his most scaring experience was during the KAVI programme in 2008 when he went for regular screening. “I tested positive. I know I contracted HIV from clients and may have passed it on to others,” he says. “I am still not on ARVs but I take some antibiotics.”

    Fabian claims most male sex workers in Nairobi could be living with HIV but they will not admit it. He now distributes condoms to them in bars at night. Mantulli says he tested negative the last time he took a HIV test. He drowns his second beer. We have to leave as one client approaches the table.

  • xx on growing sex-abuse scandal

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    Arafat Poisoned by Radioactive Polonium?
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    Home About Antiwar.com Donate Blog US Casualties Contact Latest News Letters Study: Former PA Leader Arafat Likely Poisoned by Polonium
    Wife Calls for Exhumation of Body
    by Jason Ditz, July 03, 2012
    Print This | Share This
    Former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat’s death has long been considered suspicious, but his widow is calling for his body to be exhumed tonight following the revelation that new tests showed he may have been poisoned with radioactive polonium.

    The tests taken on his personal effects by the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland says they found “surprisingly high” levels of polonium-210 in his belongings. The institute said this wasn’t conclusive without testing his body, and medical reports would not be consistent with the poisoning claim.

    Arafat’s health precipitously declined in late 2004 with no apparently explanation, coming just months after then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he no longer felt bound by his promise not to assassinate Arafat. At the time there was no cause of death, but doctors said they didn’t find any known poisons.

    Some of Arafat’s supporters and family members have speculated he was killed by the US, or Israel, or both. In 2009 the Fatah Party’s Congress also declared Israel responsible for the death, which sparked a series of threats from Israeli officials and declarations that the peace process was over.

    In 2011, Fahmi Shabana, a member of Palestinian intelligence who has involved in the investigation of Arafat’s death, had explicitly claimed he was poisoned with polonium by his political rivals.

    Last 5 posts by Jason Dit

  • Radio active Polonium was also detected in Michukis cloth?

  • NWO Plans To
    Depopulate The Earth
    By Steve Jones
    4-13-5

    “If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels” -Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh

    World population is, by all intents and purposes, completely out of control.

    Plans are underway now, implemented by the New World Order Elite, to depopulate the planet’s 6-7 billion people to a manageable level of between 500 million and 2 billion.

    There are many means and methods of depopulation that are being employed today, the 3 primary of which include; unsustainable/exploitative international development, which leads to massive hunger, starvation and famine worldwide (at least 40 million deaths annually), the fomentation of war, hatred and military procurements throughout the nations leading to millions of deaths worldwide, and finially, the creation and spread of infectious diseases leading to global pandemic, plague and pestilence on an unprecedented scale.

    Other methods used include; the build-up and use of nuclear, chemical and biological agents, weapons and warfare, the poisoning and contamination of the planet’s food and water supplies, the introduction and use of deadly pharmacuetical drugs in society, weather modification and the triggering of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis through electromagnetic psychotronic weapons both on Earth and in space, the promotion of homosexuality to limit population growth and spread the deadly AIDS virus, forced sterilization in countries such as China, forced vaccinations, abortion, euthanasia etc…

    Death, and the management of who lives and who dies, has become the central organizing principle of the 21st century.

    The previous century has been, by far, the bloodiest in human history. Hunger, famine and disease took billions of innocent lives. World Wars 1 and 2, along with the despotic regimes of Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Reagan, Bush and others, took hundreds of millions. The 21st century is shaping up to accelerate this dismal trend where hunger, famine and disease are reaping record levels of death (the equivalent of 7 jewish holocaust annually). Contemporary wars continue to rage on and proliferate. In the nation of Iraq, the killing fields have taken the lives of more than 2 million men, women and children (mostly children) this past decade from foreign and economic intervention. Vastly unreported is the genocide occuring in the Congo, where more than 4 million people have been slaughtered, mutilated and massacred recently with only scant world attention given. Add to this the unrestrained and very profitable build-up of weapons of mass destruction- nuclear, chemical and biological- in the world, particularily in the volatile Middle East region, with the expressed desire and willingness to actually use them, and you have an Apocalypse of World War 3 becoming a virtual inevitability. The death toll of THIS war is sure to surpass all previous in scale and in magnitude, as has been planned.

    The international campaign to eliminate the “useless eaters” (according to the Club of Rome) on behalf of the planet’s priviledged ruling elite, is surely to take a more voracious toll as global population levels continue to rise.

    To implement their “final solution” to depopulate 4-5 billion people from the Earth, the world’s elite will undoubtedly harness the newly emerging biotech and nanotechnology industries to create a super ‘bioweapon’ virus creating a global ‘kill-off’ pandemic through which only they will have the cure.

  • THE GREAT TRANSITION: CORRUPTION AND NGOROKO SEASON .
    Saturday, 07 July 2012 00:03 BY JOHN GITHONGO

    On June 10, a helicopter carrying the minister for Internal Security Prof George Saitoti and his assistant minister Orwa Ojode crashed in Ngong killing both ministers, their aides and police chopper crew. The Kibaki tenure has been a particularly tragic one when one counts the number of senior officials and politicians who have died around the Head of State. This time things are different, however, and point to a mood that will set the tone for the intense political period we are about to enter.

    On January 24, 2003, a plane full of government officials and their supporters crashed in Busia. Three died – including the pilot, one other crew member and the Minister for Labour, Ahmed Khalif. Eleven were injured including Dr Wanjiru Kihoro, the wife of seasoned politician and democracy activist Wanyiri Kihoro. Dr Wanjiru Kihoro passed away after almost four years in a coma in 2006. Back then, no conspiracy theories or rumours of assassination gained any traction. The helicopter crash last month was different. Almost immediately, foul play was suspected. On Twitter, Facebook and by SMS, countless theories were advanced, with most insinuating that someone may have killed the ministers.

    To start with, fingers were quietly pointed at top officials in the regime. Then a conspiracy theory in part born out of one of the saddest and damaging legacies of the Kibaki era – a dramatic laissez-faire criminalisation of our politics and society despite undeniable economic achievements – began to gain traction. All this while proper investigations were just kicking off. This theory held that the ministers had been assassinated by elements of the regime involved in the illicit drug trade. For me, what was important was that Kenyans were willing to believe this: that at the top of our government are politicians so deeply embroiled in the drug business which is transforming our politics starting at the Coast, that they had no qualms about killing the minister of Internal Security and his deputy. The conspiracy theory gained momentum when Members of Parliament alleged the same on the floor of the house. Perceptions were, in my opinion, irrevocably worsened when the family of Prof Saitoti reportedly hired their own investigators to look into the crash, alleging a cover-up by officers of the very government that the minister and his deputy had led.

    This demonstrated a total lack of faith and confidence in the investigation process initiated by the very regime Prof Saitoti had served so close to the very top.

    It should trouble us that so many of us are willing to believe that elements within our own government are willing to kill their colleagues in this way at this time. Indeed, one young but hardened cynic observed to me, “If the Government spokesman, Alfred Mutua, had immediately come out to deny the rumours in anyway, that would have been confirmation that there was some truth in them.” This extreme low trust environment has implications. It most certainly complicates life for the IEBC which now cannot afford to put a foot wrong; even genuine mistakes are likely to be read with a political lens in a highly ethnically polarised environment.

    PAYING FOR POLITICS

    Kenya is about to hold the world’s most expensive election at $20 (Sh1,680) per vote if, say, we had 10 million voters. Politicians are also due to spend a totally unprecedented amounts of money. A Nairobi-based think tank, the Coalition for Accountable Political Financing, recently estimated that that the top presidential candidates will spend between US$100 million (Sh8.4bn) and US$150 million (Sh12.6bn) each. The presidential campaigns alone could cost US$500 million (Sh42bn). These figures are Nigeriaesque and Nigeria has oil money to spend and misspend on these things. So where will the money come from? While serious fortunes exist among members of the elite, accumulated largely via graft and the abuse of public office over the last 49 years, it is also becoming clear that there is a considerable amount of money sloshing about this economy from more opaque sources.

    There is a consistency to reports of mainly Coastal-based drug barons and up-country money launderers injecting huge sums into the campaign kitties of some leading contenders. Traditionally, the period after the reading of the last budget before an election is the start of shakedown season. Aspirants start by hitting up members of the private sector, then investors who are still in a fragile contractual condition, before moving on to squeeze as much out of the public purse as possible via kickbacks, skimming off procurement contracts and the like. The unenthusiastic can find themselves ‘encouraged’ by visits from the taxman or even police. Businessmen dish out the cash to all sides to hedge their bets. It is thus that giant public works projects seemingly hurriedly cooked up in the year prior to polls have a habit of becoming white elephants whose utility declines once they have finished serving as vehicles to mobilise election finances. In my opinion, however, these tried and tested tactics simply don’t begin to explain the kind of resources already being splashed about by some of the leading contenders.

    In the 1980s, before full liberalisation of the economy, the capture of regulatory agencies was enough to mobilise resources for political activity. After the reintroduction of political pluralism, specifically designed scams to extract resources from the Consolidated Fund kicked in. Goldenberg cost us roughly 10 percent of GDP. At the same time with liberalisation graft moved from the weakened regulatory agencies to revenue collection bodies; it moved, in a sense, from the capital to the Coast. Giant sugar and maize importation scams for example were all the rage from the mid-1990s and to an extent to this day as well. Throughout the 1990s, land allocations by the head of state, especially in urban areas, also became a strong feature of corruption by public officials facing elections.

    By 2003, internal and external pressure increased media scrutiny and political fragmentation among the elite had forced large scale graft to retreat into ‘national security’. The looting of police and other agencies in the sector turned national security into the last refuge of the corrupt. It partly explains why so many of our police helicopters are unserviceable or fall from the sky. From around 2005, however, it also became clear that drugs and money laundering had become important sources of political resources. It would also seem that a chunk of the resources fiddled from the oil revenues of the South Sudan government found their way to Kenya much in the same way as some of the ransoms associated with piracy. Remember, Nairobi, for now, remains the commercial capital of Somalia.

    INTIMIDATION AND ASSASSINATION

    While an open-door policy with regard to drug money and the involvement of top officials (and their wives and other relatives) in part explains where the flood of cash for siasa is coming from, elite political fragmentation has increased the currency of intimidation and assassination as tools of political management. Assassination has always been a feature of Kenyan politics.

    Shoot-to-kill policies with regard to the so-called Mungiki menace started in earnest around 2007. A culture of extrajudicial killings was normalised. Though in truth a similar condition had held sway in much of Northern Kenya for decades. Anyway, the new situation was most dramatically exemplified by the murder in broad daylight of Oscar Kamau King’ara and John Paul Oulu in March 2009. There in particular seems to be a systematic pattern of these killings that went into high gear once it became clear that the ICC process the elite had thought would take decades would move did so more quickly than they had anticipated.

    Since the ICC named its key suspects in December 2010 we have witnessed an intensification of these trends. A number of witnesses and potential witnesses for the ICC have been assassinated or simply disappeared without a trace since. Then earlier this year the body of the Mombasa-based Samir Khan – previously arrested as a terror suspect together with Mohammed Kassim – was found in the middle of Tsavo National Park.

    In May, it was reported in the media that the President and the head of the National Security Intelligence Service had met to discuss the risk of chaos before and after the elections. What was curious about this was that it was reported in the media! Presumably the NSIS boss briefs the President regularly about the ‘risk of chaos’ without there being the need to tell the world that this is happening. Similarly, the media has carried regular reports about Mungiki ‘regrouping’ and ‘reorganising’ in a manner so consistent that it has led some to question whether Kenyans are being prepared for a crackdown of some sort.

    Maina Njenga, former head of Mungiki, has since late last year – uncharacteristically for someone who has been through his share of scraps with individuals and institutions that want him dead – publicly raised the alarm that his life is in danger, even reporting the matter to the police. Njenga joins the growing number of those who have gone to the police to report receiving death threats, including a government minister and several politicians. This has been accompanied by consistent rumours of a list of “meigwa (Gikuyu for thorns) that need to be removed”; on it are the names of top state officials with reformist credentials, politicians and civil society activists. Add to this a most bizarre and brazen open threat meted out directly against an editor at The Star among other incidents and one may be left wondering whether all these events are a throwback to the period just before President Kenyatta died when a ‘Ngoroko’ plot to assassinate leaders to manage the transition was exposed.

    One cannot tell for sure except that anti-reformist elements would seem to have retreated into a dark space in this period in the run-up to the next elections. It reminds us that the explosion of violence in 2008 was an aberration that the elite lost control over. It was this loss of control that led to the bizarre situation where presidential candidates today also face trials for crimes against humanity at the ICC. Throughout the 1990s, election-related violence was state directed, or directed by elements of the state. We are back in that space today. A bungling transition seems to be guaranteed by the absence of any form of central management of this critical process. Add to this a host of internal contradictions amplified by the on-going constitutional reform process, the ICC, al Shabaab, the inexorable rise and apparent consolidation of power by drug dealers and money launderers at the heart of the elite and intimidation and assassination have gained a new and potentially destabilising currency.

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  • GOD knows better what happened to prof. SAITOTI

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