Tuesday April 9th Kenyans inaugurated the 4th Kenyan president, the recently elected Uhuru Kenyatta since the country gained independence.
The young republic that is Kenya is celebrating 50 years of independence, its Jubilee year as a nation free from its former colony the United Kingdom. It seems fitting then that when recently Kenyans went to the polls, they elected the Jubilee coalition into power led by Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto. Uhuru the son of
Kenya’s first post-independence President, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta named his eldest son Uhuru which is Swahili for freedom, in his anticipation for and excitement over the impending independence that would follow two years after Uhuru’s birth in 1961.
There is therefore no shortage of seeming poetry in this saga that has seen Uhuru ascend to power. He is the first Kenyan elected President in my adult life that has openly and actively pushed a clearly nationalistic agenda in his campaign, shunning western influence over Kenya, and even inculcating some anti-western sentiments among the Kenyan public.
Raila Odinga has been the west’s choice to lead Kenya, not only during this election but in the previous election in 2007 which he lost to the current President, Mwai Kibaki. It was at the urging of western powers that Raila ascended to the position of Prime Minister in a deal that resulted in a coalition government of national reconciliation after the post-election violence (PEV as its referred to in Kenya) that rocked Kenya after the 2007 polls.
The deal would also see two deputy prime minister positions established, and Uhuru Kenyatta would be the beneficiary when President Kibaki picked Uhuru for one of the two positions in which he would emerge as a close ally to the president.
The recent elections were in effect a repeat of the 2007 race in the sense that almost all of the same players were in somewhat of a repeat race, but this time, Kibaki who was barred from running by term limits was replaced by Uhuru, his right hand man, while Raila was still on the opposing side. William Ruto, who in 2007 was an ally of Raila’s would join forces with Uhuru to be his running mate.
The post-election deal that led to the coalition government also included a handing over of names of alleged perpetrators to the then mediator Kofi Anan. Both Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy President elect William Ruto would be among the six names handed over.
As a result both Ruto and Uhuru have been facing charges at the International Criminal Court, ICC, allegedly for crimes against humanity. Ironically, it is these very charges against Uhuru that cemented the public’s support for him, and quite possibly guaranteed his election to the chagrin of both the west as well as for his most fierce rival, the immediate former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
What the ICC and apparently the whole of the western world and indeed the rest of the world are seemingly unaware of is that Raila Odinga is the very architect of the balkanization of Kenya over the last 15 years or so. The 2007 Presidential campaign was the culmination of the very hatred he sowed against the Kikuyu community, the largest single community in Kenya, which has been seen by majority of Kenyans as the most privileged, most powerful community in Kenya.
During the 2007 campaign, Raila ratcheted up the anti- Kikuyu rhetoric introducing the derogatory term of Mt. Kenya mafia to refer to Kikuyus and terming his the campaign of 41 against 1, meaning that it was the remainder of Kenya’s 41 tribes against the Kikuyu.
The result was that, when Raila lost the election, the anger he had stoked against the Kikuyu was easily exploited to turn sore losers against Kikuyus in a murderous rampage.
Raila’s hate speech and subsequent attacks against Uhuru’s very community, the Kikuyu, would thus lead to his being rewarded with the position of PM. Allegations abound that both Raila and his then ally, William Ruto were at the forefront of planning these attacks.
To add insult to injury, in a most unjust twist of political machinations, Uhuru Kenyatta would end up indicted by the ICC. This despite the fact that the targets of the killings as well as those displaced were Uhuru Kenyatta’s Kikuyu community. There is a YouTube video available to anyone that shows Uhuru Kenyatta, contrary to the accusations of the ICC, actually pleading with Kikuyu youth not to seek revenge against their assailants. On the other hand, Raila, both then as during the recent campaign and aftermath of the election has consistently always stoked ethnic hatred. This he does exclusively in Swahili and then turns around and gives speeches in English calling for peace and reconciliation and understanding.
Raila dropped the 41 against 1 refrain against the Kikuyu during this last 2012/13 campaign. The Mount Kenya mafia epithet however has apparently become accepted into the Kenyan political lexicon to my chagrin. Raila did however continue on another underhanded campaign over land and farms pitting Kenyans against each other by stoking resentment over so called Kikuyus’ amassing of land to the exclusion of other communities.
Apparently neither the ICC nor the rest of the international community have bothered to go beyond their laziness to understand African languages or even apparently bother to translate some of these Swahili videos. As such Raila Odinga protected by his sycophantic followers who include it seems most journalists in the Kenyan media has been able to continue operating with total impunity, making very public statements that clearly stoke hate and violence, right under the very glare of both the Kenyan and international media. In a recent video, Raila is seen talking in Swahili to his followers in Nyanza and comparing himself to Jesus Christ and his former friend and ally, the Chief Justice Willie Mutunga to Pontius Pilate.
To give credit where credit is due, Raila has played an important role in the new institutions in which Kenyans now feel they have confidence, including the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the body that oversees elections, as well as the New Constitution which saw the introduction of a new constitutional court the Supreme Court, whose president, the chief Justice Willy Mutunga is a longtime ally and was indeed an appointment pushed by Raila Odinga.
That Raila Odinga was at the forefront of developing these institutions has not stopped him making scathing attacks against both the institutions and their leaders however after losing the election. It would appear that Raila perhaps thought that he would be rewarded for his contribution by these very institutions that were meant to provide accountability and transparency in govt by exempting him, and instead turning a blind eye and granting him the Presidency, despite having lost in what was clearly the most open, fair and transparent elections ever in Kenya. Arguably, the tallying process that followed the failed electronic transmission of results was more transparent than even the United States, given that the tallying was done under the glare of both the local and international media.
It is generally agreed that Uhuru and his running mate Ruto ran a superior campaign to Raila & Kalonzo Musyoka’s, and the election was lauded as free, fair and transparent. Indeed the tallying of results was done under the glare of the media both local and international.
Despite this, not to mention an insurmountable lead by Uhuru of nearly 1 million votes, Raila would refuse to concede defeat when the very institution the IEBC, led by an appointee of his recommendation, and former ally Isaac Hassan announced Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the just concluded election.
He would take his grievances to the Supreme Court, headed again by an appointment of his recommendation to President Kibaki, his co-principle in the coalition government. On Saturday March 30th, the CJ Dr. Willie Mutunga threw out Raila’s petition ruling that the election was free, fair and transparent. Despite pronouncements that he would accept the Supreme Court’s findings, Raila made a begrudging acceptance of the ruling, but still refused to concede defeat.
During the tallying of the election results as Kenyans waited to find out who had won the election, the electronic transmission system that had been acquired by the IEBC through the office of the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga failed. Rumors quickly spread across social media that the system had been hacked.
Even more whisperings have since emerged that indeed, a close ally of Raila’s, did indeed dispatch a celebrated computer programmer to launch a cyber-attack against the IEBC’s systems in order to create chaos.
Further claims have emerged about a plot not only to discredit Uhuru Kenyatta, and create appearances of rigging, but also to incite violence. This plot involved planting ballot boxes at the Kenyatta University, that when found around Mar 6th led to riots by Raila’s supporters at the University, and all this was before President elect Uhuru Kenyatta had been declared the winner. Rumors emerged that these ballot boxes were stuffed and shipped, again from the offices of a Raila cohort in Nairobi and delivered with their help and funding.
The most recent allegations emerging about Raila are that he is behind the plots to incite riots on the 9th of March, the day that Uhuru Kenyatta is meant to be sworn in to power.