Kenya’s March 4 dire consequences

The polemics playing out over the consequences Kenya will suffer if The National Alliance (TNA) Uhuru Kenyatta and United Republican Party (URP) William Ruto are elected president and deputy on March 4, are clear evidence that Kenyan politicians and highly paid civil servants do not care about their country or its citizens should the international community choose to isolate the country and place sanctions over the International Criminal Court cases the two are facing.

The political rhetoric over the ICC issue is incredulously shocking. Kenya has unarguably extremely illiterate and irresponsible electorate blindly following political leadership grown and bred at the George Orwell’s University of the Animal Farm. These are men and women who selfishly think they are so important that they should have diplomatic passports, enjoy the VIP lounge at airports and get state funerals when they die. How did the distant Netherlands capital The Hague come to haunt Kenya and her politicians and for which the Kenyan tax payer has incurred millions of dollars?

The highly dramatized Presidential Debate sugar-coated the ICC issue to a point of giving Uhuru the opportunity to launder himself. No one mentioned the taboo word “consequences”. No one attempted to educate Kenyan voters of the dangers ahead if they elect Uhuru or the volatile Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) presidential candidate Raila Odinga, yet the ICC was not created by the Kenyan voters. The 2007-2008 post election violence was a real politically-instigated humanitarian tragedy and justice must be done.

Briefly, in January 2008 the ODM leader Raila called on his militant stone and missile throwing followers to reject the outcome of the 2007 presidential election in which it was announced he had lost to President Mwai Kibaki. His henchmen and power seekers, including Ruto mobilized militias in what Raila called mass action and the rest is recent history, which most voters have conveniently chosen to forget.

However, the highlights were the massacre of more than 1,500 innocent Kenyans. The official figure is put at 1,333 although many more died of injuries and harsh living conditions in IDP camps. Over 650,000 families (meaning over a million people) were displaced and rendered refugees in their own country and their lives shattered to date. Billions of shillings were lost in economic disruption and property destruction. The subsequent resettlement losses ran into excess of Ksh 20 billion that could have gone to hospitals, schools and agricultural needs.

The international community, especially the West and African eminent persons, led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, now the subject of scorn and ridicule by Kenya politicians pursuing the presidency and other positions, moved in to avert a Rwanda-type genocide. Two judicial commissions were set up, one led by prominent Kenyan judge Philip Waki and the other by South African judge Johann Christiaan Kriegler. Their reports are changing the face of Kenya politics and governance. Read

Of interest was Waki’s report that included an envelope with a secret list of those who bore the greatest responsibility in the post election violence. Waki warned the Kenyan authorities that he would hand over the envelop to Kofi Annan, who in turn would give it to the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocambo if Kenya failed to establish a local tribunal to try the perpetrators of the bloody human carnage by July 2010. Ocambo would thereafter institute investigations with a view to charging those bearing the highest responsibility before The Hague-based ICC.

Waki had seen how Kenyans were brutalized, killed and rendered into IDPs in 1992, 1997 and 2002 and no action had been taken by their government to punish the offenders even after two inquiries – one by parliament led by Kiliku and the second one by justice Akiwumi. Throughout 2008, 2009 and part of 2010, Kenya politicians skirted around the ICC issue with some like Ruto saying it would take 20 years for the ICC to start the Kenyan cases.

The politicians, especially Members of Parliament, totally refused to appreciate, recognize and grasp the real consequences of the political and international dangers posed by The Hague process. When the question of establishing a local tribunal came up in parliament, the MPs, led by Ruto and Uhuru (as it emerged during the Presidential debate) were emphatic in their declaration – Don’t be Vague, let us go to Hague. Several MPs were paid millions of shillings to oppose the local tribunal by the same leaders crying wolf today. They told Annan to stop playing midwife to them and their country.

When the list of those bearing the highest responsibility for the 2007-2008 bloody mayhem was handed over to The Hague and six suspects were finally named, the same politicians who had been hurling insults at Annan turned their anger to the ICC and Ocambo in particular. They also started cannibalizing each other in their ever-lasting blame game. The government was split in the middle with the Kibaki-led PNU squandering millions of shilling on international trips, led by vice president Musyoka Kalonzo, all the way to New York to plead with the Security Council to defer the case and Raila-led ODM pressing for The Hague trials.

Now, the Big Question is; if Members of Parliament, the elected representatives of the generally politically illiterate electorate, including the President, Vice President, the Prime Minister, two Deputy Prime Ministers, Attorney General, 42 ministers, 114 assistant ministers and 100 back benchers, could not realize, understand and comprehend, the full implications – consequences – of going to The Hague, (as explained by Martha Karua during the Presidential Debate), how can the general Kenyan electorate today, understand the consequences of electing Uhuru and Ruto to State House?

Conversely, if the same politically illiterate electorate has not realized how their government has wasted millions of shillings globe-trotting in futile efforts to undo The Hague and defer or refer the cases to ill-prepared Nairobi or Arusha, and looted billions of shillings in IDP resettlement, how can such voters foresee or appreciate the damage or consequences of international isolation and sanctions? Yet these are the same voters being told to decide whether Uhuru and Ruto should lead them. They are not being told it will be impossible for the two to govern the country from The Hague (Raila says through Skype and could have added the Facebook) where they could face jail terms of upwards of 30 years if found guilty.

In fact it is such long jail terms that the two indicted politicians are afraid of. The talk of “personal challenges” and willingness to co-operate with the ICC are political gimmicks to woo voters to elect them. Afterwards, they may very well defy appearance in The Hague and try to keep away like Sudan’s president Omar Bashir. In fact Uhuru says the man is still running his country despite ICC warrants on him.Read – Wicked Conspiracy for Disaster

The TNA candidate has amply demonstrated his inability to keep his promises given the recent debacle with United Democratic Forum (UDF) Party’s Musalia Mudavadi. Voters should know that only drug king-pins are known to run their businesses from the confines of prison walls through corruption. Uhuru and Ruto are not and will not be so important to the world that they will be accorded special treatment by the ICC.

Their luck, which could be a national disaster, is that a majority of Kenyan voters are incompetent, incapable and totally lacking in foresight of the consequences of their actions and choices during the elections. These are the same voters who faithfully voted for dictator Daniel arap Moi every five years for 24 years – even after multiparty arrived giving them the choice of progressive change.

These are the same voters who, as a ritual, vote in people who have enriched themselves by raiding public coffers and donor money through corruption. The cowboy contractors, the Mainas, and known thieves who have stashed money in foreign accounts in Jersey Island, the Okemos, among others, are living examples. Some cowboy contractors even built and furnished houses for some presidential candidates and their running mates. That is why they were not black-listed.

During the Moi era when Kenya suffered major decline in the development of health, education facilities, energy and roads expansion, majority of voters could not recognize that the economic slump due to financial mismanagement, corruption and bad governance was a consequence of their bad Nyayo “candidates” electoral choices. Many were duped by their incompetent leaders to believe that they were “marginalized by the government”.

The Luos were such victims and lagged behind in business and farming when the Odinga family flourished. Young Raila was driven to school in Volvos, Uhuru in Mercedes cars while those born poor trekked ten kilometers to school. The status quo still remains. Their children are driven to school in armoured Pajeros while the jigger-infested poor still walk through snake-prone pathways. Kenya continues to be a mam-eat-man society.

The majority poor are always fed on the rich diet of tribalism and ethnic politics while the families of individual politicians live lavishly and send their children to expensive private schools. During the Moi era, the children of the poor were bribed with so-called Nyayo milk stolen from farmers, who were not paid for their milk deliveries, climaxing on the theft of the entire Kenya Creameries Cooperative (KCC) factory and its assets. The same thing was done by the Jomo Kenyatta regime when it short-changed Mau Mau freedom fighters.

Mau Mau freedom fighters short-changed by Kenyatta
Besides politicians, some civil servants, many of who also enrich themselves with taxpayer’s largesse, are adding to the electorate ignorance over the possible electoral negative consequences by attacking the West for its timely warning. What business does the head of civil service one Francis Kimemia have in the ICC issue? Whether he supports US president Barrack Obama in his statement on the forthcoming Kenyan election and not Assistant Secretary of State Johnny Carson is his own business and he should not try to influence voters and appease the Kenyattas.

Carson was the US ambassador in Nairobi during the heady Moi era days when Kimemia was a junior civil servant who could not make head or tail of the deliberate hoodwinking of the Kenyan population by Moi sycophants through the pseudo peace, love and unity bogus Nyayo philosophy. The best he could do would be run around gathering women and school choirs to entertain Moi in his rural populist tours. He is probably as incapable as the Kenyan politicians to foresee the economic consequences likely to befall Kenya with the election of Uhuru and Ruto.

Some free advice for Kimemia would be for him to talk his more knowledgeable predecessor Dr Richard Leaky, who Moi had begged to form the Dream Team in an effort to salvage Kenya from the consequences of bad governance Western-imposed economic stagnation. Moi was so frustrated with the West that he believed they considered him as a “monkey” as he told Leakey.

The negative consequences of the March 4 elections are not confined to the Jubilee Alliance alone. Kenyans must also weigh heavily and search their hearts if they should elect as President a man who on two occasions, probably more, has been directly implicated in acts which have claimed over 1,000 innocent Kenyan lives. The ODM presidential aspirant Raila publicly admits involvement in the failed 1982 military coup in which 1,500 Kenyans died and millions of shillings in economic damage visited upon the business community. He has no apologies for those who died, rape victims and economically devastated lives.

In 2008, he called for mass action that led to mass destruction of 1,500 of Kenyan lives and billions of shillings worth of economic losses in addition to creating thousands of internally displaced persons. Again he has no apologies. He has been the MP for insecurity-prone Kibera, where ethnic violence has been the way of life since 1992. His 2008 mass action saw people invade other people’s homes and take illegal and violent occupancy in Nairobi’s Kibera, Dandora among other estates. Some in Kibera took over the houses while others refused to pay rent to date.

Educated Luo lawyers and doctors, who for years had legally binding tenancy agreements for apartments owned by private investors (former State House comptroller Matere Keriri was a victim) in Kileleshwa, declared in December 2007 that the houses would be theirs come January 2008 when they expected Raila to be president. Their argument was that they had paid enough cash to meet whatever had been invested in the construction of the apartments.

How will the same people react to Raila’s victory on March 4, should he unfortunately win? Who will stop them from taking over the same houses, businesses and God knows what else? Who will stop those who have always fancied a skyscraper along the city streets from grabbing one in Raila’s declared “Jubilee year of returning what was stolen”? What will be the consequences of Raila victory? Read details in the next issue.

While the danger signals of electing Uhuru as president are flashing from the Western capitals and their embassies in Nairobi, Raila’s unsuitability was clearly demonstrated in west Kenya during the recent ODM nominations and his meetings in his own home Luoland. A few years ago no Luo would have opposed or defied Raila’s decision – even university professors. Today he is being disgraced in books and newspaper articles by fellow Luos as well as in social media.

Raila has lost his leadership lustre and mantle in his own Luo backyard. Last week a newspaper headline in a story by Samuel Otieno screamed: Raila takes cover as missiles fly in Migori CORD rally. Raila had to duck stones and shoes that were being hurled at the dais where he was seated trying to force the voters to elect candidates of his choice. His elder brother Oburu was rejected as Siaya County Governor as was his younger sister Ruth in Kisumu County. If his own Luos are fed up with his leadership, which sensible voter can elect him as President of Kenya?

Raila also received hostile reception with his running mate Kalonzo in Embu County where rowdy youths stoned the dais of a very poorly attended meeting. They say those who kill by the sword die by the sword. Raila’s mass action civic education in stone-throwing appears to have taken root in far flung locations from Nyanza.

Raila’s poorly attended meeting disrupted by stone-throwing youths in Embu
For the skeptics and ethnic chauvinists, the possible consequences of Uhuru victory could mean, but not limited, to the following disruptive re-actions:
• Boycott of Kenya’s coffee, tea and horticultural produce whose volumes are bought mainly by European Union countries – shutting off the country’s main foreign exchange earnings. Consequence – thousands of jobs would be lost as would be millions of dollars in the badly needed foreign exchange.
• International freeze and suspension of financial support, including loans for vital projects by western countries and their institution like the World Bank. Consequence – several energy projects including exploitation of recently discovered oil and coal deposits would stall and many other projects would become white elephants like Moi’s.
• Western governments freeze of political leaders’ off-shore accounts. Consequence – even Uhuru’s millions of dollars in personal and company accounts would be affected.
• Closure of the inflow of western tourists the bulk of who sustain the country’s tourism industry, including Uhuru’s own hotels. Consequence – thousands of jobs would be lost.
• Boycott of Kenya’s mineral exports – including Kenyatta family’s Taita-Taveta gemstones exploits. Consequence – more jobs would be lost.
• Boycott of many other Kenyan export products. Consequence – thousands of families would suffer.
• Suspension of military equipment, training and defense co-operation when Al Shabaab is wreaking havoc and internal security is in shambles. Consequence – Kenya would suffer increased insecurity.
• Suspension of bilateral judicial, police and other democratic reforms support. Consequence – reforms hinged on the New Constitution implementation would be stalled.
• Suspension of western collaboration in social-cultural and educational exchanges. Consequence – research, educational, medical, technical and professional fields would suffer.
• Transfer of the international gem of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Habitat headquarters elsewhere – most likely a European capital. Consequence – Kenya would lose the revenue UNEP earns Kenya in foreign revenue paid for staff endowments and conferences.
• Migration and relocation of European business operations to other African countries like Rwanda, Tanzania or Uganda. Consequence – business opportunities and more job losses.
• Travel ban on Uhuru, Ruto and their cabinet secretaries and chief government officials. Consequence – Kenya will be viewed by the international community as a pariah state.

Kenyans have a clear choice of inflicting harm upon themselves and their country by electing Uhuru who is running away from justice or Raila, whose victory could wreak havoc upon the Kenyan nation. The balancing act is difficult and going by past experience in ethnic allegiance, a majority of the voters will leap before looking at where they will land. The only consolation would be that the consequential hardships the country will face could limit Uhuru and Raila term to five years only. There is also the option of the President being impeached but given the greed exhibited by elected leaders money could protect them.

Yet Kenyan voters also have the opportunity to elect a safe bet in the Amani (Peace) Coalition in the person of Uhuru’s age-mate Musalia Mudavadi or even younger Peter Kenneth of the Eagle Alliance. What special achievements can Uhuru or Raila accomplish that cannot be delivered by Mudavadi guided by the New Constitution and Vision 2030? Why do voters risk gambling with their country’s future?

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