Editorial

Why US Supported Election Fraud Against Raila Odinga

Raila Odinga

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Months before the now-disputed August 8 Kenyan election, US diplomatic authorities advised Washington to support Uhuru Kenyatta against Raila Odinga because the opposition leader “would not fit in with the Trump Administration’s strategic interests in the Horn of Africa and US wider interests in East and sub-Saharan Africa”.

The diplomatic viewpoint painted the opposition leader as an unreliable, almost reckless, politician. His entry would immediately expose Kenya to the ravages of ethnic strife as his Luo community and other minority tribes sought to assert themselves after decades of domination by Kenyatta’s Kikuyu tribe. As a nation, Kenya would quick unravel and end in collapse, they projected.

A leaked confidential State Department briefing note on “fall-out” from an opposition victory, quoting information from the US embassy in Nairobi, also linked Odinga to an international criminal syndicate with possible ties to terrorist groups.

“An Odinga victory would signify a CLEAR and PRESENT (emphasis in cable) danger to Kenya and the Horn of Africa by emboldening non-state actors with nefarious intentions and accelerate the proliferation of small arms in the already volatile region,” the cable dated June 6, 2017, warned.

The Americans, urging quiet support for Kenyatta’s Jubilee party through a robust voter education programme and encouraging massive voter turn-out, also appeared to be frightened by the prospect that Odinga would swing a traditional US ally into the arms of its global archrivals, China and Russia.

Doomsday-like projections of an upsurge in banditry, cattle rustling backed by Nasa (Odinga’s National Super Alliance); a breakdown of segments of the Kenyan economy with devastating spill-over effects across East Africa; and an increase in terror activities in Somalia once Kenyan troops are withdrawn as promised by the opposition leader are predicted amongst all sorts of mayhem in the cable.

The cable warns that, though unlikely, an Odinga victory could precipitate the collapse of Kenya as tribal rivalries explode into all-out conflict.

On the other hand, Kenyatta was described as a “valued ally” under whose leadership Kenya has continued its long history of being a reliable US partner.

The cable speaks of how Odinga’s alleged links to shadowy Chinese businessmen, powerful local corruption kingpins and international drug trafficking rackets through some of the individuals backing his campaign present a direct threat to US strategic interests.

Specifically mentioned is the “Haqqani Criminal Enterprise” which operates out of the tribal areas of Pakistan.

An Odinga victory, the cable advised, would also likely spawn insurrection and instability in the Muslim populated areas of Kenya once sharia law is introduced as reportedly agreed between him and hardline Islamic leaders.

Fears of Zimbabwe-style invasions and occupation of White-owned land interests in the vast wildlife sanctuaries and ranches in Laikipia are also captured in the briefing note.

Odinga is laying claim to victory in the polls although Kenyatta was declared duly elected president declared by that country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) over the weekend. The IEBC said Kenyatta was chosen by 8,216,331 (54.2%) voters against Odinga’s 6,816,037 (44.9%).

Violent protests and ethnic tensions reminiscent of the 2007/08 post-election violence have gripped parts of the country as Odinga calls on supporters to stay away from work ahead of Tuesday when he promises to announce what follows. The security forces are out on the streets and some people have been shot dead. Business, however, seemed to be slowly returning to normal in the country’s main towns by mid-Monday.

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