This is the first of three articles on Raila Odinga.
Next is: The other source of change in Kenyan politics
Last is: The Balkanization of Kenya
I started looking at Kenya yesterday as Pamela sent out word for help on trying to substantiate some things writers had seen going on there (and her most recent article here). As my readers know I am not an: African specialist, Kenya specialist, up on the tribal politics of Africa, or even having it impinge upon my consciousness overmuch. Put me more in the 'understanding the systems of organized crime and terrorism' arena, with all sorts of other fun bits of technological weirdness thrown in. Or just weirdness as the case may be. Still, even with basic historical overview of Africa, I can't say it has been in the forefront of my thoughts long or often.
Going from the colonial period, which was bad, to this period of kleptocracies, autocracies, totalitarian societies, tribal conflicts on a National scale, and the movement of drug runners, gun runners, organized crime and jihadis into the region is, in many ways, worse than mere imperial paternalism. But the political rule is that home grown despots are much more hated than far-off ones and 'all politics is local' thus making this as a better off deal than the previous period. If you trust in the inalienable rights of man, then you also trust that folks will come to a good end once they understand that they are the power in their lives, not the government.
Say, someone has let the folks there know of this concept, right?
So starting out on the pathway to enlightenment, which is less dark than totality but less light then the brightness of the sun doth shining upon solar reflecting mirrors, I put my ignorance to work for me and found the first name that I would never, ever think of when looking at Kenya. Really, there is no one I expected less to show up than Dick Morris (via opendemocracy.net). Mr. Schmoozer showing up in Kenya? WTF?
But, when Raila Odinga, the man who lost the election folks think he should have won, was looked at, things in the political landscape of Kenya suddenly came into focus as Dick Morris had, apparently, been helping out here and there for awhile now. So when you see things like Orange Democratic Movement (hearkening over the the Orange Revolution in Ukraine), a 'million person march' ala Louis Farrakhan's march and then other million person marches afterwards, and National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) hinting at Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition/PUSH, things did start to fall into place. Dick Morris is a past master at playing on such themes and would avail himself of any indigenous views along similar lines and help to make such things more palatable to the US political palate. Mind you these Kenyan versions have zero connection to the things they try to lead one to, but that isn't a worry if you are pushing talking points and not substance.
Now, popping back to the Open Democracy article, I will extract a small piece that let me get my bearings on how things went after the colonial period. It wasn't in-depth, that would come later... much later... but for a start it gets some of the 'lay of the land' down:
The founding president Kenyatta was Kikuyu, and the Central province, the country’s breadbasket, has better infrastructure that most regions in the country. Quite unsurprisingly, Majimbo (federalism) came to the fore during the referendum and subsequent election campaigns, as the best arrangement to even the country’seconomic disparities.Actually all of the tribes in Kenya have been uprooted during the colonial era, some just made better of that than others, but everyone has a grievance. That is the sort of thing that happens when railroads and workers camps go in: native folks end up having to live elsewhere. The Moi regime would make that *worse* and displace poor tribesmen of various ethnicities to keep a tribal ruling elite in power. That's right: elite Kikuyu would force their poor tribesmen to shift constantly so as not to vote against them.
It was rooted in earlier conflicts of the Moi era (1978 – 2002). Moi was from a minority tribe in the Rift Valley. This became an epicentre of politically instigated so-called “ethnic clashes" directed at migrant communities of Kikuyus and Luhyas, who were perceived as opposition supporters. The Moi regime orchestrated seasons of blood that recurred in election years between 1992 and 2002, pogroms that succeeded in scuttling the Kikuyu and Luhya vote as they were displaced during election time, while making a score for Majimbo proponents who believed (and possibly still do) its implementation includes expelling “foreign” tribes in their midst.
The 2005 constitutional review, which had been in abeyance for over a decade, provided a dress rehearsal for an ODM “people power” revolution. Its “Mt Kenya Mafia” sentiments were seen as a rebuttal against the conservative Kikuyu elite who had kept the country pretty much under their control. The ODM bigwigs followed a revolution manual where ethnicity was at the core of its propaganda machine. They were gearing up for the second phase of their propaganda war. This included whipping up ethnic animosities in which the Kikuyu were demonised, hiring pollsters to claim massive leads so as to demoralise and scuttle the rival vote while making constant claims of rigging to prepare the ground for rejecting the poll results if defeated.
Even in the referendum Odinga claimed a verdict in favour of the government would mean the contest had been rigged. In the event, the ODM won it resoundingly so claims of rigging did not arise. It was also seen as a vote-of-no confidence against the government, with Odinga temporarily asserting pressure on Kibaki to resign.
What is coming in to replace that is ethnically divisive politics of the 'ethnic people power' concept to use as a bludgeon against other ethnicities in Kenya. This is not Philippine People Power, crossing tribes and ethnicities to unite against a corrupt regime, nor is it precisely the Orange Revolution which has some elements of this in the pro-/anti-Russia blocs. No this is the 'People Power of the Balkans' sort, used to perform 'ethnic cleansing' and disruption based on ethnic alignment. Also note the Clintonesque 'pre-preparation' of the election battle to stage it so that even in losing you can claim victory due to vote rigging while, if you win, you keep silent. That is a 'double standard' and if a vote has problems even if you *win* you are to look into those problems so that they do not repeat in future elections. So by pitting ethnicity against ethnicity, rich against the poor, and by claiming victory no matter if you actually win or not, you end up with things like: the 2000 election in the US, voting in Venezuela, Mexico, Ukraine, and other places where this is performed. Like Weimar Germany.
This is *not* a pathway to clean elections, democracy and civil government, but one to chaos and authoritarian government with ethnic hatred and demonization as its basis. If you don't like the outcome of the last election and think it was rigged: demonstrate that problem and find ways to *fix it*. Playing divisive, power politics is not a long term help to you, your ideals or your Nation unless you are fixing yourself up to be a dictator. Then its a great way forward.
Onto Raila Odinga, the man behind the Orange Democratic Movement, National Rainbow Coalition, Million person march and instigator of the recent unrest due to losing a close election. Or maybe not, we will not know as Mr. Odinga does not want to go through the civil court system to work out problems with the election and, instead, looks towards marches and riots to cement his non-win victory. Back on 31 JUL 2007 The Standard, in Kenya, looked at MP Odinga and had some of the following as their viewpoint:
Apart from meeting the top executives in the US, other events lined up included hosting Kenyans at black-tie dinners where a plate went for $100 (Sh7,300). Other dinners he attended drew about 300 people, mostly organised by his supporters, who paid between $40 (Sh3,000) and $70 (Sh5,200) a plate.There is, apparently, corruption and personal profit being made by Raila Odinga by being a Member of Parliament, and then using those riches to further his political aspirations. Actually the political set-up in Kenya is so chaotic that none of the candidates standing for election for President is being backed by the parties that backed them for reform in 2002. In such an atmosphere it isn't so much which party backs you as who you know that can give you backing in whatever party you wind up in, plus a good communications strategy. That, for Raila Odinga gets to be a pretty lengthy list, after his being in government and a MP for his district.
His biography, Raila Odinga: An Enigma in Kenyan Politics, launched locally in July is selling at $50 (Sh3,650). The MP then left an indelible mark on his audience that he would stop at nothing short of the presidency.
"Raila is not talking as if he is prepared to play second fiddle to anyone. He is talking as the person who has put his whole in the coming presidential elections, which makes him a danger to the ODM-Kenya coalition," said Mr Maurice Mwangi of Maryland, who attended one of the dinners.
Raila’s list of local and foreign political friends — thought to be immensely wealthy — remains a closely guarded secret, for strategic reasons.
While still Energy minister, Raila re-established and nurtured his links with the Libyan Government of Col Muammar Gaddafi, where again he not only did good business in oil importation, but also got substantial material support during the 2002 General Election.
Besides supporting Raila’s political cause, the Libyans also played a key role in stabilising Raila in the oil business. Reliable sources say that Libyans bankrolled the Narc campaign with some $3 million (about Sh210 million), thanks to Raila’s good contacts in the oil-rich land of Gaddafi.
There is no doubt, therefore, that if Raila becomes the ODM-Kenya presidential candidate, he can once more count on massive financial support from the North African country.
Besides Libya, Raila enjoys good links with the South African Government of Mr Thabo Mbeki while in Nigeria, he is known to have strong links with Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, who was a long time close friend of Raila’s father, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
For Raila, the linkage between politics and business goes much deeper than petroleum business. It is significant that the Odinga family business, Spectre International Ltd, acquired the then state-owned Kisumu Molasses Plant soon after Raila started politically cooperating with Moi.
However, the Lang’ata MP has consistently argued that the acquisition of the molasses plant was purely a business deal, which had nothing to do with politics. But his critics point at the coincidence between the time his family acquired the parastatal and Raila’s shift of political alliance.
Former Commissioner of Lands Mr Sammy Mwaita offered to sell the 240 acres on which the Kisumu Molasses Plant is built to Spectre International on January 11, 2001 at a price of Sh3.6 million at a time when Raila started working closely with Moi. By June that year, he was Energy minister.
Acquisition of the molasses plant
Significantly, Spectre had applied for the same land in a letter of February 18, 1999, but the Government at the time had rejected the request. Titles were prepared in favour of Spectre on February 3, 2002 for a 99-year lease backdated to September 1, 2001.
When the Odinga family started the process that led to the acquisition of the molasses plant in 2001, Raila had already established good business contacts in South Africa. Energem Resources Incorporated, an international firm quoted on the Toronto Stock Exchange, had been looking for an investment opportunity in Kenya for a long time and the Kisumu Molasses Plant was just right.
Soon after taking over the plant from the Government, Raila struck a lucrative deal with Energem, whereby the Canadian firm bought 55 per cent of Kisumu Molasses plant.
The Canadians also ploughed in millions of dollars to rehabilitate the plant and it is today one of the country’s largest manufacturing concerns employing hundreds of people and producing at least 60,000 litres of industrial ethanol for local consumption and export
Back to his whirlwind tour: Raila visited Dubai on a business trip, where he attended the Dubai Grand Exhibition. Dubai is increasingly becoming a haven where big business deals in Asia are sealed, thus offering a fertile ground for the MP to oil his campaign machinery.
From Dubai, Raila headed to Seychelles for a holiday with his family. In January, Raila visited the UK to consult with experts on the way forward on constitution review.
It was after this that the National Democratic Institute (NDI) picked him as a member of a high-powered delegation to conduct a pre-election assessment in Nigeria. Here, NDI President Kenneth Wollack accompanied him. Incidentally, the NDI runs a political party finance initiative in some African countries and other parts of the world.
During his Nigeria visit, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) MP met President Obasanjo, a long time friend, who had been in office since 1999, but relinquished power this year.
The oil rich country is one of the key nations in Africa that the Lang’ata MP hopes would back his candidature. With a long list of oil magnates, Obasanjo could prove an invaluable ally.
Diaspora is an increasingly influential constituency
Earlier, Raila had been to Saudi Arabia and South Korea, the world’s 10th largest economy and one of the most technologically advanced. While in Seoul, Raila attended the International Peace Federation Conference and later used the opportunity to meet an influential religious leader of a church known to have millions of followers across the globe.
In May, Raila left for Germany, where he visited his former university, Magdeburg, on invitation. In June, Raila flew to the US, where he held talks with Senator Barack Obama, one of the candidates seeking the Democratic Party ticket to vie for the American presidency.
In July, Raila was in Australia for 10 days where he met businessmen and Kenyans living abroad. The visit also took him to Sydney, where he met more business executives and addressed Kenyans living in the city. The Diaspora is an increasingly influential constituency that observers argue the national political class can ignore at its own peril.
The list of his contacts that support him, just from the above, include:
Spectre International Ltd. - Odinga family business
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga - His father, deceased
Mohammar Kaddafy (or the spelling du jour)
Thabo Mbeki - South Africa
Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo - Nigeria
Energem Resources Incorporated - South Africa, Toronto Stock Exchange Listed
National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Kenneth Wollack - President NDI
Rev. Sun Myung Moon - Unification Church ( Unification Peace Tour 18 JUL 2006, Religion News Blog 26 AUG 2006, Lobbying Germany on behalf of Rev. Moon to end the entrance ban - open letter, signed )
Barack Obama - US Senator and Presidential candidate
And places with possible contacts:
Quite the laundry list of individuals and organizations, isn't it? Instead of tackling that directly, I'll use the indirect approach so we can get an idea of Raila Odinga's politics as of late, especially as it relates to the business world. One of the things that stands out is his opposition to privatize government corporations. Doing a quick check at the Business Daily Africa site one can find him opposing the privatization of Safaricom mobile phone (28 AUG 2007) and accused of being socialist and communist in favor of centralized economic management!
After that his committee would move to not accept the individuals nominated for the privitization positions. This would cause problems with small investors to the point where Mr. Odinga would need to allay fears by going to the stock exchange and allay the fears that he had caused by being seen as socialist/communist and centralizing in his outlook. You see it isn't socialism its 'controlled capitalism'! Yes government will just need to expand to exert this 'control'... just like the problem of having good crops ruining the economy because oversupply drives prices down and government has to buy up far more than it expected which causes deficeit spending. People would just starve amidst all the food!
On the conspicuous consumption side there is his 'first in Kenya' Hummer, that really does set him apart from all the limousine politicians... nothing says 'man of the people' like a H3. This is driven, so to speak, by the candidate's age and by this being his last chance to have any impact on Kenyan politics, as the next time around it is likely that the new, young professional class of Kenyans, especially in the Luo tribe, will displace the Odinga family dynasty. Not to speak of which many in what should be relatively safe districts feeling left out by the power-plays going on at the upper echelons of the parties involved.
There is, however, one very worrying part to all of this: the Memorandum of Understanding between Raila Odinga and the Moslems in Kenya to turn Kenya into a Sharia based nation and start to get an idea of where the money comes from as it is money that is in the driver's seat here. This starts with the corrupt politics of Raila Odinga (Source: 'How Rich is Raila?', African Press International, 26 APR 2007):
How Raila acquired his billions.A. K. Al Bakri & Sons Holding is the Saudi group headed by President & CEO Abdulkader Al Bakri, which has more outlets, subsidiaries and other companies than one can easily count. One of the prime contracts they would get is for the supply of jet fuel to Nairobi Airport, which allowed for undercutting of the competition there. This is the very same Abdulkader Al Bakri listed as a defendant in the First Amendment Complaint suit brought by various insurance companies against al Qaeda and associated organizations and individuals. Within that suit is mentioned documents (known as the Golden Chain document) picked up by Bosnian police on a raid on a charitable front organization for al Qaeda in Sarajevo. One of the listed documents is the "Tareekh Osama" ("Osama's History") in which Abdulkader al Bakri aka Abdel Qader Bakri gets a prominent listing:
Raila Odinga’s big break came in 2001 soon after he led his party, NDP, into a merger with KANU, the then ruling party. As Energy Minister in Moi’s government he was introduced to the family of Sheikh Abdukeder AlBakari, one of the richest families in Saudi Arabia with interests in petroleum drilling, petroleum exploration and export in the Middle East, Asia, USA and Africa.
Through the Saudi contacts,Raila was initiated into the lucrative world of oil business and soon enough he had joined the league of gig independent oil importers via his firm Pan African Petroleum Limited.
Industry sources say that one of the things that helped Raila make a quick buck in the oil business was a concessionary petroleum deal he struck with the Al Bakri Group where he was not only incorporated as a silent partner in the local arm of Al Bakri International but was also supplied with petroleum products from Saudi Arabia at subsidized prices which his firm would sell in the market at normal prices. That way,Raila was able to deftly beat the competition in oil business by occasional price undercutting.
While still Energy Minister,Raila re-established and nurtured his links with the Libyan government of Colonel Muammar Gadaffi where again he not only did good business in oil importation but also got substantial material support during the 2002 general elections.
Besides supporting Raila’s political causes, the Libyans also played a key role in stabilizing Raila in the oil business in a couple of ways. Industry sources say that between 2001 and 2002 when Raila served as Energy Minister,he received at least three consignments of petroleum products at very low prices which were later sold locally at market prices.
The overall turnover from the three Libyan consignments is reliably said to have been in the region of over half a billion shillings, a tidy sum of money in any language,enough to ensure that one crosses the Rubicon once and for all.
ABDEL QADER BAKRI (ABDULKADER [AL] BAKRI)And then particular to one of the bin Laden brothers:
CEO, Bakri Group of Cos
CEO, Al Bakri International Power Co. Ltd (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
CEO, Al-Bakri Shipping Group (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
CEO, Alkhomasia Shipping and Maintenance Company Ltd (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
CEO, Red Sea Marine Services (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
CEO, Diners Club International (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Bakri Group formed in April 2002 a JV with the Malaysian International Shipping
Corporation (MISC) to operate in Middle-East countries, including Yemen. MISC leased
super tanker MT Limburg when it was attacked on October 6, 2002, coming from Ra's
Tannura (Saudi Arabia).
WAIL (WAEL HAMZA JULAIDAN)So, when a man like Raila Odinga is linked with Abdulkader al Bakri, you are not making a minor connection, but one directly into al Qaeda. Such are the vagaries of making political bedfellows in other Nations.
Former Secretary General of the Muslim World League and Rabita Trust in Pakistan,
designated by the United States Treasury as SGDT
Receives donations from Suleiman Al Rashid, Abdulkader Bakri, Salahuddin Abduljawad,
Abdul Tahi Taher
Then there are some questions around the murder of Prof. Odhiambo Mbai in 2003, here seen by L. Muthoni Wanyeki in The East African on 22 SEP 2003:
Murder or assassination? That was the question on everyone’s mind last week, following the fatal shooting of Prof Odhiambo Mbai.On 19 SEP 2003 Raila Odinga would absolve the government of all blame in the murder (The East African via Waybackmachine):
About the fact that he was murdered, there is no doubt. I join other Kenyans in expressing my sympathies to members of his family as they struggle to come to terms with the loss. But was his murder an assassination?
If we define an assassination as a murder with a political motivation, the question that arises is what that motivation could have been.
Could his having chaired the devolution committee of the National Constitutional Conference be deemed sufficient motivation to classify his murder as an assassination? From comments made following his death, Prof Yash Pal Ghai apparently believes so. Particularly given that other members of Prof Mbai’s committee have since come forward with claims that they had received threats prior to his death.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that killing him no doubt would have an intimidating effect on members of his committee – particularly those who shared his own stand on devolution. But that effect has not stopped the committee from going on with its work. Nor has it stopped the NCC as a whole from convening. If anything, his death seems to have had the opposite effect – that of galvanising the NCC as a whole into appreciating the import and weight of its convocation.
It is for these reasons that I am presently loath to trace his murder to his involvement in the NCC. Although I could be – and willing to be – proved wrong.
Could his having been involved in the Liberal Democratic Party faction of National Rainbow Coalition then be deemed sufficient motivation to classify his murder as an assassination? Mirugi Kariuki’s warnings to Raila Odinga to recall the fate of Pio Gama Pinto, advisor to and ally of Oginga Odinga, lend some weight to this thesis – particularly as those warnings turned out to be unfortunately prophetic. And statements from many of the LDP aligned politicians show that they believe this thesis to be true.
What are the implications of assuming this thesis to be true? It is obvious that the National Alliance of Party Kenya faction of NARC seems to be increasingly intent on distancing Raila and LDP from the centre of power.
There is a possibility that the investigations will come up with answers that will satisfy Prof Mbai’s family’s need for justice. As well as our own need to understand what happened. So while we ignore the police’s admonition to refrain from crazy speculation, I will state only what cannot be disputed.
Whoever ordered this had ready and willing executioners for hire at hand. Thus, the bigger context is that of organised crime and insecurity. If there is anything that Prof Mbai’s untimely death pushes us to do, it is to address that context.
Cabinet Minister Raila Odinga yesterday absolved the Government from blame in the murder of Prof Odhiambo Mbai but maintained that it was an assassination.Yes, he would absolve the government even though the police investigation was ongoing. Mind you this is the committee that would be drafting up changes to the constitution of Kenya. On 12 JAN 2004 The East African Standard would be reporting the following (source: Africa News Update):
"Assassinations are not entirely the preserve of the Government and can be carried out by political opponents," he said.
Raila said the basis of his statement when he visited Nairobi Hospital upon receiving the news of Mbai’s shooting was based on earlier remarks by some of the delegates who Mbai had confided in.
He said Mbai had told some of the delegates that he "had been warned to slow down or will be slowed down."
"That was the basis of my statement at the time and I do not want to make any wild allegations or cast any aspersions. At times like this we have to maintain our cool," he said.
Raila, however, maintained that Mbai’s killing was an attempt to try and intimidate delegates at the ongoing National Constitutional Conference.
He argued that if Mbai’s killers were ordinary thieves they would have gone ahead to accomplish their mission in the house but said it is interesting that nothing was stolen.
Raila appealed to delegates to maintain their cool as the Government tries to solve the murder mystery.
Raila took issue with one of the dailies on their story of Raila’s stand on the murder. He said the daily had tried to portray him in negative light on his stand over the murder. "This is very irresponsible and I will begin to fight back," he said.
He described Mbai's murder as "cowardly, uncalled for, barbaric and primitive" and hailed the slain lecturer as one of the leading lights in the review process.
"The Government is not involved and it is getting to the root of the matter. Every effort is being made to track the killers and the President has personally expressed concern at the killing and wants the killers swiftly brought to book," he said.
Through what appeared to the casual observer as haphazard creation of districts, Moi had ensured that the majority of delegates to the national constitutional conference (the Bomas talks or circus depending on what side of the divide you are on) were from Kanu strongholds.This is hardball politics of the 'old school' which leads to much blood on the streets if it gets out of hand, which it has in Kenya. And Raila Odinga and his LDP faction of Narc, now the ODM, feels that it is 'entitled' to run Kenya. This is seen in a 2005 country report on Kenya at the World Bank:
These were to ensure that the Constitution that would come out of the ongoing process, was a document that would see Moi's cronies ride roughshod over others and probably fulfil the desire of the former president to rule for life in or outside State House.
And in their haste to see Moi out, the then opposition did not see the trap that had been laid for them by the former ruler.
Raila who has come to be credited with the distinction of bringing down the giant that was Moi and created a king out of Mwai Kibaki (when will Raila himself become the king?), knew then as he does now that the review process would be his surest vehicle to power.
And whether or not he was involved in the selection of the Bomas district delegates most of who are Kanu damu, he has utilised the review process to his best advantage.
So well has Raila tuned the chairman of the review process that Ghai had the audacity to come out with both guns blazing and the fire directed at the Government when the late head of the devolution committee at Bomas, Prof Odhiambo Mbai, was murdered.
It is not also lost on observers that the LDP wing of Narc has depicted their NAK colleagues especially those who come from the Mt Kenya region, as power hungry individuals (I am not sure they are not), who have no intention of sharing power with anybody else. Little wonder then, that the delegates will jeer at President Kibaki and cheer Raila.
Raila who for a while played the cat and mouse game with former President Moi inside Kanu, is now playing a similar game with the current regime. But this one has higher stakes - for while he wanted Moi to sort of hand over power to him, he now wants (and impatiently at that) to take over power from the group holding it albeit constitutionally.
But they did not reckon with the review process, especially the Bomas meeting and the influence the Langata MP would have there. Even if he shouts from the top of highest of mountains, any sane Kenyan will tell you Raila wants to be the Prime Minister of this country. This job as envisaged by Bomas will either give him the position he craves as the most powerful man in the country, or become the springboard he needs to leap to the presidency.
And therein lies his major partisan interest (they say that is what constitution-makings is all about) in the review process. And that is why the calls by their NAK counterparts to have the Bomas process abandoned and taken over by experts, is sending chills down the spines of loyal LDP leaders and followers.
But the review process especially Bomas and its chairman are giving the NAK power wielders sleepless nights too; so damning is their mission to stop the Bomas process that even the advisory services of shrewd former Safina leader and an erstwhile political enemy of Kibaki, Paul Muite are not enough. Checking the wrath of the Wanjikus at Bomas will require more muscle than can be flexed by the man whose bright political career was halted by the Goldenberg boss a few years ago.
This group has tasted power and at it rawest at that. They are surrounding a president who is not 100 per cent hands on because of a temporary health problem brought about by an accident just before last year's General Election.
The President's handlers know that with a powerful prime minister, they will not have much breathing space and if that premier is Odinga, they will most likely not even be anywhere near the seat of power.
It soon became clear that NARC was seriously divided between the largely pro- Kibaki NAK (the "original" opposition grouping) and the LDP, under its de facto leader, Mr Odinga, which had defected from KANU. The two factions profoundly disagree over the proposed new constitution, and in particular over whether Kenya should stick with a presidential style of government, as has been the case since independence-the NAK view-or switch to a primeministerial system, as favoured by the LDP. Kenya does not currently have a prime minister, but the final draft constitutional proposals that emerged from the National Constitutional Conference (held at Bomas, a town outside Nairobi) in March 2004 call for the creation of such a position, with strong executive powers. The LDP's stance is partly motivated by the belief that it is "owed" the prime-ministership under the terms of the pre-election Memorandum of Understanding. The NAK opposed a powerful presidency during the Moi era, but is now keen to preserve Mr Kibaki's authority. The Kibaki camp believes that having twin centres of power would be a recipe for conflict and confusion. Mr Kibaki had originally promised a new constitution within 100 days of being elected, but this was a forlorn hope and the deadline has been extended several times. Under the latest plan a new constitution is due by the end of 2005, although further delays are possible (see Constitution, institutions and administration).Now are we starting to get an idea of what kind of individual Raila Odinga is?
Then there is Raila Odinga's Memorandum of Understanding with the Moslems in Kenya to turn the Nation into an Islamic State. Here is an excerpt from that agreement (via Wikileaks) and thanks to Pamela where I am cribbing this from:
b) Within 6 months re-write the Constitution of Kenya to recognize Shariah as the only true law sanctioned by the Holy Quran for Muslim declared regions.The entire document is really quite an eye-opener, but the import of it is most chilling, considering the connections to Al Bakri and Kaddafy. Add that in with suspicious assassins at hand and one really does start to wonder just what is up with Raila Odinga.
c) With immediate effect dismiss the Commissioner of Police who has allowed himself to be used by heathens and Zionists to oppress the Kenyan Muslim community.
g) Within one year facilitate the establishment of a Shariah court in every Kenyan divisional headquarters. [Note: everywhere in Kenya, not just in "Muslim declared regions."]
A quick recap on Raila Odinga:
-Son of a former leader Oginga Odinga
-Utilizing a position of power to enrich his family business
-Utilizing a position of power to get contacts with a Saudi backer of al Qaeda
-Utilizing a position of power to get contacts with the Libyan leader Mohammar Gaddafy
-Utilizing a position of power to assure himself of petty luxuries, junkets and spending time with the rich and powerful across the globe
-Seeking to influence the constitutional drafting committee to ensure that the Prime Minister under the revised constitution will be more powerful than the President
-Feeling "owed" the Prime Minister's position
-Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Muslim population (roughly 10% of Kenyan's are Muslim) to shift Kenya towards Islam and becoming an Islamic state.
-Utilizing his contacts to bring in political advisor Dick Morris
-And close association with US Senator Barack Obama
So, to sum it up: Mr. Odinga feels 'entitled' to be Prime Minister of Kenya so as to turn it into a Sharia law following Islamic State.
Given that one wonders why Barack Obama decided to take sides in the Kenyan problems, beyond his heritage there and talks with Raila Odinga who considers Obama to be a friend. I don't go for the 'intuitive grasp' concept of personal politics for foreign policy, as I didn't with the current President and Putin. There are enough problems via the State Dept without those personal feelings adding into the mix.
That is, however, just me. YMMV.
But then Sen. Obama has had some problems with this 'foreign policy' concept, hasn't he?
Take for example, Iran, as seen in an interview with the Chicago Tribune on 25 SEP 2004 (via Sourcewatch):
[T]he big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures [to stop its nuclear program], including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point ... if any, are we going to take military action?Another lovely site that no leftist should complain about, the World Socialist Web Site, gives a further look on that interview in a 01 OCT 2004 article:
In an interview with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune published September 26, Democratic Senate candidate Barack Obama said he would favor the use of “surgical” missile strikes against Iran if it failed to bow to Washington’s demand that it eliminate its nuclear energy program. Obama also said that, in the event of a coup that removed the Musharraf regime in Pakistan, the US should attack that nation’s nuclear arsenal.And here we get yet another place that Sen. Obama would use force: Pakistan!
Why, the man is a virtual *hawk*, no?
Then the WSWS gives us a bit more from the interview:
He said: “With the Soviet Union, you did get the sense that they were operating on a model that we could comprehend in terms of, they don’t want to be blown up, we don’t want to be blown up, so you do game theory and calculate ways to contain. I think there are certain elements within the Islamic world right now that don’t make those same calculations.”Yes! Contingent risk analysis, exactly right! Which is, BTW, one of the reasons it became repugnant to let Saddam Hussein let everyone think he still *had* chemical and possibly biological weapons AND consort with all sorts of terrorists from al Qaeda to the PLO to various other groups less savory around the world.
In the case of Pakistan, the Senate hopeful added, “I think there are elements within Pakistan right now—if Musharraf is overthrown and they took over—I think we would have to consider going in and taking those bombs out, because I don’t think we can make the same assumptions about how they calculate risks.”
Yes this is the man who is for the 'politics of change'.
One would have thought it would be change for the *better* not for supporting an individual who wish to take over their country to make it an Islamic State.
Not to throw out empty rhetoric of saber rattling unless you actually mean what you say and support those that wish to hold Iran and the Islamic extremists and terrorists accountable. If that is the case Sen. Obama should have been voting for a stronger military so that the US can be prepared for an uncertain future going from bad to worse as terrorists of the Islamic kind only see Empire in their future.
Instead it is platitudes and never backing up a tough idea with actual commitment to it.
He puts forward the 'politics of hope'.
Hope is many things.
Hope is a feeling and a strong one.
Hope is an idea that by working a future can be built that is better, if you hold to keeping others accountable for their actions.
Hope, most notably, is a town in Arkansas.
What it is NOT, however, is a strategy nor a foreign policy.
Sen. Obama wishes to be President.
It is time for him to back up his words and disavow friends wishing to institute tyranny because they feel that is what they are 'owed' and it is their 'right' to kill their way to power on the bodies of the innocent that they inspire to riots and murder.
But that is not 'politics of hope' or 'politics of change': it is actually meaning what you say and backing it up so that you can demonstrate that you have some moral fiber or set of beliefs that go beyond the words you speak.
So far, he has not met that challenge to himself.
The next President will be a War President.
Choose wisely as your life depends upon it.
War is a blessing compared with national degradation.