This is the last piece in my series on Kenyan politics.
The first is here.
The second is here.
Three people were reported dead, a church and two petrol stations set ablaze, and five cars torched. (Daily Nation, Nairobi, Jan. 3) Reuters reports from the ethnically-mixed, impoverished Nairobi district of Mathare which residents have renamed "Kosovo"—violently contested by Kikuyu gangs such as the Mungiki and a Luo militia calling itself the "Taliban." (Reuters, Jan. 3)
This is, perhaps, the most chilling view to have been taken of Kenya, to-date, the beginning of Balkanization pitting ethnic identity against same, tribe against tribe, group against group. And the people in Mathare district have properly pinned it the first time out. Even though this is not the 'radical Islamic' type of Taliban, there are a lot of Muslims supporting Raila Odinga, as demonstrated by the MoU with the Islamic Community and his winning a district where the Somali Islamic Courts Union had recruited teenagers to fight for them. And the stoking of ethnic hatred using an extremist form as a template is absolutely chilling.
As seen in this 02 JAN 2008 AP article by Katherine Houreld at WTOPnews, the political instigation is clear:
Although Kikuyus control much of the retail sector and are proud of their reputation for entrepreneurship, they insist they don't stop anyone else from making money.
In recent years, Kenya has seen record economic growth, but the mushrooming high rises and luxury cars inspired resentment among the millions left behind. Odinga's campaign slogan was whittled down to a single cry _ "change."
"We voted for change," Odinga supporter James Okidi shouted during an opposition protest. "If Kibaki can't give us our president, the mortuaries are not yet full," said Okidi, one of hundreds of thousands of impoverished, unemployed young men living in Kenya's most desperate areas.
But the violence is not confined to the Kikuyus and Luos. Anyone who is from a region perceived to have voted for the other candidate is a target.
Thieves and thugs have also compounded the chaos. A feared Kikuyu criminal gang, the Mungiki, has re-emerged in the slums after a police crackdown last year.
A recruiter for the Mungiki gang, which is blamed for a string of beheadings last year, said residents were appealing for help. Fearing arrest, the recruiter refused to give her name.
With police unable to control the violence, the Kikuyus say they will defend themselves.
Yes the lovely 'change' by Raila Odinga, trumpeted by his US close friend, Sen. Barack Obama. As I looked at earlier, oil and drug money have compromised the police both at the National and local level to the point of inability to uphold the law. A pre-cursor to this is having transnational organized crime functionaries coming in to 'help' police eliminate any free speech that might show ties between politicians to terrorism and organized crime. With the police still reeling from those problems, the violence after the last elections is something it cannot handle, and the divisive nature of that contest is now eroding the internal fabric of Kenyan society.
For the origins of the 'Taliban' of Kenya we can see that in this article from the BBC of 08 NOV 2006 when the previous election caused gang violence, although not on the scale of the recent work:
The BBC's Gray Phombeah in Nairobi says the banned Mungiki sect is inspired by the bloody Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s against the British colonial rule.
Thousands of young and poor Kenyans - mostly drawn from Kenya's largest tribe, the Kikuyu - have flocked to the sect whose doctrines are based on traditional practices.
According to Reuters news agency, police arrested their leader over killings and running extortion rackets among transport operators.
The Taliban were formed in Kenya's western city of Kisumu in the 1990s and are reputed to organise political violence but have no religious affiliation, unlike the Afghan Islamic fundamentalist group from which they took their name, AFP news agency reports.
Well, second hand, at best, but going back to the 1990's starts to put one into the frame of mind that there is a longer-lasting view going on here. Mind you the al Qaeda network infiltrated into Kenya in the 1990's, too, so it is interesting to see a Taliban named group show up even if it has less religious affiliation and more on the pure violence side. There have been multiple flare-ups of gang violence in Kenya, do not be mistaken, but there has not been something on the scale of magnitude of these post-election riots and ethnic violence before.
From Newsweek, 08 JAN 2008:
The poison is manifesting itself through what could be called the gangs of Nairobi, the swarming multitudes of young men who have begun patrolling the slums with machetes, axes—anything they can find to protect themselves from one another and from the swelling tide of resentment that the election and its handling have cast over the city. In its crudest form the gangsterism has taken on tribal overtones. On one side are the Mungiki, the self-proclaimed protectors of the Kikuyu, but also of the disenfranchised, the poor and the outcast. On another are crowds of enraged Luo tribesmen, whose anger over the disputed election results that kept their candidate, Odinga, from taking office, have contributed to the looting, burning and killing across the country. The result, at least in the hives of Nairobi's ghettos, places like Kibera and Mathare, is a tense standoff between groups of armed men and a pervading sense of unease about the ability or willingness of either side to back off.
In one such slum, known as Area 3—a sprawl of tin-roofed shacks, supermarkets and community centers that have been burned to the ground over the last two weeks—a lumbering Luo man wearing a New York baseball cap and carrying a 10-inch machete tucked into his jeans, escorted a NEWSWEEK reporter into a Luo safehouse. "Don't worry," he said, "it's safe here." The man, who called himself Titus, was a security escort for this group of Luo vigilantes, who have taken to calling themselves "Taliban," partially in emulation of the draconian tactics of the Afghan tribesmen who enforced law and order through the barrels of their AK-47s. Looking out onto the street, these Luo Taliban searched the area for the men they now perceive as their sworn enemies: the Kikuyu Mungiki gangs who have taken up positions at intersections and alleyways. Taliban members see themselves as providing security and justice. They first became active the day after the elections. Their men, typically tall and built like heavyweight boxers, light fires and sleep with groups of unaffiliated volunteers outside apartment buildings and shanty towns at night, trying to allay the fears of restless women and children. Last Saturday night Taliban members tried unsuccessfully to dynamite a small bridge that links a Kikuyu area to a smaller Luo area where a now vacant tenement building had been attacked.
The conflict has pitted tribes, voting blocs and even best friends against one another. The majority Kikuyu and the Kamba tribes are together. Kenya's third- and fourth-largest tribes, the Kalenjin and the Luo, as well as a hodgepodge of many of the country's 40-odd tribes, have also forged an alliance. "Everything is different now. It's all tribes and partisans," said Rogers Wanyonyii, a 35-year-old teller at a currency exchange bureau who was hovering near a group of Luo men clutching makeshift weapons outside a barricaded restaurant in Taliban stronghold Area 4-A. "What I see isn't Kenya; it's like war." Given the tensions between the Taliban and the Mungiki, that war isn't likely to end anytime soon.
This is not the description of a society heading towards societal reconciliation or accommodation, it is one as seen in the Balkans, Pakistan, Philippines, and Thailand, that is coming apart at the seams through 'identity politics' driven by external funds and local predators. From the Daily News of Zambia comes this article of 24 JAN 2008, and to those remembering Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo, it has chilling echoes to it:
NAIROBI: At least four people were killed in Kenya overnight, police said today, as rival tribes and gangs fought in clashes linked to last month's disputed presidential election.
Police shot dead two men in the central Kenyan town of Limuru when members of President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe started evicting residents of rival tribes from their homes. In the Nairobi slum of Kariobangi, a man was hacked to death in overnight fighting between rival tribal gangs.
"One tribe is evicting the other from houses, but police are moving to end the problem," a police official said.
He said the fighting was pitting the Mungiki gang against another of Luo tribesmen, which calls itself the Taliban and is loyal to opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Serious ethnic cleansing is the removal of ethnic groups from neighborhoods or entire towns, so as to make them 'ethnically pure'. That, in Kosovo, was the precursor to civil war across the Balkans which would demonstrate that the region's renown for ethnic strife was well put. Even worse are the echoes of Lebanon in the gang warfare which, at its worse, saw various groups that would defend entire square blocks and even make a flag for their little portion of the world they defended. That, too, is starting in Kenya, although it hasn't gotten to the 'flag for every group' yet. This from a 22 JAN 2008 Newsweek article on how to choose a gang name in Kenya:
Of the more than 20 gangs and their tribal and ideological affiliates reportedly active across Kenya, the dizzying list is checkered with a number of strange, and some might say confounding monikers for African gangs: the Kosovo Boys, the Republican Council, the Dallas Muslim Youth. And that’s to say nothing of the most feared and notorious of the Kenyan vigilante forces, the Mungiki, whose name is actually somewhat fitting, if even a bit tame given their affinity for decapitating people. Mungiki means “multitude”, and there really are many of them, with over a million members across Kenya.
As Kenya has descended into a political and tribal melee following its questionably democratic elections, feared gangs of new and old have reassembled and returned to the streets. Some religious, some tribal, some ragtag and just out to burn and loot, the outbreak of violent clashes that’s killed more than 650 people across the country since the Dec. 27th elections may be crippling the Kenyan economy, but it's been good for business amongst gangs who thrive on the absence of stability. Across Kenya, vigilante forces like the Taliban are out settling scores, offering “protection” to their impoverished neighbors and standing armies for wealthy political and tribal backers.
The presence of gangs, even ineptly named ones, is not new here in Kenya. According to William Gituru, a Kenyan academic and social counselor familiar with gangs and sectarian vigilante groups across the country, these groups tend to go for names that reflect the dark character of their activities. “These guys do nasty stuff, they are used by politicians for their dirty jobs, so they want to show their toughness.“
There really isn’t a fitting word, or a printable name, to describe what’s become of Kenya over the past few weeks. Even today few Kenyans--let alone diplomats--seem to have a clue how to forge a political solution, let alone what will happen next. In the meantime, the African Cup of Nations soccer tournament began in Ghana this week, which many Kenyans seem to be welcoming as a unifying, safe distraction from the problems facing their nation today.
Quite a bit of the division in Kenya does not lie just, or even primarily, in today's violence. This is an outgrowth of a decades long, simmering societal problem dating back to the beginning of the post-colonial era in Kenya and its main factions *then*. At Frontline (PBS) Edwin Okong'o offers a brief recap on that era from 09 JAN 2008:
Odinga and Kibaki are generals in a continuous tribal conflict between the Kikuyu and the Luo that is as old as the country itself. In 1963, when the British handed power to Kenyatta, Odinga's father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, became the vice president. But the two had conflicting political ideologies. Odinga was a socialist, and Kenyatta a capitalist. Their strong differences led to Odinga's resignation from the vice-presidency. He also quit the ruling Kenya African National Union and formed his own party, Kenya People's Union, supported mainly by the Luo, who considered him their hero.
In 1969, the row between Luos and Kikuyus deepened. A prominent Luo politician and Cabinet minister named Tom Mboya was assassinated in Nairobi. His death angered the Luo, who saw the killing as a continuation of Kenyatta's efforts to eliminate their leaders and marginalize their minority tribe. Later that year, Odinga and Kenyatta exchanged harsh words at a public function in Kisumu, Odinga's stronghold in western Kenya and one of the cities most affected by the current violence. The incident led to the stoning of Kenyatta's motorcade by a Luo mob already angered by Mboya's death. Seven people were killed when the president's guard opened fire at the mob. Two days later, Kenyatta ordered Odinga arrested and sent him to detention, where he spent two years. Odinga would remain politically inactive until Kenyatta's death in 1978.
With his formidable challengers out of the way, Kenyatta continued to fill top government jobs with Kikuyus and a few other related tribes from the Mt. Kenya area. He is said to have told his tribesmen to steal as much as they could as long as they didn't get caught. This is believed to be the beginning of the rise of the Kikuyu oligarch and the rest of the country's resentment of them.
Unfortunately, opposition politicians continue to use the fact that most members of Kenya's business elite are Kikuyus to rally their own tribesmen against the majority Kikuyu. Politicians like Odinga ignore the fact that millions of Kikuyus live in extreme poverty.
The fact that Luos consider Odinga's family regal makes it almost blasphemy to doubt or criticize him. They tend to believe everything he says. For example, in 2005, a newspaper reported that politicians told residents of a Luo town not to bother reading a new government-sponsored constitution before voting on it because Odinga had read it for them. When such loyalists hear Odinga say, as he did many times during his campaign, that Luos and other tribes are poor because of Kikuyus, they do not question him. No one dares bring up the fact that in the 15 years he has been in Parliament, this self-proclaimed champion of the poor has done very little to end the plight of nearly a million residents of Kibera, Africa's largest slum, located in the heart of his constituency, and scene of some of the worst recent rioting.
Kikuyu politicians also play the same game. Even though, like Odinga, they have done very little to end the miseries of their poor tribesmen, they often use tribe to stay in power. They propagate fear by claiming that everyone is out to persecute Kikuyus and that the only way to avert danger is to vote for a Kikuyu president. Such fear mongering might explain why nearly all people from the Kikuyu areas voted for Kibaki. There are also rumors that Kikuyu politicians have taken traditional oaths similar to those of the Mau Mau during the fight for independence, vowing to do everything possible to make sure the presidency stays within the Kikuyu tribe.
Yes, the Cold War would seep into many places and chill already existing societal differences into opposing factions that would then seek to gain power for their 'side' or that of their backers. Once established the politics of division and 'identity' become paramount, beyond ideology: socialism becomes a mouthed word, as does capitalism, and they are replaced with the identity backing those words. Without the backing of the original ideology, however, there is some question if those splits would have happened or if they would have formed along exclusively tribal lines. That, however, points to an article by Anne that she put in my message on another post.
This from Sunday Standard 11 JUL 2004 article How Kenya’s best kept secret became a hotbed of insurgents By John Kamau:
Dateline: Saturday, December 12, 1964. At around 3 pm, just as Kenya turned into a republic, the newly sworn-in President Jomo Kenyatta’s convoy drove from State House, Nairobi to the flag-decked Thika Road to officially open what he described as "Kenya’s best kept secret" and Jamhuri Day’s "big surprise" – the so-called Lumumba Institute.
He didn’t know it was a communist school of politics designed to topple him.
Forty years later, questions are still asked about how the new Vice President, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, managed to trick Kenyatta to approve a plot to topple him. It was a move that not only left top schemer Tom Mboya dazed but also confused Kenyatta’s inner circle — composed of Mr Mbiyu Koinange, Mr James Gichuru, and Dr Njoroge Mungai.
And when they realised what had happened they threw senior Chinese and Russian "spies" stationed at the institute out of the country. Others simply disappeared.
"It was simply a scheme to remove Kenyatta via the party but I think Oginga Odinga was too fast and politically impatient," Nairobi politician Wanguhu Nganga, who was the institute’s deputy principal, told the Sunday Standard this week.
So embarrassing is this episode of Kenya’s history that it is hardly talked about. The Lumumba Institute, now known as Pan African Christian College, a bible school off Thika Road, is long forgotten, hiding its Cold War past in the 20-acre land that had been purchased by Odinga for purposes of the plot.
To the Kenyatta government Lumumba Institute was a dream come true for the ruling party Kanu, which, it was thought, would now have a base to train its members, activists and youth wingers.
The building of the institute was a state secret — at least as Kenyatta and his inner circle knew. But one man, the newly appointed Vice President Odinga, knew another meta-secret about the institute.
Although, Kenyatta was the only other trustee of the institute besides Odinga, the President didn’t know that Lumumba Institute was part of a communist plot to train radicals who would later stage a coup within the ruling party, Kanu, to replace the West-leaning politicians with a new cabal led by Odinga.
And on July 16, 1965, some 16 days after the first batch of 84 students graduated from the institute, they staged a "coup" at the Kanu headquarters, then at Nairobi’s Mfang’ano Street, and ostensibly "removed" the entire Kanu leadership apart from Kenyatta and Odinga.
We can now reveal that behind the scenes, other than Odinga, was a key Chinese undercover agent, Mr Wang Te Ming, who travelled on a diplomatic passport and masqueraded as a journalist. Ming was once a Chinese volunteer soldier during the Korean War and had risen to the rank of a major.
Another plotter was a South African communist, Mr Hosea Jaffe, a Cape Town University-trained engineer who was teaching mathematics at the Duke of Gloucester School, now Nairobi School. He was kicked out of Kenya on the orders of Dr Njoroge Mungai just after the coup at Kanu headquarters.
The key words here were "socialism", "imperialists", and "their agents". As Kenyatta cut the tape to formally open the institute, Lumumba’s brother stood by and somehow, may be as a result of political naivety, Kenyatta missed the fine print. He also hardly noticed the many under-cover agents who were to work with Odinga on the Lumumba project.
Unknown to many, the 20-acre land on which the institute stood had been bought by Odinga and the buildings erected in a record five months at a cost of 27,000 pounds (current rates Sh3.5 million) with funding from communist countries. Initially there were two old buildings on the farm. One building was occupied by the principal, New Delhi-trained political scientist Mathew Mutiso, the father of Kilome MP John Mutinda Mutiso, who was born at the institute.
The second was occupied by Wanguhu Ng’ang’a, the deputy principal, while the registrar, F. Oluande occupied a new maisonette. There was also the Kenyatta Conference Hall and a kitchen that had been built with funds from East Germany.
Kenyatta had left Odinga to coordinate the building and running of the institute, a brainchild of the VP’s. Odinga handpicked the socialist-leaning Kaggia as the chairman of the board of management.
"Although we were all leftists, and had leftist ideologies, we were independent of Odinga and were not under the thumb of anybody," says Ng’ang’a, who trained in Czechoslovakia as a journalist.
Other members of the board included another communist, Mr Pio Gama Pinto, Mr Ochieng Aneko, Mr S. Othigo Othieno, Mr Kungu Karumba, Mr Fred Kubai, Mr F Oluande, Mr Paul Ngei, and Mr Joseph Murumbi – a well groomed set of communists and their sympathisers.
Pio Gama Pinto, an avowed communist, had spent much of his time fundraising for the institute and wanted it to succeed.
The curriculum had been selected methodically — general principles of socialism, history of political organisation, African road to socialism, Kiswahili, Accounts and, oh well, the biography of Jomo Kenyatta.
Donations to the institute had started to flow in from Eastern Europe. On March 4, 1965, Odinga received books, blankets and two cinema vans from Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, East Germany and China.
Two weeks later, the first batch of 114 students — mainly district Kanu officials consisting of chairmen, secretaries and treasurers — joined. Odinga had brought in two Russian "lecturers", Mr Alexei Zdravomyslova and Mr Andrei Bogdanov to teach "principles of socialism".
"They were very social, very human," says Ng’ang’a, but couldn’t tell whether they were into any mischief. Other teachers besides Mutiso, and Nganga, included Mr J. Thuo, Mr S. Nzioki, Mr J Wanyonyi, and (Prof) Munoru.
Odinga’s project had started in earnest with Russians and Chinese working behind the scenes to help him ascend power through a party takeover.
Yes, the ideology still exists as State-centric, State-controlled views on politics, economics and freedom... or lack of same. What is interesting is that the beginnings of the Lumumba Institute were not unknown outside of Kenya at the time. In an article titled Lumumba Jumbo, Time magazine reported on it on 25 DEC 1964, and a not-so-merry Christmas was had:
Four years after his death, a lot of people talk as if Patrice Emergy Lumumba were still the Congo. In and out of the U.N., African leftists and their Communist backers seem determined to turn Lumumba into a martyr-saint. Bulgaria and Albania joined last week to praise the "great Congolese patriot" who symbolized the "heart of Africa" but was "brutally assassinated." The Ethiopian and Guinean delegations compared him to Hammarskjöld, while the Mali representative went one better and compared him to Hammarskjöld and John Kennedy.
Throughout the Communist bloc and in much of Africa, Lumumba's name, with its rhythm of jungle drums, is invoked by innumerable agitators. It is also borne by hundreds of streets, dozens of schools. Moscow has its Patrice Lumumba Friendship University for foreign students, Belgrade its Patrice Lumumba student home. In Castro Cuba, romantically inclined young workers find togetherness in Patrice Lumumba social centers. Last week in Kenya, the brand new $120,000 Lumumba Institute, built with Russian and Chinese money, opened its doors to "rehabilitate the minds of Kenyans from a colonial mentality and teach them how to sacrifice themselves for the good of the country and of Africans as a whole."
The article then goes on to take a look at Patrice Lumumba and his ill-fated rise to power and incompetence in governing. But it is disturbing that 'rehabilitate the mind' was a generally known concept of 'indoctrination' during the Cold War era - a phrase used by the Communists to mean just that. By 07 MAY 1965, Time magazine would begin documenting the problems of Kenya in an article entitled A Different Direction:
Teetering between the rival factions in Kenya's one-party government, President Jomo Kenyatta for months let pro-Communist Vice President Oginga Odinga have his way more often than seemed wise. For one thing, Moscow had financed the Lumumba Institute seven miles outside Nairobi, providing two Russian instructors in the Leninist art of political action. Then Odinga negotiated a deal for a shipload of Soviet arms for Kenya, which the Russians seemed only too eager to provide absolutely free of charge. Odinga meanwhile hustled around making anti-Western speeches, and verbally sniping at the more moderate members of Kenyatta's Cabinet.
Last week Jomo decided that enough was enough. In a brisk series of actions, Kenyatta made it clear to Odinga and the Communists that his regime had a different direction in mind. Among them:
> Publication of a manifesto on African socialism, the first sober attempt to limn a realistic concept out of the woolly catch phrase so beloved of African speechmakers. Remarkably restrained and reasoned, it rejects 19th century capitalism and 20th century Communism as a model for emergent African society. Instead, the document points to a mixed economy very like modern Britain or Sweden, strongly emphasizes individual political freedoms. Though Kenyatta insisted that the paper, written by Economics Planning Minister Tom Mboya, was approved by all his Cabinet, it was clearly a bitter blow for Odinga.
> Outright rejection of the Soviet arms. Just before the freighter Fizik Lebedev was due to arrive last week, a vanguard of 17 Russian "technicians" flew in from Moscow. One was reportedly a general, and all seemed to have in mind a lengthy stay. Not so. Jomo called in the Soviet ambassador, told him to send back his tanks, guns and technicians. Later he explained to a press conference: "All the arms are old, secondhand, and would be of no use to the modern army of Kenya."
> Official takeover of the Lumumba Institute, thus frustrating its possible use as a Communist indoctrination center. Parliament resoundingly agreed as Mboya declared that Kenyatta's original plans for the Lumumba Institute had been "completely distorted," and that "we want to remove this impression that it is an ideological institute, because it is not."
Yes one does not have to be pro-US to be anti-Communist, and that fine line walked by Jomo Kenyatta and his thwarting of Oginga Odinga would solidify the lines along post-colonial Kenya's ideologies and, then, tribes, as the ideologies passed but the resentment of being stopped from performing a coup lingered for decades until the present day. As an article hosted at Zibb by The Nation/All Africa Global Media of 26 NOV 2007 would point out, the original post-colonial ideologies have quieted serving as only a backdrop for running a political campaign, but the ethnic divisions that backed those ideologies live on. Raila Odinga utilizes those views to try and stop privatization of government companies, like its cell phone network, and doesn't call the idea of government held companies by the name of socialism but, instead, 'controlled capitalism'. Actually most Nations do have some form of that, even the US, but the idea of expanding government control to more businesses winds up with things like a good year for crops ruining the economy. These all trace back to Oginga Odinga and his Soviet backed ideology holding sway for him and his son, going to a Communist college.
What would work against the Soviets, however, was something unforeseen at the time: the Ethiopian-Kenyan Defense Pact. This was driven not by the USSR or USA, but by the post-colonial period and the view of having a "Greater Somalia". From a Command and Staff College overview of Why the Ogaden War? published in 1986 (Source: Globalsecurity) we get a thumbnail of the conflict that would start then and then shift guises over the ensuing decades and still remain as a problem today:
As an area without obvious physical boundaries, the Horn of Africa is somewhat difficult to define precisely. In present and in past times, this has contributed to long standing conflicts. Politically and internationally the Horn is the area comprised of four states: The Somalia Republic along the east coast of the Indian Ocean; Djibouti, an enclave at the southern end of the Red Sea; Ethiopia in the center; and Sudan which stretches deep into the Sahara desert. (See map 1). Ethnically, the Horn is defined as the territory inhabited by a Somalia-speaking population.3 Geographically, this is perceived as the Ethiopian Ogaden, the Kenyan North Eastern Province (formerly known as North Frontier District - NFD), and part of the Republic of Djibouti. (See map 1).
On 26 June 1960, the British Somalialand became an independent state. Four days later, the Italian Somalialand achieved its independent, and the two were united by a hastly concluded treaty. The accords established a unitary republic with northern and southern regions. On the flag of the new state there was a five pointed star. The British had organized and trained the leaders of the Somalia SYC to realize the dream of greater Somalia. Consequently, generation of Somalis are being borne with the conception of greater Somalia claiming parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti.
The Republic of Somalia with muit-party [sic] politics had a potential to lure the Western influence. However, her obsession with greater Somalia proved an obstacle considering her neighboring countries were also subjects of Western influence. Failing to lure a consolidated support from the West, especially its former colonial masters. Somalia condemned Great Britain for not handing over to her the Northern Frontier Region of Kenya. In March 1962, she broke off diplomatic relationship with Britain. It must be remembered that British first floated and nurtured the idea of "Greater Somalia". The relationship even got worse when Prime Minister Mohammed Ibrahim Egal made a public statement to the effect that "Reclaiming our land and their people..." was in fact in accordance with Somali proverb of "Stand with one leg ready for war and the other ready for peace."10 It was Somali's leg of war that eventually become a point of discord between Somalia and the West. Early in 1961, after failing to obtain military aid to staff its 20,000 man Army, Somalia turned to the East.
During the period between 1961 and 1967, Somalia continued to support the insurgent movement known as "Shifta" in the region in search of liberating the lost land. However, its meager economy could not sustain the country's badly needed development; therefore, there was political turbulence. After the 1969 elections, there ensued political parties coalition which was marred by fraud and intimidation. Senior government officials submitted their resignation following an uproar in the government. The Prime Minister reshuffled senior police offic- ials in key electoral districts in his efforts to restore stabil- ity within the government and the country. Authoritative sources believe that these interventions in police created a mood of deep bitterness in the officer cadre.11
What this support for insurgents, or what we would call non-State actors or 'terrorists', is start to destabilize the region and lay a path for the Ogaden War, which would be the Somali attempt to unify ethnic Somalis living in Ethiopia and Kenya. To understand this I will draw on yet another CSC paper, this one Post-Independence Low Intensity Conflict In Kenya from 1992 (Source: Globalsecurity):
Somalia is a nation which embraces an homogeneous society with one religion, one common cultural heritage, and one language. The Somali people were founded from two cousins of the prophet Mohamed: Samaale and Sab. The family of Samaale became nomads while the family of Sab became settled farmers. The Somalis have a very strong background of family clanism segmented further into lineages which form their basic dialectical identity. The Somali-speaking people are divided into six clan families comprising 75% of the Somalis coming from the offsprings of Samaale. These are the Darod, Hawiye, Isaaq, and Dir. The offsprings of Sab are the Digil and Rahanweyn which form the other 20% of the Somalis. The remaining 5% are the non-Somali speaking people. The Somali speaking people inhabit three nations within the Horn of Africa: Djibouti, North Eastern Kenya, and South Eastern Ethiopia (Haud/Ogaden). ( Ref: outline of Somali genealogy map 1.)
Throughout the period between 1963 and 1967 there were serious armed skirmishes which translated into massive loss of life on both sides. The Kenya government suffered serious set backs due to the lack of local support and adequate intelligence network. Another drawback was the encountering of a two-pronged attack by the Somalis in Ogaden, Ethiopia, and those from Somalia who had formed a strong irredentists force to fight for an homogeneous Somali community.
Over the period, the central government of Somalia offered the irredentist moral and material support in both North Eastern Kenya and South Eastern Ethiopia. Further external support was received from some former colonialists and Arab sympathizers.
Following these developments, Kenya government contemplated introducing military forces in the Northern Frontier District to combat the envisioned protracted guerrilla campaign by the Somali irredentist. In June, 1963, military posts were established in the towns of Mandera, Garissa, and Wajir. Outposts were subsequently also organized at Buna, Gurar, Moyale, and Malka-Mari. To date, military detachments and outposts are still in these towns to ensure that peace prevails in the region.
- DEFENCE PACT WITH ETHIOPIA
- Having realized the expansionist ideological development of the Somalis in the region, Kenya and Ethiopia signed a Defence Pact in 1969. Both nations shared a common enemy, the Republic of Somalia.
- The purpose of the pact was to enhance a joint military effort in the region in the event of Somalia's attempt to invade any of the two nations. To date the pact is still in existence.
The entire Ogaden war and rule of Siad Barre in Somalia would cost thousands of lives across the region and spread continued turmoil and unrest. Ethiopia would be able to repulse Somalia, and this wrap-up is from the Onwar site:
For all intents and purposes, Ethiopia's victory during the Ogaden War ended Mogadishu's dream of recreating Greater Somalia. Even before the setback in the Ogaden, Siad Barre had relinquished his claim to Djibouti after 95 percent of the voters in that country indicated a preference for independence over incorporation into Somalia. In 1981 Somali-Kenyan relations improved after Siad Barre visited Nairobi and indicated that his government no longer had any claim to Kenyan territory. In December 1984, Somalia and Kenya signed a pact that pledged both governments to cease hostilities along their common frontier. Subsequently, the level of insurgent activity along the border was minimal. However, the activities of Somali shiftas, or bandits and ivory poachers and the periodic influx of Somali refugees into Kenya continued to strain relations between Mogadishu and Nairobi.
Yes the shifta, in one form or another are *still* around, although more under the guise of the Islamic Courts Union, an al Qaeda terrorist affiliate recruiting teenagers to fight in Somalia, particularly in Garissa district, which went for Raila Odinga in the last election. Remember his father had signed the defense pact *with* Ethiopia to defend *against* Somalia, and yet here his son is winning ethnic Somalia votes while that same district is supplying teens to fight in Somalia against Ethiopia for the Islamic Courts Union.
What a mess!
The Soviet Union funds a school in Kenya which turns out a nice cadre of inspired Communists to help take over the KANU party which fails. During that time Oginga Odinga helps sign that defense pact with Ethiopia against Somalia while the USSR turns to Somalia to fund it in its aggressive war of ethnic unification.
Which fails as Kenya doesn't carry through. That defense pact signed by Oginga Odinga who was, in theory, a partner with the USSR, doesn't come to fruition (although still in place!) which must have had multiple parties scratching their heads as to *why* no one was doing what they should be doing. Raila Odinga will still get Communist teachings even as the USSR has to withdraw from its support of Somalia, which then goes into disarray after the death of Siad Barre for the politics to wind up even *close* to where it is today with the twistyness now seen on all fronts. This doesn't even get us to the SECOND takeover attempt, this time by direct coup in Kenya with Raila Odinga involved against the Arap Moi regime. Sunday Vision from Uganda has a lovely piece on 19 JAN 2008 on The coup that went wrong:
Raila sides with coup-plotters
With recourse to politics to gain power failing, Raila Odinga found himself persuaded to work with coup plotters. The coup was spearheaded by the Luo-dominated Kenya Air Force who wanted to end the marginalisation and repression of the Luos. In this third excerpt from Raila Odinga: An Enigma in Kenyan Politics, Babafemi A. Badejo examines how Raila’s aspirations were linked to the coup plotters’
Having started with a ban on the official opposition party, Kenya Peoples Union (KPU), in October 1969, the Kenya Africa National Union (KANU) regime closed all channels for open discussion of public affairs. The free speech and free association stipulated in our constitution was curbed. The mass media was put under censorship. To discuss the government in public could lead to charges of sedition, and detention or a jail sentence. Kenya became a closed society. It was only through rumour-mongering that Kenyans (with the exception of the Executive and a few of his close associates) could pass on information about what was going on in the government.” (James Waore Dianga, Kenya 1982: The Attempted Coup — the consequence of a one-party dictatorship).
A spate of coup d’etats and coup attempts had dominated the political scene in Africa from the 1960s to the 1980s. Kenya failed to escape this means of changing government through the barrel of a gun. However, the 1982 coup attempt went beyond planning. It was executed by a group of discontented junior military men in the Kenyan Air Force. This discontent was based on a perception, rightly or wrongly, that the Moi government did not care about non-commissioned officers.
The air force plotters were largely from the Luo ethnic group, and were equally unhappy with the political developments which had marginalised the Luos in the affairs of the nation. Other civilians in Kenya who were disenchanted with the dictatorship that had enveloped Kenya provided assistance to the coup planners.
The Sunday Standard, a Kenyan newspaper, in its March 14, 2004 edition, like many other newspaper accounts over time, named Raila Odinga “as the central civilian accomplice of the coup plotters”. The following account draws from this and other newspaper publications and probing interviews with many Kenyans who were involved in many aspects of the coup attempt. It is important, however, that in spite of what looks like his obvious facilitation of the coup, Raila Odinga, throughout the interview for this work, neither admitted nor confirmed a role in the planning of the coup attempt. Thus, the public will have to wait for Raila’s autobiography for a final word on his role.
Yes, yet more complexity in Kenyan politics, this time with the very governmental 'neither confirm nor deny' language that makes politicians the world over so beloved of interviewers. One of the main coup plotters was, however, captured which would not keep those outside prison from continuing their plot. Their main beefs were that Oginga Odinga had been prevented from participating in by-elections, that there were no Luo's in positions of high command in the armed forces and were generally under-represented throughout the armed forces, that Luo's generally had too few schools and teachers and that junior Air Force officers lacked proper accommodations. As the plot involved junior Air Force officers, one does suspect that the last point actually carries more weight than the others. At the trial there would also be reasons of Presidential elections not being held properly and a rumor that Kikuyu were *also* staging a coup plot, this one to remove Moi and put VP Kibaki in his place. The coup plotters (Luo) did not think that the coup plotters (Kikuyu) would make things out to be better for them once the man who is the target of *both* groups (Moi) was removed.
If this were fiction, no one would believe it.
Still if you are already thinking in terms of worst case scenarios and plotting a coup, the only thing worse than your own coup must be someone else's. There could *never* be any commonality in views because they, like you, are acting in secret and planning a coup.
Against someone neither of you like.
As I said, if this were fiction, it wouldn't be believed nor sell many copies.
The Luo group... say was there ever a Kikuyu group?... would get quite some number of folks to sign on, including the elder Odinga and his son, Raila. Here is how it started to work out once the main coup plotter, Ochuka, got agreement from a group of NCO's in the Air Force:
Ochuka, the chairman, reportedly informed Oginga Odinga that they had no politician in their plan. He went further to make it clear that “the government that would follow would be purely military, and no civilians would be in the ruling council”. Interestingly, though Ochuka made it clear that he was the one to become President and not Oginga Odinga, the old man blessed the coup and provided some financial support. In effect, Oginga Odinga wanted change in Kenya, but not necessarily power by any means, as his critics claimed.
Two other civilians associated with the coup plotters, were Raila and Patrick Sumba, also known as “Paddy Onyango”. They had been frustrated by efforts which suppressed any alternative means of political expression in Kenya outside the tightly controlled KANU apparatus. The pervasive discontent in Kenya reached its high point with the constitutional amendment that made Kenya a one-party state. This development left many civilians who were very dissatisfied with the state of affairs with no other choice other than to go underground.
Shortly after the detention of Anyona, Raila briefed Sumba on the ferment in the military and the efforts of the Ochuka group to overthrow the government of President Moi. The two agreed that there was a basis for collaboration with the Ochuka group. They were happy that there was a viable option to the one-party state which Moi had imposed on Kenya. They agreed that given the nature of the “project”, information management was crucial and that they would operate with others on a need-to-know basis.They decided to avoid a large open planning group. Raila was to be the contact point with the military men in relaying views on important issues.
The coup winds up like this:
On August 1, 1982, the now retired General Joseph Musomba, commanded the Second Kenyan Brigade. He had started his service in the army in 1965 when he was sent to Moyale after being commissioned as Lieutenant. He found himself in the Shifta War. During the Ogaden War between Ethiopia and Somalia, in 1977, he was the Kenyan Director of Operations. Initially, the Kenyans believed that the build-up in Somalia would result in a second Shifta War, and Musomba was involved in planning a response if Somalia attacked Kenya.
Although there was a mutual agreement between Kenya and Ethiopia for a joint reaction if Somalia attacked either of them, Kenya did not support Ethiopia in the Ogaden War.
On the morning when President Moi appeared to have lost power, Musomba was woken up at 1:00am by the late George Kimeto, the Provincial Intelligence and Security Officer. Musomba’s command base was in Gilgil, but he slept in Nakuru. He was informed that the President had lost communication with Nairobi and wanted to know what was happening there. Musomba quickly found that the army communication network was still functioning. Having established that a coup d’etat by some air force officers was in progress, he spoke to Moi, received his instructions, and began to deploy his own forces to counter the coup attempt. He blocked the road to Nakuru at Gilgil, and sent troops to Nairobi and Nanyuki.
At 3:15am, Moi called Elijah Sumbeiywo, the commander of the Presidential Police Escort, and told him what had happened. Sumbeiywo immediately called his brother, Major Lazarus Sumbeiywo. Since Moi knew about the efforts of Musomba and those of General Mohamud Mohamed, the Deputy Army Commander, in Nairobi, he refused to leave his Kabarak home. The two brothers forced the President into Lazarus’ Peugeot 204 car to take him to safety, initially outside the country, but later in the bush. Subsequently, the President was returned to Nakuru State Lodge as reports filtered through, that the coup was being crushed.
By midday, the President insisted that he must return to Nairobi. Musomba received the order from his superiors to escort the President to Nairobi with 100 men and two armoured cars.
In Nairobi, Musomba took over from General Mohamed, at the Voice of Kenya where Mohamed had rallied troops (mainly cooks, suppliers, education instructors and other non-regular armed men) from the logistics base in Kahawa and succeeded in retaking the broadcasting house.
For three weeks, Musomba carried out a mop-up operation in Nairobi to find the other plotters. But Ochuka and Oteyo had grabbed an aircraft and flown to Tanzania. Musomba’s next order was to chair the court martial that tried the coupists.
His memory of those trials before he handed over to Joseph Kibwana (who about two decades later became the Chief of General Staff of the Kenyan army), was that the leaders of the attempted coup d’etat had connections with Raila and the Oginga Odinga family.
Yes, by not carrying through with the military assurances that Kenya gave to Ethiopia one ordinary soldier from that era, now a general, would get to go after a coup helped by the man who signed the original defense pact. And that was needed due to the spread out ethnic enclaves of Somalis, of various tribes, throughout the region and crossing multiple borders. This is exactly equivalent to the problems of the Kurds, Azeris, Baluchs, Pashtuns and other tribal societies that underwent colonial rule and then decolonialization of one sort or another. Similarly Kenya has problems on other borders, such as Uganda, but not to the degree seen along the Somali border.
Kenya has, for decades, been able to avoid the problems seen in those lands with diverse ethnicities feeling friction with the Nations they are in, even when the National government has not been all that representative of the various tribal entities within Kenya. The policy of one-party rule did not help as has proven time and again: no single party can properly represent all of the people in a multi-ethnic Nation with diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. Those Nations that do hold to such remain in power via authoritarian rule (China), totalitarian rule (Cuba) or outright dictatorship passed down through familial lines as if they were Monarchs (North Korea). Whenever that path is taken there is long-term tragedy as one ruling group attempts to enforce its rule over diversity. China's inability to properly handle natural disasters only surpass its ill thought out ideas towards a 'great leap forward' and the current building of industry on unstructured debt. In Cuba and North Korea political dissent is met with jail or execution or, as other regimes have done elsewhere, they are simply 'disappeared'. And playing what is now known as 'identity politics' has led to the usurpation of power under Fascist regimes (Weimar Germany, Italy), Communist regimes (Vietnam, the Koreas, and SE Asia during the post-Vietnam war era), authoritarian regimes playing on class and other distinctions (as seen in Argentina, Bolivia, Burma), and those seeking religions domination (Lebanon, Afghanistan under the Taliban and al Qaeda sponsorship of the KLA in Kosovo).
Seeing such as an American and backer of the concept of the Law of Nations and the Westphalian Treaty of 1648, this is highly disturbing as 'identity politics' is now trumping liberty and its support of freedom in many corners of the globe, not delimited by National boundaries. The right of Kenyans in their Nation to decide for themselves is paramount and sacrosanct: if Kenya is to come to good ends the people of Kenya must desire that and work towards it. The intercourse between Nations must limit the role played by individuals in one Nation with those of another, as to do otherwise is declare oneself free of the obligation to one's Nation and declare oneself lawless on the world stage, no better than terrorist or pirate and due the same respect of those, which is none. That is why I find the work of such as Dick Morris detestable even when asked *in* by Natives of another Nation, like Raila Odinga in Kenya. That is also why, when looking at those companies that support such lawlessness, no matter their size, and directly donate to terror organizations or give them any support, I see a disturbing erosion of the one, single platform that allows liberty and freedom within its bounds: the Nation State.
That is why, even when seen in Lebanon during its Civil War with groups declaring their own 'mini-states' often demarcated by no more than a square block, even in such things there was an understanding that the Law of Nations amongst peoples was paramount. In a short decade after that in the Balkans, that would be eroded to the point of peoples not even being able to define or stand up to create a Nation, as in Kosovo. Areas like the Balkans, the Tri-Border Area of South America, the region from Pakistan through Kashmir and Western China and then somewhat north and west of that is also seeing this liquidation of Law of Nation understanding. In Africa this has been seen in Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea, and that instability is shifting to Kenya in new form that has recently taken hundreds of lives in the name of tribal and ethnic privilege when the people are played as if pawns by National and international forces. In the attempt to utilize 'identity politics' to grasp power, that thing that contains it, being the Nation, can disintegrate and the result is no power save for that of warlords and local tyrants and strongmen. Those that have thought to invest the power of government to take over the function of society by deciding on matters of how society runs itself, have stepped into a realm in which stability is only a phantom that can be gained at more power concentrated to fewer people, who then shift attention from actual crime of property to crime of thought and support of a society free from government oversight. In that realm the instability of political differences leads to those ends seen in China, Cuba, North Korea and elsewhere whenever government rules society.
From my limited American perspective, I acknowledge that my actions can only be limited in view. Within that limit, however, given by common assent via the Constitution, I can put forward that Kenya, as a Nation, must be supported so long as Kenyans can find a way to hold it and have it as their own. This does not mean that Kenya need, of necessity, be a free Nation and many peoples have put up with tyrants and dictators for decades, until their despotic rule has become so odious as to invite revolution. America stands, however, for the strange belief that peoples, no matter how different, can come to good end at the lowest level of social and societal interaction through this thing known as 'local democracy'. If one cannot find individuals to put trust in to allow government its role to curb excesses and provide of a peaceful place for civil society to exist, then civil society cannot exist. That is why peoples put up with tyrants and despots for so long: as long as there is some basis for civil society, change is often seen as only for the worse.
Beyond that there is one tract written before the Declaration of Independence and before the Constitution that Americans had translated when they first had a Nation that was likely to remain stable, and carried it with them to many lands, including Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Its author spoke in plain, blunt and yet easily understandable language that was reasonable, no matter the society, as he talked about the role of government and society, and then made a case for freedom and liberty as outcomes:
Some writers have so confounded society with government,
as to leave little or no distinction between them;
whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness;
the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections,
the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one
encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.
The first a patron, the last a punisher.
That is not the view of a man committed to a given system, but to understanding the differences between government and society, and that putting the latter in charge of the former is the best route as the other leads to tyrannical and despotic ends. He would write, at length, about liberty, democracy and establishing freedoms, but his views of unrest in his land were insightful and trenchant, both. In describing that, he has proven prescient in how many other lands would also fall into such states of disorder:
The present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is
capable of reflexion. Without law, without government, without any
other mode of power than what is founded on, and granted by courtesy.
Held together by an unexampled concurrence of sentiment, which,
is nevertheless subject to change, and which, every secret enemy is
endeavouring to dissolve. Our present condition, is, Legislation
without law; wisdom without a plan; a constitution without a name;
and, what is strangely astonishing, perfect Independance contending
for dependance. The instance is without a precedent; the case never
existed before; and who can tell what may be the event? The property
of no man is secure in the present unbraced system of things. The mind
of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object before
them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion starts. Nothing is criminal;
there is no such thing as treason; wherefore, every one thinks himself
at liberty to act as he pleases. The Tories dared not have assembled
offensively, had they known that their lives, by that act, were forfeited
to the laws of the state. A line of distinction should be drawn, between,
English soldiers taken in battle, and inhabitants of America taken in arms.
The first are prisoners, but the latter traitors.
The one forfeits his liberty, the other his head.
As Kenya begins to head into lawlessness, we see these exact, same things happening: law without government as government itself falls into disrepute; courtesy as the rule and even that decaying as civil society unravels; such sentiment as has held Kenya together is dissolving under the lash of ethnic, religious and other divisions within society spurred on by factors within and outside Kenya; while legislators may legislate, their law is no longer seen as being upheld by all; wisdom of those seeking change has no plan save for change itself and nothing to establish the freedom of society from government in that change; the constitution becoming nameless by default, as those seeking not to follow it instigate extra-legal means to gain their views; and those seeking for independence to have freedom battling those seeking to depend on ways ill suited to all in the Nation. These are not predictors but sign posts warning of danger down this route and extreme danger at that - yet others have stepped from this path in places like Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Turkey.
The writer telling of these sign-posts, before the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence is Tom Paine in a small book called Common Sense. It was then, as it still remains, quite common sense to realize what events are and what they foretell if left unaddressed. Only the people of Kenya can see if their society, as it stands, can be rescued with or without this or any government as it currently exists. As an inheritor of such a revolution I, as an individual, can voice my support for a Kenya and place my hopes in the Kenyan people to decide for themselves what is and is not right and proper for their Nation. I do support freedom, but that can only be found with liberty as a basis: no government can enforce freedom, but must be restrained from removing it and coercing civil society to unjust ends. And the price to secure liberty for oneself and one's society has had one traditional price: the blood of tyrants and patriots. To get such, those seeking tyrannical rule inside and outside government must understand that their ways are abhorrent, even when trying to reward some of the people over *all* of the people, without exception.
That is why 'identity politics' is destabilizing the US and causing bloodshed in Kenya and other places around the world where it has gained followers: the only way a few can lead is with the power of government to repress the many, and the power of many to rule the few without common assent is tyranny. If Kenya is worrying in that it is far down this road to dissolving, it is only because America is on that same path just not so far along. That is why I support reconciliation amongst the peoples of Kenya to find a better path than the bloody one of ethnic strife: new government that is supported by all of the people in *form* allow its *instances* to be understood as never final, never ending and never to remove that common assent from the people. Politicians left alone to draft the means of government rarely do a good job as they think of themselves as politicians first and citizens second.
And that is putting government before society... which leads to ill ends.
And one of the signers of that was Oginga Odinga. With the USSR backing Somalia in the Ogaden War starting in 1977, which throws logistics support a few years before that, this would be something of a minor sticking point when that conflict started to get going. And another part I am glossing over is that those districts in northern Kenya actually voted on secession and were judged to have voted in the affirmative... but the continuation of low level terrorism funded by Somalia and its sympathizers made actually turning such areas over difficult as the Kenyan Army was in them to defend them from... yes... those self-same terrorists. In one of those strange twists of fate, by fighting for something you can't get it and if you just let it alone you would get what you were willing to fight for.