05 January 2008

Odinga, Obama and the lack of courage

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.

How Clintonian!

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.
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.

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:

Saudi Arabia
South Korea

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.

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.
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:
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).
And then particular to one of the bin Laden brothers:
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
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.

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.

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.
On 19 SEP 2003 Raila Odinga would absolve the government of all blame in the murder (The East African via Waybackmachine):
Cabinet Minister Raila Odinga yesterday absolved the Government from blame in the murder of Prof Odhiambo Mbai but maintained that it was an assassination.

"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.
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):
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.

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.
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:
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.

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."]
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.

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.”

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! 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.

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.
Andrew Jackson


Anonymous said...

Well done Jacksonian. I Want to add the Najib Balala (ODM Pentagon member), Raila Odinga and Arab connections. Here it is:

Another Raila Odinga Arab connection is his close ODM (Kenyan Opposition party)member Najib Balala and the violence in Mombasa:

Najib Balala and the Arab money:

The Mvita MP made substantial personal money between 2003 and 2005 when he served as Minister for Sports and culture. During this period, informed sources say, Balala had some lucrative business dealings with prominent players in the oil rich Arab countries of Qatar, Oman and Yemen where he is reputed to have made close to US$ 2 million (about Kshs 140 Million).

Balala is a member of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) the Kenyan opposition, headed by Raila Odinga. He hails from Mombasa, a town on the Kenyan Coastline where there have been violence. He is a Yemeni descendant. Balala speaks Arabic, Swahili and English.

During the time he was the Minister of Sports, a number of Kenyan runners defected to Arab countries. It is believed that he was behind it.


Tues 13 Jan 2004 Qatar Offers to Build Sports Centre in Kenya
All Africa (http://allafrica.com) The government of Qatar will build an athletics stadium in Eldoret, it was announced yesterday. |

The article above appeared on allafrica.com, but is no longer available. Eldoret is another town that has been hit by violence, the burning of 50 women and children in the church.


Picture 1 (Najib Balala demonstrating in Mombasa)

This article appeared on Wall Street Journal after 2002 Mombasa terror attack. After the attack, the Government of Kenya shut down a number of Islamic NGOs (Non Profits) that were actually Islamic recruiting centers who were establishing Radical Islamic Schools especially in Mombasa.


Another picture of Najib Balala

Raila Odinga recently appeared on
AlJazeera . The station openly support him.

Do you know that, his Diaspora Luo supporters were the ones sending the news to US TV networks immediately after the violence in Kenya started. Their aim was to publicize the violence to gain sympathy. Rigging was happening in both ODM and PNU strongholds During the elections before the results came out, a PNU poll administrator in Luo Nyanza was killed by ODM supporters. six people were arrested.

A Jacksonian said...

Mobyanny - My thanks and thank you for the information!

I can see that I have some more digging to do... my aim was to understand enough Kenyan politics so as to give it some perspective, but connections to arab Nations need to be further looked at as personalities drive politics. This is valuable information!

All Africa (allafrica.com) has about an 18 month lag on the waybackmachine, and that may be due to the registration system they put in place more than anything else.

Again thank you for the information!

M. Simon said...

Here is a bit on Obama's Church:

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan received the "Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright,Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer" Award at the 2007 Trumpet Gala at the the United Church of Christ.

More at:

Trinity United Church of Christ

Do Americans really want a black racist as President? One with Muslim sympathies to boot?

M. Simon said...

Gateway Pundit has some interesting stuff in the comments.

A Jacksonian said...

Simon - The more I read about him the less I like him... interesting that the MSM is giving him a 'free pass' because their own dependancy upon divisive politics and 'group identity' do not permit them to criticize someone from an 'oppressed' group.

Luckily I do, indeed, believe in MLK and judging a man by the content of his character, not the color of his skin.

Works rather well, actually.

America could use some of that.

M. Simon said...

A. J.,

I link you here, where I'm collecting dirt on Obama.

It seems like he is supporting a coup attempt by Islam in Keyna.

A Jacksonian said...

Simon - Indeed, that does seem the case. That road has been paved starting in 2003 with the death of the VP of Kenya and the walking out of Odinga and friends to form their Pentagon group of the ODM.

Going to take awhile to get things going here, today is shot for me...

M. Simon said...

WB-7 First Plasma

The world has just changed. Cheap fusion is on the way. About 5 years.

Mark Harvey aka Snooper said...

Good job getting the goods on this guy!!

A Jacksonian said...

Snooper - My thanks!

The more I look at this guy the more I get a whiff of totalitarianism about ready to take root.

M. Simon said...

The real pisser is that with the possible exception of Fred they are all totalitarians.

And I include Ron Paul in the totalitarian column.

A Jacksonian said...

Simon - I ran out of folks to vote for in this election. I will vote ABC if HRC is on the ballot... otherwise... well the default candidate is on the sidebar.

If we are going to Hell, we need experienced leadership.

Evesdropper said...

a Jacksonian,

You seem bent on unearthing dirt on Obama and go to the extent of quoting the dailies in Kenya. That to me is kind of a desperate attempt. There is always 2 sides to a story, even the article you have listed have their better halves. The point is Obama might have had a Kenyan father, but Obama is in no way Kenyan and his link with Raila is only that they share a tribe (as far as his father is concerned). Odinga might have slime on him but which leader doesn't???? Show me one and I will marvel.

A Jacksonian said...

Evesdropper - My thanks!

You are quite correct in the 'two sides to every story' concept only to a point: there are multiple facets to all stories and trying to know exactly which vector to approach a given story or happening on is difficult.

There are multiple factors to consider in Kenya beyond just politics and tribal affairs: political corruption due to the unaccountable money flow is a prime mover in Kenya and causing the cost of what should be, in reality, low cost elections, to skyrocket. As that system is unaccountable the individuals that can solicit the most funds gets a 'leg up' - that is not the same as guaranteeing victory, however. Raila Odinga looks to have multiple external backers in his quest for power, ranging from Saudi oil money to European crime money to wealthy individuals around the globe backing his candidacy. I do assume that each candidate and party does this in Kenya, but Odinga is pressing a line forward that is quite pointed: gathering more power to government, removing local autonomy, and ensuring that whatever faction he backs can be put in place for a much longer term than a single election cycle.

Having someone like that as a close friend, which is the case at this point in time as stated by Odinga and seen by Obama's calls to him on the campaign trail, is troubling. Putting an individual forward for POTUS that is one step away from close ties with al Qaeda and, possibly, the Mogilevich crew or Northern Italian mafia is very troubling. Additionally there is the SCOTUS decision pointing out that the ability of individuals from the US, particularly in the Legislative Branch, to conduct any form of diplomacy is nil outside of the Executive purview. This Barack Obama has sought, but in an ex-post facto way: his ties and connections politically date far before this current run for office possibly pre-dating 2004.

I have documented multiple times and in extremis multiple politicians on both sides of the political fence in the US as being: corrupt, dirty, in the pay of various factions including organized crime, as conduits for foreign money, associated with foreign governments, and so on. There is a large difference between supporting an individual looking to take an authoritarian role in a foreign Nation and receiving, as an example, kickbacks from local organized crime on pork barrel political earmarks in the federal budget when one is running for President.

If you think my problems with Barack are large, you have not read my pieces on Hillary Clinton or John McCain. I am quite bi-partisan in this, and tell it as I see it... I am not looking for a 'perfect politician', but one who can stand up for the Nation, protect her from all enemies foreign and domestic, and ensure that the needs of the US go before that of any other Nation while being President.

I am running out of individuals that I can confidently say can even begin to do those things.

Which tells much about the condition of US politics as I see it. I don't mind dirt, so long as the politician can fess up to it and explain themselves. It is the evasion of such accountability to me, as a voter, that I detest. And at the highest level I will not vote for anyone becoming beholden to forces outside the US... which are reasons I will not be voting for Obama or Clinton. If you think this is nasty about Obama, you haven't read what I have said about HRC.

First is accountability for past actions, which is removing almost all of the election field to start with.

Then there is actually having a clue as to what the job is and some ability to do it. And that removes the rest.

I do, indeed, look at all sides of the story... and its coming up nasty every which way I look at it. I forsee trouble ahead, and I like it not. Barack Obama is a symptom, not the disease itself.

Mexxie said...

Hi, you have really done your homework, i have learnt alot about this tyrant who is killing our beloved country which we have worked hard to build.

A Jacksonian said...

Mexxie - I thank you.

If I could apologize for what Dick Morris and others are helping to perpetrate on Kenya, I would... What Morris is doing is *not* the ideal of America, but his own ideals and vendetta extending to there. Like Bill Clinton he has found a perfect vessel to steer where he wants things to go via Raila Odinga.... Odinga was already bad enough, but now I fear for Kenya's future.

If the people of Kenya can unite outside of the venal politics inflicted upon them and hold those politics accountable, the start of reconciliation will be seen that needed to start decades ago. The end of what is going on now has been seen in other places around the globe... in the Balkans and Pakistan to name two... and it is where they are at *now* that gives me extreme pause for Kenya today. I can only try to understand and put it into perspective for myself, and I find myself at a loss for words seeing this unfold.

Only the people of Kenya can hold their politicians accountable. For that is the true power of Kenya... not in politics or industry or any other material thing: it is the people that matter.

Justice cannot be handed to Kenya.

But it can be created by the people of Kenya.

Anonymous said...

Just adding more on Kenyan history. Raila Odinga seem to have learnt well from his father how to distabilize Kenya. The father Oginga Odinga, made Vice President by President Kenyatta tried to overthrow him with the help of communists just one year after Kenya won independence in 1963. Here is a paste and link:


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.

The premises as it looks today and after major renovations.

Jomo Kenyatta who opened the Lumumba Institute off Thika Road with Bildad Kaggia (left), Mama Ngina Kenyatta and Jaramogi Odinga.

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.

"When it was bought for evangelical work, the entire place was neglected", says Wilfred Hildebrandt, the principal of the christian college.

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.

Kenyatta, we now know, had been told that the institute would be used to "elaborate the spirit of harambee" or as Bildad Kaggia, the institute’s first chairman had put it: "The task of national reconstruction required an institution dedicated to the inculcation of the spirit of harambee in relation to all aspects of social, economic and political effort."

Odinga had also convinced President Kenyatta that the objects of the Lumumba Trust, which was to manage the institute, was to "establish and maintain a college, university or school" and to "grant scholarships and bursaries".

Named after Patrice Lumumba, the slain Congolese leader, the institute was to "provide courses and arrange seminars and discussions for Kanu workers and officials", and that was the catch, both ways.

Just outside the gate, a bronze statue of Lumumba had been erected and a plaque that read: "This institute is dedicated to Lumumba, the patriot who died at the hands of Imperialists and their agents for his firm championship of genuine African political and economic independence and socialism in Africa".

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.

"Everything in that kitchen came from East Germany," recalls Ng’ang’a.

Initially the institute was to admit 108 students — mainly Kanu leaders at the district level or their appointees, but all that was left to Odinga. As Kenyatta and his advisers were to later realise, that was a major blunder.

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.

A Jacksonian said...

Anne - This opens up a different perspective on things... I had thought that Soviet influence was limited to the offering of overseas education in E. Germany and Russia (in particular), not in a localized indoctrination school such as this. With this the Ogaden War experience becomes something to ponder... if this was an attempt to seed longer term support via politics, then it has outlasted the USSR and yet its teachings have not gone down with it. The highly state-centric view of the post-colonial period was bad enough without the more destabilizing state-centered and society revolving around it view of the USSR thrown into the mix.

This also opens up questions on the political contacts made through the period of the school under such administration and the powerbase of those individuals along with their sources of support.

I thank you, and deeply... I have been dealing with the more global problem of terrorism and the slow descent of US politics into a choatic decay state. These are becoming highly interconnected problems, at this point in time, and I do not like that.

Not at all.

Wild Thing said...

Thank you so much for this tremendous work you put into this, I was looking for this information and your post about all of this is no less then awesome. Thank you so much!!

A Jacksonian said...

Wild Thing - My pleasure!

In case you want more backgrounding and analysis the next few in the Odinga articles are -

The Other Source of Change in Kenyan Politics
The Balkanization of Kenya

On the Obama side -

Connecting the dots between the candidates
Foreign Policy team follies
Sen. Obama missing the mark

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I see that the authenticity of the MOU was called into question, but now that Odinga is PM, I've found no confirmation one way or another. I understand that Odinga said it was a fake, but what's the final verdict? Did they impose shariah law in Kenya or not?

A Jacksonian said...

Almijisti - Yes the authenticity was called into question. I believe that the election was also settled with a great deal of violence involved and it required something known as a 'power sharing arrangement', which makes absolute and unilateral action difficult, at best. Sharia law has not been imposed as of this writing, but the outreach of the Luo to the Islamic representatives in other tribes, particularly in the north and border with Somalia is established via election results. Just what the actual status between Raila Odinga and those tribes is not exactly clear. Also it was those tribes that provided safe-haven and recruiting base for the Islamic Courts Union of Somalia due to ethnic affiliation.

I would say that the instantiation of violence, some of it pre-meditated and incited by Raila's supporters calls into question the character and nature of a man who would not work against such a thing. Establishing precedent that elections are settled by bloodshed is the opposite of civil proceedings: it is coercion via violence. The final verdict of what happens is not written immediately, and it will be very interesting to see what actually happens from here on out.

bestonline323 said...

Youve done your homework, but remember there is always 2 sides to a story.

Dubai Search Engine Optimization

A Jacksonian said...

My thanks!

There are, indeed, many sides to every story... and I have followed what I can to see what that other side has to offer, which leads back to de-colonialization, the USSR and various other fun things going on in Kenya. It goes beyond two sides, it turns out, more like a kibbitzers game with multiple players doing things at cross-purposes for their own reasons coming to a pretty complex outcome.

I wish there were *just* two sides.

It would make things so much easier...