Nairobi Star (Nairobi)
1 March 2011
THAT the American embassy considered it a real possibility that Raila Odinga could be assassinated is among the latest revelations in the Wikileaks cables.
There are a further 2,500 cables from the American embassy in Nairobi still to be released by Wikileaks. Last night, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka reacted to a Wikileaks cable from 2006 saying he did not expect President Kibaki to stand again. “These are rumours that should be dismissed offhand. It is not in my character to demean anyone, let alone the First Family, even though the President was then my political rival,” Kalonzo said about the cable that was reportedly exclusively in yesterday’s Star.
Before the December 2007 election, Security minister John Michuki told an American diplomat “an Odinga presidency would be ethnically divisive and short-lived, said Michuki, who added that he did not think Odinga would last more than a few months in office. Given Kenya’s history of high profile political assassinations, that is not such a remote possibility”, stated the cable. Michuki also warned the diplomat of Odinga’s dictatorial tendencies and alleged, “his thesis (in East Germany) had been on building nail bombs.”
At that stage, the Americans did “not share Michuki’s view of Odinga as a dangerous radical who would destabilise the region”. However by June 2009, ambassador Michael Ranneberger could tell Washington that Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta about to mount a 2012 presidential campaign and “Odinga is increasingly perceived as feckless, unable or unwilling to govern effectively and move forward the reform agenda.” “Odinga’s being seen as in a weakened position may be wishful thinking given his political resilience and the fact that he could yet emerge as a reformer, but he has clearly lost significant popular support. The ODM seems both directionless and less united than before,” wrote Ranneberger.
Ranneberger assessed Saitoti as “too old, not charismatic, and he is tainted by the Goldenberg corruption scandal.” Ranneberger described former Justice minister Martha Karua as a “Kikuyu dissident” who “has not gained wide support in the Kikuyu Central province.”
Kalonzo’s chances of succeeding Kibaki would only be high if Central Province does not field its own candidate. Earlier cables came from Ambassador William Bellamy.
In March 2006, Bellamy said the March 2 raid on the Standard newspaper might have been promoted by a belief in State House that the paper possessed a dossier on cocaine trafficking. It said “foreign mercenaries” (the Artur brothers) had been brought in to clamp down on corruption investigations.
Bellamy later met Justice minister Martha Karua whose responses he described as “not reassuring” when she refused to condemn the raid.
Last night Karua said, “At the time I did not know that it was a government operation. When I knew later, I remember we quarrelled with the then Minister for Internal Security over what had happened.” Ranneberger took over from Bellamy in 2006.
Sadly from the man who said that he did not know who won the December 2007 election, Electoral Commission chairman Samuel Kivuitu told Ranneberger in November that “If they make it impossible for me to run a fair election, I will not quietly resign and fade away. No. I will hold a mass rally in Uhuru Park and explain to all the world why I had to resign”.
Another cable summarises a meeting between Uhuru Kenyatta and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and National Security Council Africa director Michelle Gavin in May 2009 “Gavin delivered a tough message from President Obama: the US would not do business with Kenyans who obstructed reform or encouraged political violence”, states the cable. “Kenyatta sought to deflect concerns… He blamed an irresponsible media and a slow moving Parliament for the lack of overall progress on the reform agenda”.
In February 2006 Ranneberger sent a cable outlining “severe tensions within the coalition government.” “Based on credible reports from multiple sources, it seems clear that the maize scandal touches the families of both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga, and key members of their teams (although Odinga’s side is likely more culpable on the maize scandal)”.
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Kenya: Raila Could Have Been Killed, Says Wikileaks