“Kenya: The Economic Stake of the Kenyatta Family; The Royal Family Jewels” – that CIA report after Jomo’s passing

Below I have embedded for downloading the 1 September 1978 CIA Africa Review which covers at pages 12-18 “The Economic Stake of the Kenyatta Family”.  This is related to the story in The Standard noted in my post Standard covers newly declassified CIA report on Kenyatta family wealth acquisition during Jomo’s rule.  I thought you should read it in full for yourself:

1 Sept 78 Kenyatta wealth – The Royal Family Jewels

 

On foreign policy, the Trump/Bannon approach is not to recreate the 1950’s, but to undo the post-Cold War era

On  Africa, thus back to the era of the American consultants Paul Manafort and Roger Stone working for Kenya’s autocrat Moi through his re-election in 1992.  Go back and support right/nationalist movements in white Europe and Russia, rather than internationalist liberalism and NATO expansion.  

At the core, repudiate the thinking of the the George H.W. Bush administration in promoting a globalist, rule-based “New World Order” with an alternative that imagines a third Reagan term in which the U.S. turned on the end of the Cold War with the Soviets to engage in a similar confrontation against “expansionist global Islamism” and treated China as a Communist power in rivalry rather than an economic partner whom we would continue to assist to rise on the faith that its role in the economic order would eventually result in liberalization and even democratization.  

Reorient to say the problem is not “the arc of instability” and a lack of elections or freedoms, it’s the jihadis.

“Nixon would have told us to stop with the ‘China card’ after we ‘won’ the Cold War.  Henry has been hanging out with Hillary for ‘the holidays’ and working both sides and we’ve gotten confused.  Never could trust him.  We’ve gotten this completely wrong and have to straighten up.”

In this perspective the collaboration between the neocons and the liberal  internationalists that drove policy under Clinton and George W. Bush left us weakened and feckless, snatching long decline from the jaws of victory.  We ended up paying for European security because they would rather focus on competing for arms exports–nice deal if we are suckers enough to go for it!  

And we’ve ended up following the European liberals to the point of underwriting the wrong sides in the culture wars.  The Bushes and Bill Clinton were bad enough–but Obama really went far left; we’ll fix that.

Calling Ollie North and Erik Prince.

Having apologized for having gotten our shoes in the way of the vomit, donors to Kenya’s government are now finally alarmed again about the (ongoing) corruption

Here is the latest from Kenya’s Journalists for Justice on the corrupt involvement of personnel in the Kenya Defense Forces in the charcoal and sugar smuggling trade.

It’s not so much that I’m jaded, it’s just that I have watched this movie before–and even been an “extra” of sorts in one of the previous remakes.

Yes, corruption is obviously getting even worse within this Kenyan administration than within the last.  But that was also true when I lived in Kenya during the end of the first Kibaki administration and into the beginning of the second.

There are several readily apparent reasons.  For instance, when I lived in Kenya I made the acquaintance of a Western expat whose spouse was in the tourism business. Prior to the 2007 vote count corruption and violence, the tourism business was booming.  But corruption was up as a cost of doing business as it was explained to me because to operate you had to pay off a second generation, too–the kids of the senior politicians.  Presumably this generational expansion has continued.  Why wouldn’t it?

The year before I moved to Kenya the UK and US envoys had been outspokenly opposed to the corruption, in the context of the Anglo Leasing revelations by John Githongo of massive corruption involving national security procurements, touching our own security interests aside from our sensibilities about criminal behavior, along with the outrageous shenanigans involving the Artur Brothers, and the Standard media raid, among others.  The British envoy even offered the memorably colorful “vomit on our (the donors’) shoes” metaphor about the extent of the gluttonous “eating”.

But by the time I arrived in mid-2007 things were different.  New personnel led the diplomatic missions.  On the US side we apparently helped Moi and Kibaki get back together, and hosted Interior Minister John Michuki, of “rattling the snake” fame, who had taken credit for the Standard raid, on a security tour of the U.S.  Michuki represented Kibaki at our Embassy’s Fourth of July party, where Moi unofficially planted himself to catch the receiving line.

And then we looked the other way at the corruption of the Electoral Commission of Kenya.  Ambassador Ranneberger made sure to get his predecessor Ambassador Bellamy removed from our IRI Election Observation Mission on the basis that he was “perceived as anti-government”.  Bellamy had spoken out on the corruption, in particular the Standard raid.  The week before the vote, Ranneberger noted for the Kenyan public that Kenya was “on track” in fighting the vice of corruption, that  we had had Enron in the U.S., that prosecutions for Anglo Leasing and Goldenburg could take time, and that the World Bank had given the Kibaki administration an award for procurement reform (of all things) and that he expected a “free and fair” election.  And then we tried at first to sell the ECK’s election “count” even though we knew full well that it was bogus.  When that didn’t fly, we supported “power sharing” so long as there was no new election before Kibaki’s full second term was up.  According to a news report from Nairobi years later from stolen cables from “Wikileaks” we issued a couple of “travel bans” based on alleged evidence of bribery against two of the ECK commissioners, but we never disclosed this action or the evidence, why we singled out these two or anything else about the matter.

During the post election violence a diplomat explained to me that the reason many of the younger pols in Kibaki’s PNU coalition were against a power sharing settlement was that they didn’t want to share the secondary ministry appointments.  Ultimately by adding opposition politicians into the second Kibaki administration through “power sharing” with extra ministries you further expanded the multigenerational set of stomachs to let eat.  One way to look at the settlement naturally has been that Kibaki and Raila were willing to stop the fighting (so long as Kibaki retained with further ambiguity the full second term Presidency which the ECK had delivered to him) and the rest were bribed to acquiesce.

So you cannot tell me with a straight face that the diplomatic position of the United States in 2007-08 was to “oppose” corruption as a high rather than a subordinated priority.

After being stung by criticism from the election debacle, Ranneberger was reborn as an outspoken “reform agenda” campaigner for his extended tour on through the passage of a new constitution.  He compiled dossiers on money laundering and drug smuggling through politico/business interests and encouraged action, albeit to no avail. His successors quietly moved on, however, and we helped sell a new badly handled election in 2013 by a new, but probably more pervasively corrupted electoral authority.  We helped pay for expensive technology that was doomed by procurement fraud but kept quiet.  The British Serious Fraud Office successfully prosecuted one of their companies and its owners for bribes on other election procurements, but the Kenyan administration has taken no action to follow up and we have kept our silence.

With time, we have come again to affectionately embrace our usual suspect “partners”, with new programs headquartered in our favorite African city of Nairobi.  A photo op in the Oval Office with POTUS and FLOTUS for the Kenyan President and First Lady last year, followed this summer by a glowing official Presidential visit to Nairobi with a telegenic dance party at State House.   Never mind what we said before; please can we give you more?  Some eloquent speech about the cost of corruption, safely abstract from the burgeoning accumulation of years of specific cases on the impunity docket.  Yes we can dance with this new set of shoes without even looking down at the vomit.

Surely then it can be no surprise that things have gotten that much worse.  With a new report by Kenyan journalists on the longstanding implication of Kenyan Defense Forces which we help underwrite in Jubaland in the sugar and charcoal smuggling rackets, and fresh levels of embarrassment from the international press from the National Youth Service, irregular handling of bond proceeds amid rising debt levels, more land grabbing and another looted bank, all with a new election cycle approaching, the season has turned again and it is the time for furrowed brows.  Time for the U.S. to lead a donor group to call on the current version of the anti-corruption authority.  To talk again of “visa bans” and offers again to assist in “asset recovery”.

Instead of another remake, could this be a sequel offering a surprise ending, with say, even a few villains in jail, or at least less rich, as a cautionary tale for some and a bit of hope and inspiration for others? Or is this just another iteration of “the formula” in which the sheriff rides into town, frowns at the drunken brawl, then passes along to enjoy the cinematic scenery on the way home?

Only time will tell.  I do think we genuinely would prefer to be against the corruption rather than aligned with it.  We just lose our nerve and get distracted by other priorities that seem more immediate.  Making a dent in Kenya’s entrenched culture of impunity would take a long hard slog, in the face of bitter opposition formal and informal.  It would be messy and likely involve putting up with a bit of embarrassment–it could involve some risk and actual cost.  In any event  it would take a good while for us to convince the players that we had become serious.

More Kenyan-U.S. Diplomatic History: Kenyatta’s health and succession; status of whites; military assistance

For those of us who would still like to have a better understanding of what went wrong with the last Kenyan election, and how to do better this year, it’s worth taking advantage of the passage of time (and the declassification and publication of the kind of things that we don’t have yet from 2007) to see more clearly how U.S. and Kenyan leaders have interacted over time.  And in looking at the 1970s, while Kenyatta is no longer with us, he casts a broad shadow, and Scowcroft and Moi are of course very much still around.

MEMORANDUM

  • OF CONVERSATION
  • PARTICIPANTS:
  • Brent Scowcroft
  • Ambassador Anthony D. Marshall
  • Robert S. Smith
  • SUBJECT:
  • Current Situation in Kenya

NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

DATE & TIME: Wednesday – October 13, 1976 5:45 p.m.

PLACE: Scowcroft’s Office

Ambassador Marshall summarized the present security and political situation in Kenya. The GOK very much appreciated our moral support during the Uganda crisis. They believe this brought the Ugandans to the conference table. Ambassador Marshall remains pessimistic, however, about Uganda’s capacity for destabilizing Kenya. He does not expect an invasion, but he does see the continuation and increase of terrorist activities from Uganda. Nevertheless, he thinks that the ultimate threat to Kenya comes from Somalia with Soviet support. He also sees Tanzania’s economic difficulties and political policies affecting Kenya.

Ambassador Marshall believes that our interests in Kenya are to see the country remain stable. Military and economic aid and political reassurances from us can help. He sees Kenya as a buffer among the East African states and a means of slowing down Soviet penetration in East Africa. He believes that continuing stability in Kenya might even turn some of the other countries in the region to Kenya’s way of thinking. [Note: Unfortunately, African nations do not learn economic stability from one another.]

Ambassador Marshall said we have excellent bilateral relations with Kenyatta. Kenyatta is very pleased to be receiving our arms aid even though we are one of several suppliers. We have stressed the defensive purpose of our arms aid.

Ambassador Marshall turned over to General Scowcroft a letter from President Kenyatta to President Ford. It covers two principal issues. One is the possibility that the U.S. will provide a “fly past” in Kenya on December 12, Kenya’s independence day. This was discussed by Secretary Kissinger when he was in Nairobi in September. General Scowcroft knew of the proposal but did not know whether there would be an aircraft carrier available in the area at the time. If not, he said the planes could be ferried down.

The second important issue in the letter is Kenyatta’s prospective visit to the United States. Unfortunately, according to Ambassador Marshall, although Kenyatta knew about the trip in advance of Secretary Kissinger’s visit, he had not told his staff about it. The room was full of people when Secretary Kissinger brought it up and the invitation for November 10 drew a laugh from staff members who could not understand the implications of a date which followed our elections. Kenyatta himself did not understand that, in the event that President Ford was defeated, he would still be in office until late January.

General Scowcroft inquired as to Kenyatta’s health and the prospect that he could really travel to the U.S. Ambassador Marshall explained that Kenyatta has a blood clot which occasionally causes total unconsciousness for periods up to one and a half days. This has occurred three times in the past year. The rest of the time Kenyatta is in good health for a man of 84.

Ambassador Marshall noted that a move to change the constitutional provision for a 90-day Vice Presidential succession when the President dies was squashed. Nevertheless, said Marshall, we should not put all our eggs in Vice President Moi’s basket. There are other potential candidates and so far Kenyatta has not named anyone. [Note: There are indications Kenyatta does not favor Moi.] Marshall said that part elections which are expected in early 1977 (for the first time since 1966) may fill three senior vacancies and thus be a clue to the succession.

As to the post-Kenyatta era, Marshall sees the continuation of civilian government, slightly to the left of the present government. There would be tribal disturbances but the situation would remain stable. There is a good civil service and the Kenyans are interested in maintaining foreign investment and a sound economy.

General Scowcroft asked about the status of whites in Kenya and Ambassador Marshall replied that they flourish. Scowcroft was impressed.

General Scowcroft asked about the status of the MAP program and Ambassador Marshall said that it was on schedule and the Kenyans were highly satisfied. We have requested the Kenyans to accept a U.S. Defense Attache but we are not pushing it. General Scowcroft agreed that we should not push.

There was a brief discussion of the Seychelles, to which Ambassador Marshall is also accredited. The Ambassador referred to the importance of tourism to those islands. The U.S. has an Air Force tracking station there with 300 Americans. [text not declassified] We are concerned that the Prime Minister, Mancham, is flirting with the Communists.

1 Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Africa, Box 3, Kenya. Confidential. The meeting took place in Scowcroft’s office. All brackets are in the original memorandum. The letter from Kenyatta to Ford, dated September 28, is ibid.


Kenyan Foreign Minister Ouko murdered at State House says official report, calling for investigation of Biwott and Kiplagat

From the Nation, a blockbuster from Kenya’s parliament today:

A parliamentary report prepared five years ago sensationally claims former Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko was killed at State House, Nakuru.

The report, prepared by a team of MPs led by former Kisumu Town East’s Gor Sunguh, says Dr Ouko was assassinated after he fell out with a powerful minister in the regime of retired President Moi during a tour of the United States.

The report was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday. It proposes that key personalities in retired President Moi’s government, who were involved in the disappearance and killing of Dr Ouko, be investigated.

The committee zeroes in on four individuals including Mr Nicholas Biwott, a former minister, for their role in the murder.

The report claims that Dr Ouko had already been sacked and his security detail withdrawn a week before he disappeared.

Dr Ouko is said to have fallen out with Mr Biwott, a powerful ally of Mr Moi, while on a tour of Washington with the former president.

The two were involved in a confrontation on the visit after Mr Biwott sarcastically referred to Dr Ouko as “Mr President”.

The report says that the committee received evidence to the effect that Mr Biwott and former Nyanza PC Julius Kobia were present as Dr Ouko was abducted by police and intelligence agents.

It further alleges that he was bundled into Mr Kobia’s car and driven to State House, Nakuru, where he was killed in the presence of Mr Biwott among others. His body was then dumped near his Koru home.

A herdsboy identified as Mr Shikuku discovered the body at the foot of Got Alila, on February 13 and the matter reported to the Provincial Administration.

However, the report says the government announced the “discovery” on February 16 — three days later — “allowing for the burning of the body and interference with the scene”.

The report says that the trip to Washington worsened relations between Dr Ouko and the former president and his attempts to see the latter over the issue were futile.

Dr Ouko finally secured an appointment with Mr Moi at State House in Nairobi on February 5, eight days before his disappearance.

“Dr Ouko visited State House and met the former president who gave him off-duty and directed him to rest at his Koru farm; apparently Dr Ouko had already been sacked,” says the report.

The report adds that Dr Ouko’s official car was withdrawn and returned to the ministry and his bodyguards were also recalled.

His passport had been withheld at the airport after the Washington trip, the report claims.

The Parliamentary Committee recommended that the government investigates the incidents and people at the ministry at the time, naming former PS Bethuel Kiplagat and a Mr Malacki Oddenyo.

Gee, just can’t imagine why Kiplagat was not the right person to head the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission . . . .

Why did this report sit for FIVE YEARS? Who knew about it?