From USAID's Frontlines magazine for August 2008: Kenya’s President Lost Disputed Election, Poll Shows NAIROBI, Kenya—An exit poll carried out with a grant from USAID in Kenya after elections six months ago that unleashed a wave of political and ethic…
In Nairobi I had remained optimistic through the end of January 2008 that IRI would ultimately decide to release the results of the exit poll. I had been told by my immediate superior in Washington repeatedly that the then-president of…
Had I known before late afternoon on election day, 27 December, that "the whole reason" for the USAID-IRI exit poll was "early intelligence for the Ambassador" rather than as a tool to deter and detect potential fraud (as our consultant…
Continuing with my Jan. 2-3, 2008 e-mails reporting back to Joel Barkan in Washington from Nairobi:
When I reported the call [to me from Ranneberger] to Washington, Lorne eventually and reluctantly made the decision to scratch Bellamy (he was not told the truth to my chagrin). Lorne then called Asst. Sec. Frazer on his way to the airport to tell her to get her Ambassador in line, then when he landed in Thailand he called the Ambassador to tell him to stop interfering in our EO.
After the Ambassador first raised his objection to Bellamy a few days earlier we had research Bellamy’s record and found no problems and checked out the political perception in Kenya and also found no problems. Likewise, we had confirmed with the State Dept in Washington and confirmed that they had no issues with Bellamy being a delegate. Likewise, we had confirmed that USAID was not objecting (and that they acknowledged they had no right to).
In the meantime, I had gotten a call from the Embassy that next Friday afternoon to come to Ambassador’s residence to see him on Saturday afternoon. When I visit him, he in a fashion apologized for getting spun up with me, but reiterated that it was vital to the credibility of our whole delegation that Bellamy be struck because he was absolutely “perceived as anti-govenment”. Whether he intended to or not, he left me with the distinct impression that the “perception” had been conveyed straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak (one of the provisions in our international agreement covering EOM standards prohibits allowing a government or other party any ability to veto members of our delegations).
Further, the Ambassador told me that “people” were saying that Raila might lose Langata. He said that he would be personally observing the voting in Langata and wanted to take Connie with him for part of the day. He also said that he wanted to take Connie privately to meet with Stanley Murage before the election.
When I reported this to DC, needless to say alarm bells went off. We nixed letting Connie go off observing separately with the Ambassador and insisted that Connie would not be available for any off-schedule private meetings. Serious consideration was given to cancelling the EO and I think it would have been cancelled if I didn’t say that I thought that I could manage the situation here.
When I told Sheryl about the Murage gambit she audibly gasped on the other end of the phone but didn’t comment. She
In the immediate aftermath of the 2007 Kenya election I exchanged emails with Joel Barkan who had just returned to Washington from the IRI/USAID Election Observation Mission. On January 2, 2008 Joel was trying to understand why the exit poll…
I want to touch here briefly on what I have seen and heard in regard to ethnic "issues"--prejudice, discrimination, suspicion, solidarity, hate speech, and such--in Kenya. An important thing for outsiders to realize is how complex, and deliberately obscured, these…
I have been very much saddened by the sudden passing of Joel Barkan, the dean of American Kenya experts and a real friend to me during these years since we got together through the 2007 Kenyan election tragedy. Joel and…
“Why Uhuru and Ruto must attend trials in The Netherlands” by George Kegoro in the Daily Nation.
. . . .
I have found possible answers to this question in the record of the first presidential debate that was organised by the Kenyan media in the run-up to the March elections. The moderator, NTV’s Linus Kaikai, explored the question of the trials with Mr Kenyatta against the fact that he was seeking to become president of Kenya. Specifically Mr Kaikai wanted to know how Mr Kenyatta would juggle between attending his trial and the duties of presidency if he was elected to office.
On the night, Mr Kenyatta provided well-considered answers to questions surrounding their cases and the presidential bid. Referring to himself and his running mate Mr Ruto, Mr Kenyatta indicated that “it is our intention to follow through [the cases] and ensure that we clear our names”. He added that he considered accountability before the ICC as a necessary step towards ensuring that the kind of problems that Kenya faced in 2007 would not recur.
In his own words: “At the same time, we are offering ourselves for leadership in this country, a position that we believe and want to pass on to Kenyans, an agenda that will first and foremost ensure that the kind of problems of 2007 are put to an end.”
Asked whether the cases would affect his capacity to run the country, he said, “many Kenyans are faced with personal challenges and I consider this as a personal challenge”.
He said he considered that since personal challenges did not affect the capacity of other people to continue with their day-to-day jobs, they should not prevent him from doing so as well.
On that night, Mr Kenyatta concluded: “I will be able to deal with the issue of clearing my name while at the same time ensuring the business of government is implemented”.
Earlier, during the same debate, in answer to a question about his understanding of the problem of tribalism and how he would be different from Kenya’s first three presidents, Mr Kenyatta answered that “we have a new Constitution now” and added that “my job as president is to ensure that the Constitution is implemented”.
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“The Eagle Has Landed: Kenya and the ICC” by John Githongo in The Star.
. . . .
. . . History is being made.
The ICC has redefined Kenya’s foreign policy totally and turned domestic politics inside out. Immediately after the post-election violence in 2008, Kenyans were clamouring for the ICC to intervene given the horrors that had just taken place.
Accountability, justice, impunity, reconciliation and other such words were the primary fodder of political discourse as we headed into the referendum on the constitution in 2010. Indeed, it can be argued that even among those most strongly opposed to the new constitutional dispensation, the dark looming cloud of the ICC and all its implications, especially the public mood that accompanied it through 2008 into 2010, all served to soften them up to demonstrate their pro-change, reformist credentials at a time when the country’s leadership and the messy albeit negotiated coalition arrangement was particularly unsatisfactory to the population.
If it hadn’t been for the ICC, perhaps more of the so-called ‘watermelons’ who pretended to support the new constitution while secretly being opposed to it, would have come out into the open with their true position.
. . . .
. . . Parts of the Kenyan population are in just such a trap: caught between our preaching about and, yes, belief in, good governance and accountability; and its realities when brought to bear in our tribalised, politicised and fragmented political economy. Grimly put – ‘it hurts like hell when it is my tribesman who is being held accountable’. It hurts so much it leads to some of the most gibbering rationalisations of absurdity possible.
The Star reports that: President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to hold talks with UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron during his three day visit, the first to a western capital since his election. Human rights activists in the UK are reportedly…
The United States looked the other way on a stolen 2007 election in Kenya. Even though our Ambassador himself saw the changed tally forms at the Electoral Commission in Nairobi. We supported a "settlement" that created a temporary prime minister…