Raila Bumps Ruto to Higher Education, Science and Technology; Kibaki gets to add Transportation Ministry to Kimunya

“Ruto moved as Raila cracks whip in ODM” headlines the Daily Nation

You might think that Higher Education, Science and Technology would be pretty important for Kenya’s future–and you would be right. But, the Nation is good enough to explain that Agriculture is the plum post because it controls 30 parastatals, whereas Higher Ed, Science and Technology only controls three.

OK, so now we investigate the Maize Scandal, anyone, please . . .

Of course, Hon. Kimunya now gets to bring his standards to Transportation, since no accountability has yet to attach to the Grand Regency Hotel sale scandal. Kibaki cronies have key interests in common carriers in Nairobi.

In a related story, “Raila shaping his political forces for 2012 election”, the Nation asserts:

The power struggle started with Cabinet and other government appointments, was amplified by the fierce opposition to the PM’s drive to clear the Mau forest of illegal encroachment and has seemingly come to a head with the two taking divergent positions on the new constitution.

But for Mr Odinga, taking Mr Ruto down a peg because of the issues they have differed on might be secondary to the longer-term goal of shaping his political forces ahead of 2012 elections.

Continue reading

“An Important Day for Justice in Kenya” says Annan–more media coverage of ICC ruling

Scott Baldauf in the Christian Science Monitor raises the issue of whether Kenyan leaders are already working to undermine the ICC.

The Standard: “Ocampo gets nod to nail the ‘Kenya 20′”.


Daily Nation“ICC Judges order Ocampo to probe post-poll violence”.

Xan Rice in The Guardian: “International Criminal Court to investigate violence after 2007 Kenyan election”.

CNN: “Ruling Means Kenyan Leaders Could Face Charges”–Human Rights Watch says ruling could help Kenya “turn a corner”, stresses witness protection.

Kenya Broadcasting Corp: “ICC approves investigations into Kenya’s PEV” from Reuters.

Kenyan Parliament Opens Tuesday

The opening of Parliament promises to showcase the political wrangling toward 2012, as well as the key thing that Members seem to be fully dependable on: salary and expense increases. The most important business, consideration of a new constitution, will kick off with the delivery of the latest “harmonized draft” from the Committee of Experts to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution on Wednesday, with the Committee to then table the draft on the 25th for 30 days of debate.

The opening ceremony will feature the opportunity for President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga to be in the same room at the same time under strained circumstances–a bit of a reprise of the opening of the first session of this 10th Parliament back in 2008. Of course, at that time Odinga was the leader of ODM as the majority party that proceeded to elect the Speaker in during the contested post-election period, whereas he is now Kibaki’s “partner” in the Grand Coalition, and Prime Minister, at least on paper.

PNU stalwarts seek to challenge ODM by moving to change house rules to provide to the President the unilateral power to appoint the leader of government business, with the intent that Kibaki would then appoint VP Kalonzo Musoyka, the erstwhile leader of the ODM-K. See my post with the choice words Kalonzo had for the performance of Kibaki when he was running for the ODM nomination back in the summer of 2007. This will of course raise the question of whether Agriculture Minister Ruto, having been “suspended” by Prime Minister Odinga and “unsuspended” by President Kibaki remains in a meaningful sense aligned with ODM, of which he holds a deputy position, or sides with Kalonzo and Uhuru Kenyatta and others on the PNU side of the “Grand Coaliton”. A move to add to the unilateral powers of the Presidency, in regard to the Parliament, is also an interesting element in terms of what Kenyans might expect in regard to a new constitution.

Parliament is also to take up the matter of finally appointing a new head of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission in the face of renewed public and diplomatic pressure on corruption.

Here are the stories from the government’s KBC, the Daily Nation, and the Standard.

A Good Rundown of the Current Kenyan Stalemate

From Daniel Howden of The Independent:  “The Big Question: What’s gone wrong in Kenya, and is the peace deal unravelling?”

From the Daily Nation: “How Kibaki, Raila row started”; and “What if Raila walks out of alliance?”

Friendly Fire? IRI Chairman McCain Labels Exit Polling as Pork!

Republican Senators McCain and Coburn have issued a purported list of 100 wasteful porkbarrel programs getting funding under federal stimulus legislation–one item targeted on the list is a little over $200,000 for exit polling in Africa by the University of California, San Diego. 

Is this just a political cheapshot at UCSD for publishing the results of the Kenyan exit poll from the 2007 general election and accompanying research? 

For this Kenyan exit poll, McCain’s International Republican Institute (“IRI”), for which I was Resident Director of the East Africa Office at the time, received funding from USAID, along with an extra $10,000 from Dr. Clark Gibson, chair of Political Science at UCSD.  The poll showed the challenger Raila Odinga soundly defeating the incumbent Mwai Kibaki.  When the Electoral Commission of Kenya announced that Kibaki had won amid disputes and allegations of fraud, the US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger initially called on Kenyans to accept the results and the Bush State Department initially congratulated Kibaki (later retracting), even though the Ambassador had received the preliminary exit poll results on the evening of the vote.

Dr. Gibson and his associate James Long designed the poll under a consulting agreement with IRI and Long supervised the field work of IRI’s Kenyan polling firm Strategic.  IRI maintained a six month “exclusive” on rights to publicity on the poll under the consulting agreement and refused to let UCSD or Strategic release or comment on the results.  IRI declined to comment on the poll and then began telling journalists and others in Washington that it was flawed, eventually issuing a statement on February 7, 2008 that it had determined the poll to be “invalid” after hearings that day of Senator Feingold’s Africa Foreign Relations Subcommittee in which Feingold called on Asst. Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer and the Asst. Administrator for USAID to explain why the poll had not been released as post-election violence and negotiations between the contestants continued.

After the expiration of the six month embargo, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) sponsored the release of the poll by UCSD on July 8.  Gibson and Long presented a detailed rebuttal to the alleged concerns raised by IRI.  The UCSD team also presented at SAIS at Johns Hopkins.  In August, more than a month later, on the day before Gibson and Long were to testify on the results of the poll before the Kreigler Commission in Nairobi, appointed to review the election under the February 28 power-sharing settlement, IRI released the poll, having found that it was valid after all. 

In the meantime, IRI continues exit polling all over on the taxpayer dime–and trumpets the “earned media” it gets for this from publications like the New York Times.  But apparently National Science Foundation funding for polling done by actual social scientists at UCSD outside the auspices of International Republican Institute is pork!

As Gibson and Long pointed out in their presentation of their research to the Working Group on African Political Economy last year, the US spends hundreds of millions on democracy promotion, but we don’t even know what motivates African voters.  Of course, if we don’t really always want to know HOW they vote, I guess maybe we don’t care why either?  And for that matter, maybe we don’t want to learn more about how effective that “democracy promotion” money is?

James Long worked tirelessly under pressure to help execute the Kenyan poll for IRI under difficult circumstances, and even provided substantial free assistance on IRI’s September 2007 pre-election poll (which was quickly released, by the way).  File this under the category of “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”.