Featured image: President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya is tasked with reversing one of the most challenging political crises in the post-colonial history of the country.
After implementing a 4-2 Supreme Court decision delivered in two stages during September mandating a rerun of the internationally-monitored multi-party national elections held on August 8, the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, which brought the petition to overturn the results before the bench, then embarked upon a campaign of disinformation and violence directed at millions of voters.
The two dissenting justices in the annulment decision noted that there were no specific irregularities cited as the basis for the declaration of reversal in the elections where 15 million Kenyans took part. Only procedural problems associated with the transmission of some votes to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC) were utilized as a rationale for the unprecedented ruling of nullification.
Raila Odinga, a former prime minister in the imposed coalition government installed after the post-election violence of 2007-2008, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,500 people, has been a perennial presidential candidate. Interestingly enough, Odinga visited Britain just two days after his announcement that he would not participate in the October 26 revote.
While in London on October 13, the NASA leader delivered a lecture at Chatham House, a division of The Royal Institute of International Affairs. During his remarks Odinga in essence called for British funding of his coalition and other so-called civil society groups which were in his estimation the genuine upholders of democracy in Kenya and throughout the African continent. He openly admitted to meeting with current and former British government officials along with the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, whose counsel he greatly cherished.
An apparent ally of NASA, Roselyn Akombe, left her position on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) after the announcement of Odinga’s withdrawal, settling in New York City where she denounced the Kenyan government to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the New York Times for its ostensible failure to guarantee democracy. NASA sought to restructure the IEBC in its own image and when this did not materialize, Odinga and Akombe appealed for direct intervention by both Britain and the United States.
Organized Disruption Seeks to Overthrow Kenyan Government
Although Odinga publically said that he was urging his supporters to stay at home and not vote on October 26, gangs of people armed with rocks, machetes and petrol bombs attacked polling locations, IEBC personnel and civilians attempting to cast their ballots. As a result of the precarious security situation, numerous polling locations in the western regional strongholds of the NASA coalition could not open.
Violence directed at the electoral process was so severe that the IEBC announced on October 26 that voting in Kisumu, Migori, Homa Bay and Siaya would be re-scheduled for two days later. Nonetheless, as the unrest continued on October 27, it was decided that the voting in these areas would be postponed indefinitely.
Official statistics reported by the Kenyan government indicate that at least 67 people have been killed in election-related violence since August, with the bulk of fatalities taking place in the run-up to October 26. Odinga and his members have not denounced the actions of their constituencies and are directing efforts toward further destabilization saying that yet another election should be held within 90 days.
Organized destruction was carried out in Kawangware 56, Nairobi as armed criminals attacked businesses and homes they claimed belonged to members of the ruling Jubilee Party of President Kenyatta. Hundreds of people were left unemployed and jobless in the wake of the targeted violence.
Kenya ruling Jubilee Party members and followers of President Uhuru Kenyatta
Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper reported on October 28 that:
“As the situation got out of hand, criminal gangs took advantage and started looting. Houses and shops were broken into, property carted away as gunshots rent the air with the area also experiencing a power blackout. All the shops at the junction of routes 56 and 46 including butcheries, hotels and salons were burnt down.”
One resident of the area, Mathews Okwanda, Chairman of the Abaluhya Alternative Leadership Forum called upon the government to take immediate action to investigate, apprehend and prosecute those behind the theft, arson and killings. The same above-mentioned Daily Nation report said that 15 bodies were collected on the morning of October 28 after overnight violence.
“This is anarchy and the whole world is watching. The first duty of the State is to protect its people regardless of race or political affiliation. Therefore, a state that cannot guarantee safety of its citizens has no business calling itself sovereign,” Okwanda stressed.
Yet the aim of the destabilization efforts is to weaken the capacity of the Kenyan government to exercise its authority. Western media outlets in conjunction with the disruption activities are portraying Kenya as a lawless society further damaging its economy and diplomatic relations with foreign states.
Kenyatta Will Be Sworn in for Second Term
Despite the orchestrated disruption by the NASA coalition, President Kenyatta is to be inaugurated for another four years in office. Even though efforts were undertaken to prevent voting, some 6.5 million people were able to cast their ballots.
Initial results revealed that Kenyatta won the election with 91 percent of the vote. Deputy President William Ruto of Jubilee said that altogether 40 percent of the registered electorate participated in the poll.
Ruto acknowledged the deliberate attempts to prevent people from voting on October 26 and 28. The DP accused Odinga and his backers of funding militias to set upon communities to disrupt the democratic process.
“There are a percentage of the voters which were denied its right to vote. I challenge our opponents to remove the organized militia groups blocking the delivery of voting materials and we will know for sure if those affected want to vote or not,” Ruto said.
Jubilee leaders have exposed the ulterior motives of the NASA coalition saying that Odinga is bent on sabotaging East Africa’s largest economy. By appealing to the leading imperialist states such as the U.S. and Britain, coupled with the deliberate targeting of small businesses and working people in Kenya, the opposition forces want to undermine the ability of the country to move beyond the turmoil they have created surrounding the electoral process.
Kenyan opposition gangs loot stores in Nairobi township of Kawangware aimed at disrupting East Africa’s largest economy
The Jubilee Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen along with National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale emphasized the fact that Odinga has initiated what the NASA leader falsely says is civil disobedience as part of a plot to ruin the country. Frustrated with the ineffectiveness of these disruption tactics, the opposition coalition is demanding greater support from the western states.
“Now that he has realized he can’t succeed in his quest for the presidency he wants to attack the economic foundation of our country so that he can recruit poor young people into militant activities,” Murkomen noted.
A key element of the plan is to stifle and even destroy businesses and jobs held by Kenyans through robbery and arson, which the Jubilee government has pledged to “vehemently resist”.
A prolonging of the unrest which is aimed as well at stoking ethnic divisions between the Luo, whom Odinga considers his political base, and the Kikiyu, where Kenyatta emanates from, is designed to create the conditions for military intervention by the U..S. and other NATO countries. If such a scenario arises, it will inevitably be disastrous for the Kenyan people as has been proven in neighboring Somalia, where the war pitting the Federal Government in Mogadishu against the Islamist Al-Shabaab has resulted in the ten year occupation by western-backed troops, of which Kenya is a part of, while the mounting deaths, economic disintegration, food deficits and population displacement accelerate.
All images, except the featured, are from the author.