Diplomacy is the art of lying creatively while maintaining a straight face.
Today all the major western power’s representative talked to the press about the looming mother of all general elections emphasizing that they were not backing any “horse”. Actually the diplomats addressed a number of issues, but the purpose of this post is to try and see through their diplomatic pronouncements to their real concerns and objectives on the ground.
Firstly all western powers share one deep concern—to ensure that Kenya remains peaceful. If anything were to happen to disturb the peace in Kenya a lot of their operations would be badly disrupted. For example did you know that Nairobi has an enviable reputation with donor organizations as one city in black Africa where you will find anything you need. This is in sharp contrast to many other African capitals where certain vital supplies have to be imported and this makes operations very difficult when moving relief food and other supplies to war torn or disaster areas on the continent.
But let’s get back to today’s press conference.
I predicted here over a year ago that this year’s general elections would be the most violent in history. My conclusions were based on what is at stake this time round when compared to past elections.
Fascinatingly the diplomats dwelt on that point at great length this morning. They said that the elections were going to be very closely fought because the opinion polls have so far been swinging from one candidate to another. They also said that a lot was at stake and therefore electoral violence was a major concern to them. They emphasized that although they were neutral, they would not remain silent if election malpractices occurred (and election violence is clearly one way of denying Kenyans a free and fair election).
I expect that the Kibaki side which is said to be trailing Raila will face a lot of animosity as they hit the campaign trail and indeed many of them have already started to sense that all is not well. So the million shilling question is how they will react to this? If the action of Mr Moneybags Livondo yesterday is anything to go by, then we expect that the president’s foot soldiers will favor violence as the most effective counter-strategy, even as they find ways and means to blame it all on ODM supporters.
Moi has secretly told those close to him that the reason he is campaigning against Raila is to avert bloodshed because those close to the Kibaki administration have assured him that they will NOT hand over power to Raila Odinga. Let anybody else win the elections BUT NOT Raila Odinga, Moi says that they have told him.
It seems that the diplomatic corps’ own intelligence services have informed them to be on the look our for some serious violence in these elections. Naturally they have also given them a pretty good idea of who is bound to win and what it means for western interests like the war on terrorism which is very high on the crowded American agenda in this part of the world.
The way the diplomats emphasized on this election violence thing today has gotten me very suspicious and more nervous that before. They seem to have some information which the rest of us clearly do not have. Although there is really nothing surprising here because we all know how former president Moi and many other powerful persons in the Kibaki re-election team play this game.
And as we have said here many times before which the diplomats repeated this morning;
The stakes are dangerously high this time round.
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