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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Using Security To Play Deadly Political Games

On the day that Francis Muthaura, the head of the civil service made his controversial government clarification statement, Prime Minister designate Raila Odinga’s security was withdrawn for a few hours. Mere coincidence?

On Sunday, the same day that President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga were seen on the golf course together, the Kenyan military were assembling for the biggest operation in the history of our military since the failed 1982 coup attempt. Mere coincidence?

Two days later (Tuesday) reports started trickling in of fresh skirmishes in Laikipia and Molo. For obvious reasons, this news is being downplayed. Mere coincidence?

Official sources have admitted that the military operation in the Mt Elgon area is likely to move to other areas in the Rift Valley where we have seen violence, like Kuresoi, the border between Sotik and Borabu and Laikipia where fresh skirmishes have already broken out. Mere coincidence?

Concerning Raila Odinga’s security detail and motorcade, the police after hours of stone silence (probably waiting to “hear from above”) issued a detailed statement to the press about the PM’s security detail having a permanent station at Rongai Police Station. So which police station is the president’s security detail permanently based in? The whole idea was to give the impression that the Prime Minister designate Raila’s security has been “beefed up” (whatever that means). No explanation was given for the constant change of Raila’s security personnel. The police only said that “the confusion” would stop when Raila’s security detail had a permanent base. Aii! You mean the police are admitting that there was confusion in Raila’s security arrangements? That’s a bombshell because confusion in Kibaki’s security detail would be a very serious matter and since the Prime Minister is supposed to share power with the president, the same can be said about Raila’s security.

But what is of much bigger concern are the security operations involving the military in Rift Valley.

The whole operation started innocently enough in the Mt Elgon region where many innocent Kenyans have lost their lives to the dreaded Saboat Land Defense Force. But what most Kenyans do not know is that there has been a slow but gradual military build up in the Rift Valley for weeks now (as reported in the blog). And while it is a good idea to rid the Mount Elgon area of the militia, one can’t help but question the wisdom of the tactics being employed. Essentially the rag tag Saboat militia have been using Guerilla tactics. They strike at night and then during the day their members merge with ordinary folk in the area. The military operation in the area has involved air strikes and bombing from the air in an attempt to allegedly flush out the militia from the forest. In other words we are using a hammer to try and swat a fly. Indeed the whole sordid business of skirmishes in the Rift Valley has involved guerilla tactics. So what we are doing is turning our military against our own people. In this kind of scenario, the people who suffer most are ordinary wananchi.

Then there is another really disturbing question. Why dispatch the military to the Rift Valley when a peace deal has been signed with ODM? Why not pursue dialogue in ending all clashes countrywide? Why should Francis Muthaura (he who insists on being called an ambassador) give such a provocative statement on national TV about the powers of the Prime Minister when wounds are still raw and the peace precarious to say the least? Incidentally reports of renewed clashes in areas like Laikipia and Molo broke out shortly after the Muthaura statement. Even more worrying, is the burning question; why clarify details of an agreement that is yet to be finalized? What the press is calling grey areas in the Anan peace accord are details that are to be ironed out in the act through debate in parliament. So why clarify a bill when even debate on it has not began?

By the way Francis Muthaura did not act alone and neither did he receive instructions from the kitchen cabinet or Martha Karua. Those who know the man will laugh really loud at such suggestions.

Understandably, many Kenyans do not know Muthaura or how he operates. The man issues instructions to cabinet ministers (forget the so called protocol he was at pains to emphasize at that human-life-costing press conference of Monday). The man is very powerful and he only takes instructions from one man and one man alone. And that’s the guy who usually seats holed up in State House Nairobi. A fascinating aside here is the fact that President Kibaki is the first president in the history of Kenya to actually live in State House. The last ruler of the land who did that was colonial governor Malcolm Mcdonald.

Not surprisingly, because of the irresponsible manner in which this “duly elected” government has been behaving, there is a lot of tension that has returned to the country. In fact many Kenyans are feeling really sick about the political situation in the country just now. Their hearts have been treated to some kind of sadistic see-saw or yo-yo game. From anxiety during the Anan negotiations to joy when the peace accord was signed recently, to great uncertainty now as parliament begins to debate the bills.

The good news is that parliament seems to have “cleared the ground’ to speedily debate and pass the bills that have emerged from the Anan peace accord. Let us wait and see what happens next.

1 comment:

Swahilijoe said...

Watch this space. For those avid readers, i just wrote an article that shows that the security exercises in Mt.Elgon is a sly way to eliminate those that are perceived as a threat. By eliminating militia and then Kalenjin warriors, Kibaki and company will have neutralized any threats to security using legitimate means and will even go further and jail some people without being afraid of consequences. This was one Machiavellian strategy we never saw....or should i say we have been pocketed just like jugu karanga.


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