What’s really going on in Kenya?

2008-01-06

Richard Moore

Friends,

This quote is from the article below:
____________________
"Mr. Kibaki has been a strong supporter of American
counterterrorism efforts in the region. His government has
received substantial antiterrorism training and funding from
the U.S. Mr. Odinga, in efforts to distance himself from the
incumbent and appeal to Kenya's sizable Muslim population,
appeared to be less supportive of U.S. interests going into
the elections. "
____________________


Consider also this quote from an earlier article,  "The Pentagon & the 
re-conquest of Africa":

   http://cyberjournal.org/show_archives/?id=2900&lists=newslog
____________________

The Pentagon is embarked on a massive effort to militarily
secure African oil assets for the United States. Under cover
of the so-called "war on terror," the U.S. is deepening its
military ties to "friendly" African regimes, enhancing their
capacity to deal with internal dissidents and external
rivals. From the Horn of Africa to the Gulf
____________________


So, we get the following picture. The US has been grooming Kibaki as a 'friendly
local dictator', giving him arms, and training him in how to suppress his 
population ('internal dissidents'). Clearly the US wanted Kibaki to win this 
recent election, and if necessary they would have helped him rig the election. 
In any case, his fraudulent election is directly linked to US objectives.

In addition, the US was well aware of the kind of civil response there would be,
ie. the violence we're seeing now. That's one thing the CIA does very well: 
keeping its pulse on public sentiment in target countries.  That's what enables 
them to be so successful at destabilization projects, of which this is one.

Given all the violence, it is clear that Kibaki lacks some of the qualities a 
good dictator needs, and this is also something the US was well aware of. So 
when we read, "'There's an enormous amount at stake for the U.S.' in restoring 
order, says Stephen Morrison, director of the Africa program at the Center for 
Strategic and International Studies in Washington", one wonders if the next step
will be US military intervention, and if that's what this is all about, an 
intentional crisis to justify intervention and expand US presence in the Horn of
Africa.

rkm

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Original source URL:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/010208B.shtml

http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB119919428761460307-ByrhzfKdgKiBiEs45ajGXMY70sY_20080131.html?mod=tff_main_tff_top

    Violence Grows in Kenya
    By Sarah Childress
    The Wall Street Journal
    Wednesday 02 January 2008
Protesting escalates as President Kibaki begins a second term.

Kenya's marred presidential vote and the violence that has spiraled from it are 
threatening an island of stability in the otherwise volatile horn of Africa, as 
well as endangering U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the region.

At least 260 people have been killed so far in fighting that broke out after 
election officials over the weekend said sitting President Mwai Kibaki won last 
week's presidential election and international observers criticized voting 
irregularities.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga had gone into the voting on Thursday ahead in 
most polls. That had raised expectations among his supporters and many outsider 
observers that Kenya was poised for a mostly peaceful transfer of power from one
democratically elected government to another.

Those hopes collapsed after election officials named Mr. Kibaki the victor on 
Sunday, following delays announcing the final results. He was hastily sworn in, 
triggering violent protests from Mr. Odinga's supporters.

Those protests have since disintegrated into pitched battles and tribal 
fighting. A mob torched a church sheltering hundreds of Kenyans fleeing election
violence Tuesday, killing up to 50. Mobs have torched cars and burned homes. 
Much of the violence has flared in Kisumu in the West, as well as in cities 
along the Indian Ocean, where Mr. Odinga is most popular.

Slums in Nairobi, the capital city, also have erupted. The slum of Kibera, home 
to one million people, has been cordoned off by police, who were out in force 
Tuesday, clad in riot gear. The police presence has helped calm the violence, 
but the mood remained tense. Food is scarce in some areas because many shops 
have closed to avoid looting.

The election has been a disappointment for Africa watchers, who had hoped the 
country's fledgling democracy and buoyant economy could serve as an example for 
other countries on the continent. The current crisis also has significant 
repercussions for the U.S., its Western allies and their strategic interests in 
the region.

Mr. Kibaki has been a strong supporter of American counterterrorism efforts in 
the region. His government has received substantial antiterrorism training and 
funding from the U.S. Mr. Odinga, in efforts to distance himself from the 
incumbent and appeal to Kenya's sizable Muslim population, appeared to be less 
supportive of U.S. interests going into the elections.

Kenya, meanwhile, has served as a largely neutral but influential force in some 
of the complex conflicts that have flared around it in East Africa. It has 
served as a staging ground for aid groups working in conflict zones from Sudan 
to Somalia. It has also served as a commercial, banking and transportation hub 
and a model of sorts for the kind of development the U.S. would like to see 
across sub-Saharan Africa.

"There's an enormous amount at stake for the U.S." in restoring order, says 
Stephen Morrison, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington.

The U.S. State Department initially congratulated Mr. Kibaki, though it withdrew
that message of support after the U.K. and the European Union, tasked with 
observing the elections, voiced concerns about its legitimacy.

In a statement released Monday by the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Washington said 
it is "concerned by serious problems experienced during the vote-counting 
process." It cited unrealistically high voter-turnout rates, discrepancies in 
reported vote counts, apparent manipulation of some election-reporting 
documents, and long delays in reporting results. "It is important that the rule 
of law be respected," the statement continued.

Apart from his inaugural speech, in which he called for calm, Mr. Kibaki has 
remained largely silent. But some electoral commissioners have since called for 
an independent investigation into the results.

Washington's focus on fighting terrorism in Africa, and its support of 
governments who help, have in the past made for uncomfortable partners. The U.S.
has backed Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, a strong antiterrorism ally 
who won a third term in a bitterly disputed election in 2005. Scores of 
protesters were killed in that voting. Washington raised objections after flawed
polling in Nigeria in April, but it has also supported the winner, Nigerian 
President Umaru Yar'Adua. Mr. Yar'Adua recently announced the capture of several
people suspected of links to terrorist group al Qaeda.

This election was to mark the second democratic transition for Kenya, and the 
first time Kenyans had two viable choices for president. Violence was a concern,
as it is during elections in developing countries world-wide. But analysts hoped
that this time, ethnic politics, and the corruption that had dogged years of 
dictatorial rule, would be put aside.

Mr. Kibaki had swept dictator Daniel arap Moi from power in 2002, vastly 
improved the country's infrastructure, and introduced free primary education. 
Under his leadership, the economy boomed. But more recently, the charismatic Mr.
Odinga tapped a vein of dissatisfaction, especially along ethnic and economic 
lines.

The poor have been frustrated by growing economic disparity amid the country's 
boom. The Muslim community was enraged by what people saw as discriminatory 
treatment under the president's antiterrorism policies. And many Kenyans who 
don't share Mr. Kibaki's ethnic roots claimed his Kikuyu tribal base has 
benefited disproportionately from economic growth so far.

Most observers had assumed that Kenya's lively press and highly engaged 
population would ensure that both candidates respected the democratic process. 
But some human-rights activists said Mr. Kibaki's government had begun a slow 
clampdown on political and press freedom in recent years. In 2005, Mr. Kibaki 
proposed an amendment to the constitution that allocated more power to the head 
of state, but voters rejected the amendment in a movement led by Mr. Odinga.

"Since then, I could see a hardening of rhetoric and action within the political
leadership," said Maina Kiai, chairman of the Kenya National Commission on Human
Rights, a respected watchdog group, adding: "So, this was foreseeable, in that 
sense."

Mr. Odinga has planned a rally in a downtown Nairobi park tomorrow, at which 
supporters are encouraged to wear black armbands. Although he has called for 
peace, the gathering could easily boil over into further violence. Mr. Odinga 
has said that any negotiations for a satisfactory settlement of the crisis would
have to start with government recognition that he is the legitimate president, 
not Mr. Kibaki.


    John D. McKinnon contributed to this article.
-- 

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