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Viewing cable 07NAIROBI3993, KENYA ELECTIONS: INTERNAL SECURITY MINISTER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07NAIROBI3993 2007-10-09 11:11 2011-02-27 23:11 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Nairobi
Appears in these articles:
http://www.the-star.co.ke/
VZCZCXRO4280
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #3993/01 2821146
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 091146Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2785
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9569
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5488
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 4863
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2300
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1526
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2416
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2344
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 003993 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/09/2017 
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PHUM KE
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: INTERNAL SECURITY MINISTER 
MICHUKI ON ELECTIONS 
 
 
Classified By: PolCouns Larry Andre for reasons 1.4 B & D. 
 
1. (C) Summary and Introduction: On October 8, the Political 
Counselor met with Minister of State for Internal Security 
John Michuki over lunch at Michuki's swank hotel and country 
club on the outskirts of Nairobi. PolCouns had planned to 
have lunch with Michuki's son Francis when Michuki 
unexpectedly joined the discussion.  Michuki, who is a close 
associate of President Kibaki, made a point to disparage 
Presidential challenger Raila Odinga, but was otherwise 
unusually relaxed, philosophical, and somewhat detached. He 
gave the impression of being much more interested in the 
state of his golf links than the state of the nation. This is 
in high contrast to his usually engaged and combative stance. 
Although he is historically close to Kibaki, Michuki is one 
of several prominent Kikuyus in the cabinet who have been 
conspicuously excluded from the new Party of National Unity 
(PNU) campaign leadership, and is strongly associated with 
Kikuyu tribal interests. End Summary and Introduction. 
 
ODINGA THE DICTATOR 
 
2. (C) Not surprisingly for a Kibaki loyalist, Michuki 
trotted out a laundry list of anti-Odinga propaganda. He 
warned that Odinga, if elected, would behave like a dictator 
and build a Moi-style cult of personality. Michuki reminded 
PolCouns of Odinga's studies in East Germany, alleging that 
his undergraduate thesis had been on building nail bombs. 
Michuki claimed that the Odinga family (note: Odinga's 
father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, was a leading figure in the 
struggle for Kenyan independence, the country's first vice 
president, and later an opposition leader) has long harbored 
a scheme to create a "Greater Luoland" in western Kenya, 
uniting Luo-speaking peoples of Kenya, Uganda, and southern 
Sudan. He noted the close ties between former Ugandan 
President Milton Obote and the Odinga clan, adding that 
Odinga would create an oppressive Obote-style regime. 
 
3. (C) Michuki claimed that Odinga will say whatever he 
thinks will make him popular without thinking about the 
consequences, including telling Luos in Nairobi's Kibera slum 
not to pay rent to their Muslim landlords. Michuki claimed 
that Odinga would feel compelled to avenge the murders of 
slain Luos Tom Mboya, an independence-era leader believed to 
have been killed by a Kikuyu, and Robert Ouko, a Moi-era 
foreign minister believed to have been murdered by Kalenjin 
Nicholas Biwott. (Note: Since the Kalenjin community has a 
traditionally antagonistic relationship with the Kikuyu and 
is currently largely backing Odinga, it is not entirely 
logical to suppose that Odinga would seek revenge against the 
Kalenjin.) Odinga would be pressured to avenge these deaths 
not only against the individual perpetrators, but against 
entire communities, said Michuki, setting off wider ethnic 
violence and possibly leading to a retaliatory attempt on 
Odinga's life. An Odinga presidency would be ethnically 
divisive and short-lived, said Michuki, who added that he did 
not think Odinga would last more than a few months in office. 
Given Kenya's history of high-profile political 
assassinations, this is not such a remote possibility. 
 
THE KIBAKI CAMPAIGN 
 
4. (C) Michuki admitted that the Kibaki campaign lacked 
internal discipline, tolerated too much infighting and was 
not staying on message. Kibaki is too loyal to those on his 
team, he added, even when their words and actions harm his 
political goals. Michuki conceded that both sides have some 
"bad characters" in their camps, but insisted that the 
Odinga-affiliated group, including William Ruto, Wycliffe 
Mudavadi, Cyrus Jirongo, Sally Kosgei and Fred Gumo, includes 
far more corrupt and criminal individuals. Michuki said that 
Kibaki is a peaceful man who is willing to retire gracefully 
if he loses and would not seek to use violence to secure 
victory. Michuki said that, in his role as Minister of State 
for Internal Security, he was committed to punishing 
political violence, regardless of who may be responsible for 
it. (Note: Michuki oversees all the police forces in Kenya 
and is charged with maintaining law and order.) Michuki 
believed that the recent surge in support for Odinga is a 
 
NAIROBI 00003993  002 OF 002 
 
 
temporary one, and that when voters go to the polls, they 
will remember all that Kibaki has achieved and has done for 
them over the past five years. Michuki also defended Kibaki's 
record on attacking official corruption, saying that 
prosecuting former President Moi would have been divisive, 
sparking ethic conflict and undercutting progress, and 
claiming that Kibaki's is a government focused on the future, 
not the past. 
 
POSTS FOR MUSYOKA, KOMBO 
 
5. (C) Michuki noted that former Presidential hopeful Kalonzo 
Musyoka, an ethnic Kamba, could not be offered the Vice 
Presidency. The current Vice President, Moody Awori, is a 
Luhya, and the Kibaki team would lose more in Luhya votes 
than they would gain in Kamba votes by making the switch. 
Michuki noted that Kibaki might instead create a new post 
called "Chief Minister" for Musyoka to entice his support. 
Michuki said that Musikari Kombo, a Luhya who is currently 
serving as Minister for Local Government, would be offered 
the VP post and the politically underperforming "Uncle Moody" 
(the current Vice President, who failed to carry his own 
constituency in the November 2005 constitutional referendum) 
can move over to serve as Speaker of the House. Knowing our 
low opinion of corrupt businessman Nicholas Biwott, Michuki 
made a point of saying that Biwott would not be given a post 
in a second Kibaki government, but that Gideon Moi, the 
former president's son, would be. (Note: Biwott, one of the 
richest men in Kenya, has been banned from travel to the 
United States for corruption and has been linked to the 
still-unsolved Ouko murder (see para 3 above); Moi is not 
much better as he has been repeatedly implicated in 
high-profile corruption cases linked to his father's regime.) 
 
COMMENT 
 
6. (C) Michuki's Odinga-bashing seemed perfunctory and 
lacking in conviction. Much of the anti-Odinga rhetoric 
seemed designed to bait us into taking an explicit stance 
against Odinga based on his Cold War ties and socialist 
roots. The aristocratic and wealthy Michuki no doubt has a 
personal dislike for Odinga's populism, but he did not seem 
to believe the propaganda completely even as he was trying to 
convince us of its veracity. Overall, Michuki seemed worried 
about Kibaki's prospects, but also proud of the 
accomplishments of the last five years. We are aware of 
Odinga's past and family ties, but we do not share Michuki's 
view of Odinga as a dangerous radical who would destabilize 
the region and undermine Kenya's economic progress. That 
said, Luos (Odinga's ethnic group) have felt excluded from 
power since independence and might aggressively assert their 
newfound strength, especially in the first few months of the 
new administration, possibly provoking considerable social 
tension rather than creating an environment for inter-ethnic 
cooperation and reconciliation. Considering regional voter 
registration and turnout rates, we still see the race as too 
close to call despite Odinga's current lead in the polls. 
 
 
 
 
RANNEBERGER