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Viewing cable 07NAIROBI4427, KENYA ELECTIONS: Presidential Candidate

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07NAIROBI4427 2007-11-13 14:02 2011-03-02 22:10 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Nairobi
VZCZCXRO4814
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #4427/01 3171443
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131443Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3418
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 004428 
 
SIPDIS 
 
C O R R E C T E D  C O P Y (DECL INFO) 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR AF/E 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2017 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUMPREL KE
SUBJECT:  KENYA ELECTIONS:  Presidential Candidate 
Kalonzo Musyoka on the Elections 
 
NAIROBI 00004428  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
Classified by PolCouns Larry Andre for reasons 1.4 B & D. 
 
1. (C) Summary.  Kalonzo Musyoka, one of the three 
principal presidential candidates, recently laid out to 
the Ambassador his campaign strategy and views on the 
upcoming elections.  The bottom line is that Musyoka 
realizes he has no chance to win the election this round 
and sees his campaign as a prelude to running again for 
president in 2012 -- but at that time with support of the 
dominant Kikuyu community.  This means that Musyoka will 
support President Kibaki if it looks like he will win the 
election and be prepared to tilt the balance after the 
election through participation in a coalition government. 
End summary. 
 
2. (U) At a private lunch with the Ambassador recently, 
Kalonzo Musyoka, one of the three principal presidential 
candidates (representing the Orange Democratic Movement 
of Kenya - ODM-K), discussed his campaign and the 
upcoming elections. 
 
3. (C) Musyoka, who has consistently polled in either 
single digits or barely above that, opened with his 
version of the "hail mary pass."  Musyoka expressed 
concerns about the health of President Kibaki and the 
negative impact on the electoral process should Kibaki 
experience a health crisis before the elections.  Musyoka 
seriously suggested that President Bush should call 
Kibaki to urge him to step aside.  If Kibaki were to pull 
out, Musyoka contended, he would receive much of the 
support Kibaki had received (based on the traditional 
close ties between Kibaki's Kikuyu community and 
Musyoka's much smaller Kamba community). 
 
4. (C) The Ambassador pressed Musyoka on his  strategy 
for the electoral campaign.  Musyoka offered nothing 
concrete, instead focusing on a litany of complaints 
about Kibaki and the other main presidential aspirant, 
Raila Odinga (ODM).  He claimed that, if elected, Odinga 
would become "another Chavez" because he was heavily 
influenced by socialism during his studies as a teenager 
in East Germany.  He also argued that the election of 
Odinga would lead to substantial instability fomented by 
Kibaki's ethnic Kikuyu supporters.  The youth, Musyoka 
said, believe that an Odinga victory would be a 
"revolution" (in the sense of dramatic action against 
corruption and improvement in social services and other 
areas) and will be impatient for results. Musyoka 
condemned Odinga's rumored secret deal with the Muslim 
community not to support strong anti-terrorism measures 
if he were elected.  Musyoka also echoed the claims of 
many others that Odinga's touting of "majimbo-ism" is 
irresponsible and dangerous because it is fanning 
tribalist sentiments. (Note: In its populist version, 
Majimbo-ism means extreme federalism verging on local 
autonomy with ethnic exclusivism.  Musyoka is campaigning 
on a platform of "economic Majimbo," emphasizing fair 
distribution of national resources, but not outright 
federalism. Kibaki has publicly opposed majimbo, arguing 
instead for a strong central government, but with 
additional resources made available to the regions for 
local priorities (soft devolution). END Note.) 
 
5. (C) As the conversation developed, it became clear 
that Musyoka sees himself in the pivotal role of 
spoiler/kingmaker.  Having broken with Odinga on bitter 
terms, he sees no possibility of working with him.  He 
will focus on trying to beat Odinga in critical Rift 
Valley Province.  He believes that historic ties between 
the Rift Valley's Kalenjin community and his Kamba 
community will enable him to do so.  (Note:  Former 
President Moi's armed forces chief of staff, a Kamba, was 
instrumental in helping Moi, a Kalenjin, put down the 
1982 attempted coup which Odinga reportedly supported. 
End Note.) 
 
6. (C) On the other hand, "Kibaki will need to form a 
coalition government if he is elected, and I am ready to 
participate," Musyoka declared.  He then stated flatly 
that Kenya would clearly be better off with Kibaki for 
another five-year term, than with Odinga, as President. 
Asked the possibility of switching to support Kibaki 
before the elections, Musyoka replied that doing so would 
amount to political suicide for him, a verdict we have 
heard from others as well.  However, when the Ambassador 
raised the hypothetical scenario of Kibaki offering 
Musyoka the promise of the vice president's slot if 
elected, Musyoka did not deny that this could influence 
him to shift to support of Kibaki before the elections. 
(Note:  While Musyoka can declare support for Kibaki at 
 
NAIROBI 00004428  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
any time, he can only formally switch sides before 
November 15, though this date has been postponed once and 
may be again.  By this date, each party must turn in its 
presidential nomination papers to the Electoral 
Commission in preparation for the printing of the 
ballots.  End Note.) 
 
7. (C) Discussing a possible alliance with Kibaki led to 
Musyoka's elaborating on his future political prospects. 
Musyoka, who is 56, conceded that he is also focused on 
mounting a presidential campaign for the 2012 elections. 
He said that the heir apparent of the Kikuyu community - 
Uhuru Kenyatta - has tentatively agreed to run as Vice 
President on a 2012 Musyoka ticket.  (Comment:  Obtaining 
this sort of Kikuyu support for 2012 would require 
Musyoka to be supportive of Kibaki now - switching 
support before the election, or tilting the balance in a 
coalition government following the elections.  If 
Kenyatta has truly agreed to serve as Musyoka's running 
mate in 2012, this would be due to a calculation that the 
majority of the Kenyan electorate would not accept a 
Kikuyu President (Kibaki) being followed immediately by 
another Kikuyu President (Kenyatta), requiring Kenyatta 
to bide his time during a Musyoka interregnum. End 
Comment.) 
 
8. (C) Comment.  Though Musyoka presents himself as a 
born-again Christian with the purest of political 
intentions, keen observers see Musyoka as largely an 
opportunist interested primarily in advancing his 
political ambitions.  Musyoka served under Moi and Kibaki 
in ministerial positions.  The traditionally close 
Kikuyu-Kamba relationship and his antipathy towards 
Odinga make almost inevitable some sort of accommodation 
with the Kibaki camp.  How Musyoka calibrates that will 
depend on his reading of Kibaki's prospects for re- 
election.  He could still choose to shift support to 
Kibaki before the ballots are printed, probably ensuring 
a Kibaki win, but there remains very little time for him 
to do so.  He could stay in the race, but modulate his 
campaign to position himself to support a coalition 
government if it looks like Kibaki will win, but without 
a stable parliamentary majority.  On the other hand, he 
could maintain a staunchly independent campaign and go 
down to honorable defeat (and stay alive for 2012) if it 
looks like Kibaki will lose.  Though Musyoka is polished 
and glib, some astute observers consider him an 
intellectual lightweight.  Thus far he has not presented 
a credible national political agenda. 
 
RANNEBERGER