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Viewing cable 08NAIROBI239, KENYA,S ELECTORAL CRISIS -- PUSHING KIBAKI-ODINGA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08NAIROBI239 2008-01-22 17:05 2011-03-02 22:10 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Nairobi
VZCZCXRO8078
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #0239/01 0221736
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 221736Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4341
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9828
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5725
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 5046
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2560
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1832
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2593
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2519
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUCQSOC/USCINCSOC MACDILL AFB FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 NAIROBI 000239 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR S, D, P, G, R, DS, DRL, AND AF/AS FRAZER FROM THE 
AMBASSADOR 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM KE
SUBJECT: KENYA,S ELECTORAL CRISIS -- PUSHING KIBAKI-ODINGA 
MEETING AND NEXT STEPS 
 
REF: A. NAIROBI 238 
     B. NAIROBI 237 
     C. NAIROBI 236 (EXDIS) 
     D. NAIROBI 235 
     E. NAIROBI 234 
     F. NAIROBI 229 
     G. NAIROBI 227 
     H. RANNEBERGER-FRAZER TELCONS JANUARY 20 AND 21 
     I. NAIROBI 212 
     J. NAIROBI 210 
     K. NAIROBI 209 
     L. NAIROBI 200 
     M. NAIROBI 13 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Ranneberger, reasons 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1. (C) Summary. In the lead-up to Kofi Annan,s expected 
arrival January 22, we have continued to press for President 
Kibaki and Raila Odinga to use that opportunity for a 
face-to-face meeting and to launch a meaningful political 
dialogue.  Achieving that would go a long way towards calming 
tensions and ending violence.  Both have reaffirmed their 
commitment to meet.  Both said they agreed in general terms 
with the non-paper I presented on the way forward (ref A), 
but each said they would want a number of changes.  This 
message reports on my meetings with Raila Odinga, Vice 
President Musyoka, and President Kibaki.  End summary. 
 
------------------- 
Meeting with Odinga 
------------------- 
 
2. (C) I met with Odinga on January 18 to stress the 
importance the U.S. attaches to resolution of the current 
crisis through a political solution, and made clear we 
expected Odinga to meet with Kibaki under the aegis of Kofi 
Annan.  Odinga told me: "I am ready to meet one-on-one with 
President Kibaki, without pre-conditions, in the presence of 
Kofi Annan."  Odinga also said that the non-paper on the way 
forward, which I reviewed with him, could, with some small 
changes, serve as the basis for discussions between the two 
sides following a Kibaki-Odinga meeting.  (One of Odinga,s 
aides, however, subsequently came back to me with extensive 
proposed changes.) 
 
---------------------- 
Vice President Musyoka 
---------------------- 
 
3. (C) On January 20 I met with Vice President Musyoka. 
During a one and a half hour discussion, I made clear to 
Musyoka that we expect him to use his leverage within the 
government to support a political solution.  Kibaki and his 
Party of National Unity, I pointed out, need Musyoka and his 
Orange Democratic Movement ) Kenya party in order to have 
any semblance of legitimacy, since his votes plus those cast 
for Kibaki clearly constitute a majority of votes cast (and 
in order to have at least a near-majority in Parliament).  I 
reviewed U.S. policy at length and told Musyoka that he will 
destroy his political future if he participates in a 
government that is not broad-based and seen as reflecting the 
will of the Kenyan people.  Therefore, it is in his interest 
to work for a political solution. 
 
4. (C) Musyoka repeatedly emphasized the importance he 
attaches to his friendship with the U.S. and his commitment 
to work with us to achieve a political solution.  Musyoka 
said that Kibaki is willing to meet one-on-one with Odinga in 
the presence of Kofi Annan.  Musyoka tried to take credit for 
mobilizing government efforts to promote dialogue.  He 
claimed that he and Uhuru Kenyatta went to Kibaki, telling 
Kibaki that he is isolated and that the government needed to 
develop a strategy to demonstrate commitment to dialogue. 
That, he said, is why a committee for dialogue and 
reconciliation headed by him was announced (see below).  He 
recognized that the presence on the committee of Minister of 
Justice Martha Karua, considered one of the staunchest 
hardliners against compromise with Odinga, is a serious 
 
NAIROBI 00000239  002 OF 004 
 
 
problem.  (He did not mention that his own leadership of the 
committee is a huge issue, given the personal animosity 
between him and Odinga as a result of their split in the 
run-up to the elections.)  Musyoka confided, as is generally 
believed, that as a quid pro quo for his accepting the vice 
presidency position, Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to 
support Musyoka as candidate for the presidency in 2012. 
Perhaps reflecting the reality that he does not want Odinga 
brought into the government, Musyoka argued that Odinga 
should remain outside of government as leader of the 
opposition in Parliament. 
 
5. (C) Musyoka did, however, recognize that there must be a 
comprehensive political solution.  He focused particularly on 
the need for electoral and constitutional reform.  I reviewed 
the non-paper with him.  With minor proposed changes, he said 
he thought it would be acceptable to Kibaki. 
 
6. (C) Musyoka also said he understands the need to lift the 
ban on demonstrations, indicating this might happen within a 
week.  He also said that, in response to my letter to the 
Minister of Security, allegations of the use of unjustified 
deadly force by the police are being investigated.  He urged 
that efforts be made to dissuade the opposition from holding 
demonstrations in the coming days that could lead to more 
violence. 
 
------ 
Kibaki 
------ 
 
7. (C) During a one-hour meeting with President Kibaki on 
January 21, I emphasized the U.S. position on the urgent need 
to launch a process of dialogue leading to a political 
settlement of the election crisis.  Kibaki reaffirmed that he 
is ready to meet with Odinga under the aegis of Kofi Annan. 
Noting that it was Odinga who backed out of the meeting which 
Kibaki had agreed to during President Kufuor's visit, Kibaki 
expressed skepticism that Odinga would actually meet.  Kibaki 
complained that "Odinga keeps putting conditions."  I told 
the President that Odinga had reaffirmed to me his 
willingness to meet without preconditions, and Kibaki 
welcomed this.  The President said he talked with Annan on 
January 21 and will see him early on January 23. 
 
8. (C) As do we, Kibaki sees a face-to-face meeting with 
Odinga as the starting point for launching a dialogue between 
persons they designate.  However, the President made clear 
that he has certain bottom lines and that he is deeply 
skeptical that Odinga will ever agree to anything 
"reasonable."  Kibaki said "I cannot have Odinga in the 
government.  It is impossible to work with him.  Some of his 
people could come into government, but not him, and not 
Ruto."  I pushed back, but the President was adamant.  "We 
effectively already have power-sharing, with the ODM 
(Odinga,s party) controlling Parliament," Kibaki said. 
 
9. (C) He then launched into a detailed review of his 
concerns regarding ongoing violence.  He did not blame Odinga 
for this, saying it is clear there are forces beyond his 
control.  He said that William Ruto, one of the members of 
the ODM,s "pentagon" leadership, is largely responsible for 
continuing violence in Rift Valley.  The need to end such 
violence must be a major issue in any talks, Kibaki insisted. 
 I agreed and made clear that we have pressed Odinga and the 
other pentagon members on the need to send clear signals 
against violence.  When I argued the need to allow peaceful 
demonstrations by the opposition, Kibaki said that this could 
not be done while violence continues in Rift Valley (with 
incidents as recently as last night, he said).  "Odinga must 
help restore normalcy," Kibaki said.  Kibaki agreed that a 
meeting between him and Odinga, and the immediate launching 
of a process of dialogue, are key to ending violence. 
 
10. (C) Kibaki carefully reviewed the way forward non-paper 
that I presented to him.  He said that the paper was in 
general terms fine, but that certain changes needed to be 
made.  He specifically said that it was right to focus on the 
 
NAIROBI 00000239  003 OF 004 
 
 
importance of constitutional and electoral reform.  However, 
he said that creating the position of an executive prime 
minister was not something that should be considered.  When I 
pushed back, he said, "I know this is what Odinga wants, but 
it is not appropriate for Kenya." Kibaki agreed on the point 
calling for an independent investigation of electoral 
irregularities, but said this should be established pursuant 
to the filing of a legal petition with the courts regarding 
electoral irregularities. 
 
11. (C) I complimented the President for his dignified manner 
while hearing some very tough attacks on him during the 
parliamentary session to elect the new Speaker.  The 
President said it had not been easy to sit through such 
comments, but he was proud that his team handled the ensuing 
debate so skillfully, resulting in the ODM Speaker actually 
ruling in favor of the position taken by the President,s 
Party of National Unity.  He said he will work with the 
Speaker to convene the Parliament at the beginning of March. 
 
---------- 
Next Steps 
---------- 
 
12. (C) Annan will arrive on January 22 and will work to 
bring about a Kibaki-Odinga meeting.  I will share the 
non-paper on the way forward with him in the event he thinks 
it could be useful as a framework for dialogue between the 
two sides following a Kibaki-Odinga meeting, and to give 
Annan a sense of our thinking. 
 
13. (C) Interestingly, when I met with former presidents 
Chissano and Mkapa on the 18th, they suggested that the two 
sides should form delegations prior to the arrival of the 
eminent persons.  When I met with Odinga on the 18th he also 
floated the idea of the two sides forming delegations for 
"talks about talks" to set the stage for a Kibaki-Odinga 
meeting.  I emphasized to Odinga that having such preparatory 
talks was a recipe for failure.  As he well knows, I said, a 
face-to-face meeting is imperative to start the process of 
dialogue, so the two can then give instructions to their 
respective teams.  I expressed my concerns about this 
approach with Chissano and Mkapa as well. 
 
14. (C) On the 18th, the government announced formation of a 
political committee to spearhead national political dialogue 
and national reconciliation.  The members include:  Vice 
President Musyoka, Minister of Security Saitoti, Foreign 
Minister Wetangula, Minister of Finance Amost Kimunya, 
Minister for Local Government Uhuru Kenyatta, Minister of 
Justice Karua, Attorney General Wako, and Member of 
Parliament Mutula Kilonzo (who is close to Musyoka and is the 
lawyer he designated for the overnight review of the vote 
tally carried out at the KICC on December 29).  Odinga 
considers Musyoka a traitor for having deserted the ODM in 
the run-up to the elections.  Saitoti, Kimunya, and Karua are 
considered extremely hardline against any real political 
compromise. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
15. (C) It appears, based on these discussions, that there is 
a reasonable chance that Annan will succeed in getting Kibaki 
and Odinga together.  Such a meeting will probably result in 
agreement to appoint representatives of the two sides to 
follow up, thus launching a dialogue.  However, from what we 
know of Odinga,s position and from Kibaki,s comments above, 
it is clear that the two sides are very far apart and that 
achieving a meaningful compromise political settlement will 
be very difficult.  Although the two sides could eventually 
coalesce around agreement to constitutional and legal reform, 
achieving agreement on investigation of electoral 
irregularities, establishment of a truth and reconciliation 
commission, joint efforts to end violence, and power-sharing 
will be a huge hurdle ) if Odinga wants to come into the 
government (and have 50 percent of all positions, as he has 
 
NAIROBI 00000239  004 OF 004 
 
 
stated before). 
RANNEBERGER