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Viewing cable 09NAIROBI1083, A/S CARSON AND NSC SENIOR DIRECTOR GAVIN'S MEETING WITH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09NAIROBI1083 2009-06-03 04:04 2011-03-07 00:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Nairobi
VZCZCXRO8973
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #1083/01 1540457
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 030457Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9683
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 6559
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0152
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUZEFAA/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 001083 
 
SIPDIS 
 
AF/E FOR SUSAN DRIANO 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/11/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM KE
 
SUBJECT: A/S CARSON AND NSC SENIOR DIRECTOR GAVIN'S MEETING WITH 
AGRICULTURE MINISTER RUTO 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Michael E. Ranneberger for reasons 1.4 (B 
and D) 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  Assistant Secretary for African Affairs (A/S) 
Johnnie Carson and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director 
for Africa Michelle Gavin met with Minister of Agriculture and senior 
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader William Ruto on May 12.  A/S Carson and Gavin expressed deep concern about the Kenyan government's lack of progress on political reform.  Ruto cited the appointment of constitutional review experts and the start of an interim electoral commission as evidence of government progress.  A/S Carson and Gavin urged additional measures such as replacement of the current police commissioner and creation of a Special Tribunal to prosecute perpetrators of the 2008 ethnically charged violence.  Ruto appeared non-committal on police reform and characterized the Waki Report, which called for the creation of a Special Tribunal, as "rubbish" and "unfairly incriminating."  We do not expect Ruto to serve as a 
positive agent of change in the coming months.  End summary.
 
2.  (C) Visiting Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie 
Carson and National Security Council Senior Director for Africa 
Michelle Gavin, accompanied by Ambassador Ranneberger, met with 
Minister of Agriculture and senior Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader William Ruto on May 12.  A/S Carson expressed serious concerns about the structural integrity of the governing coalition, suggesting that it was starting to fray.  Political tensions are beginning to mount, A/S Carson said, and these could lead to violence.  Carson 
added that the new Administration wanted to express its concerns 
early on so we would not have to attempt to mitigate a more serious 
situation later on.  Carson explained that the USG was intent on 
encouraging positive reforms and quick implementation of the Annan 
accords.  Such action would bring political stability and unlock 
economic growth.  Gavin said that President Obama was deeply 
concerned by the political gridlock in Kenya that was preventing 
progress on reform.  While the U.S. wanted to help, the new 
administration would not do business as usual with those obstructing 
the reform agenda or inciting political violence, she said.  Carson 
and Ambassador Ranneberger told Ruto that he was one of the political leaders who could make a positive contribution by pushing for 
implementation of the reform agenda and support the creation of a 
special tribunal to prosecute those involved in last year's 
ethnically charged violence. 

3.  (C) Ruto said he appreciated U.S. concerns about Kenya's future. 
He believed, however, that responsibility for Kenya's stability 
belonged first and foremost to the country itself.  Ruto made several 
points about the prognosis for the grand coalition, some of the 
reform accomplishments to date, and the direction of the country: 

-- The grand coalition has management issues, but Ruto has a lot of 
confidence that it will make it through the next five years intact.
 
-- Reforms, admitted Ruto, could be enacted with more speed. 

However: Parliament has now appointed experts on constitutional review to begin the process; an interim electoral commission has started, and it will clean up voter rolls; and a Truth and Reconciliation 
mechanism has been set in motion. 

-- The current misunderstanding between the President and the PM is 
manageable; it is simply about posturing.  Ruto said the House 
Business Committee (control of which is part of the parliamentary 
scrap between the President and the PM) controls nothing and is not 
powerful. 

-- Ruto assured A/S Carson and Gavin that Kenya won't return to 
violence because it "is a lot wiser."  The power sharing issues 
currently at stake will not bring about a resurgence of violence. 

-- The real problem between now and 2012 was how to deal with the 
youth.  Youth perceptions of real and perceived inequality could give 
Kenya problems, said Ruto, not the House Business Committee in 
Parliament.  Citing the rise of the Mungiki gang, Ruto explained that 
initially it was an ethnically-based organization, now it is simply 
about the marginalized poor lashing out at those with economic means.
 
4. (C) Asked by Gavin for concrete steps on reform that we can expect 
to see over the next three months, Ruto listed a framework 
constitution for discussion, an operational electoral commission that 
will have conducted its first by-election, an operational commission 
on ethnic relations and integration, and a resolution on the issue of 
control of the House Business Committee.  Gavin asserted that the 
Administration would not view process as progress.  A/S Carson 
pressed Ruto, noting that not all reforms required legislation. 
There were areas that required only executive action, such as the 
removal of the police commissioner or judges.  A/S Carson said that 
Kofi Annan's inquiries, among others, had shown that the police acted 
with impunity and intimidated civil society and political parties. 
Pointing to the recent assassination of two civil society leaders, 
A/S Carson complained that no one has been held responsible.  This 
level of impunity, he said, reflected the unwillingness of senior 
leaders to act or to follow the rule of law. 
 
NAIROBI 00001083  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
5.  (C) Ruto replied that if it were up to him, he would have fired 
Police Commissioner Hussein Ali for incompetence.  He complained that the former Minister of Justice, Martha Karua, had never put forward a concrete proposal for judicial reform.  Ruto predicted that the 
President would not take action against Ali or the Kenyan Chief 
Justice because the two had helped President Kibaki retain office 
last year.  The safest way to go on both police and judicial reform, 
said Ruto, was through a new constitution.  A/S Carson reminded Ruto 
that both reform and executive decision were necessary, and that 
there was a need to remove some individuals from office to achieve 
long-term reforms.  If Kenya could act on judicial and police reforms 
and remove incompetents in the next 30-60 days, these would be 
indicators of a commitment to change. 

6.  (C) Ambassador Ranneberger probed Ruto for views on the Special 
Tribunal to hold accountable those responsible for the 2008 
ethnically charged violence.  The Ambassador told Ruto that his 
leadership toward a consensus on setting up a Tribunal inside Kenya 
is critical.  Ruto acknowledged the need to put the country back in a 
good light after the difficulties of last year.  The Waki Report, 
however, was "rubbish" and "unfairly incriminating," he said.  Ruto 
explained that he voted in favor of the Special Tribunal for the sake 
of the country but he was not sure whether the ICC or a local 
tribunal was the way to go.  Both Senior Director Gavin and 
Ambassador Ranneberger discouraged Kenya from going to the ICC, which would simply indicate to the world that Kenya could not handle its own problems. 

7.  (C) Ruto expressed frustration with the media, which he felt had 
blamed members of his Kalenjin group for locking and burning down a 
church full of asylum seekers in Eldoret during last year's violence. 
 Ruto emphasized that his people had done no such thing.  According 
to Ruto, the cause of the incident was an accidental kitchen fire 
during preparations for lunch.  Gavin reminded Ruto that within the 
processes established by a Tribunal, the truth about such events 
could come out and be clarified. 

8.  (C) Comment:  Ruto was unable to offer significant steps on 
reform that could be accomplished in the next three months.  What he 
did expose again was his extreme sensitivity to the establishment of 
any kind of tribunal and his willingness to protect his own community 
regardless of the cost to the country as a whole.  We do not expect 
Ruto to serve as a positive agent of change in the coming months. 
End comment. 

9. (U) This cable has been cleared by A/S Carson and NSC Senior 
Director for Africa Gavin. 
 
RANNEBERGER