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Cablegate: Kenya,S Electoral Crisis -- Pushing Kibaki-Odinga

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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

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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