Cablegate: Kenya Elections: Parliament Composition - A

O 171621Z JAN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

B. 07 NAIROBI 04759
C. 07 NAIROBI 04647
D. 07 NAIROBI 01150
E. 03 SECSTATE 04208


1. (SBU) Unlike Kenya's contentious presidential election,
the parliamentary elections proceeded relatively smoothly and
with a clear and credible outcome. With 207 of 210
constituencies reporting (3 constituencies will be re-run),
Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) won 99 of the
207 seats; making it by far the largest party in Kenya's 10th
Parliament. Combined with its NARC ally, ODM will control at
least 102 seats. Despite its impressive showing and the
election of an ODM Speaker and Deputy Speaker at the
Parliament's January 15 session (reftel A), ODM control of
parliament is not a forgone conclusion. Although President
Kibaki's PNU party won only 43 seats, combined with its
coalition parties and the January 8 agreement of Kalonzo
Musyoka's ODM party to enter government with PNU, the
president's supporters will possess at least 94 seats. Eight
micro-parties - each with two MPs or less, round out the
composition of the incoming 10th Parliament. Including the 12
nominated members of parliament (allocated according to
relative party strength), but subtracting the seat previously
held by the new Speaker (who must resign), ODM and its
coalition partner currently control 106 seats; five shy of a
majority. (Until by-elections are held, the total number of
seats is 218 -- 206 elected and 12 nominated.) PNU and its
partners will control at least 100 (94 elected and six
nominated). Fifteen women candidates were elected to the
Tenth Parliament - a low number in absolute terms, but a
nearly 100 per cent increase over 2002. The mood of the
voters was decidedly anti-incumbent: only 30 percent of MPs
from the 9th Parliament were returned by voters. Twenty-one
out of 32 sitting Ministers and 22 of 40 assistant ministers
lost their seats.

2. (SBU) Given the nature of Kenyan politics, PNU still hopes
to find the additional votes needed to form a majority: it is
not clear whether they would come from unaffiliated
micro-parties or defecting ODM MPs. For either ODM or PNU,
ruling with a slim majority would be fraught with
difficulties as either one would be open to blackmail by its
coalition partners, destabilizing its hold on the
legislature. Contacts agree that the chances of an
ODM-sponsored no-confidence vote succeeding is exceptionally
small. Thus, the most likely scenario for the Tenth
Parliament is a shifting majority on a vote-by-vote basis.
The result will either be gridlock with minimal legislative
achievement or a successful session based on an agreed
legislative agenda, including constitutional and electoral
reform. This is the option that we continue to promote and we
hope that wiser and calmer heads on each side will agree.
End Summary

Valid parliamentary results

3. (SBU) Although the outcome of the presidential elections
is highly controversial, we believe the parliamentary
election results are a more valid reflection of the Kenyan
voters' will. This conclusion is supported by the following:
the presence of multiple party agents in all polling stations
(in party strongholds, such as pro-ODM Nyanza province or
pro-PNU Central province, there was significant competition
at the parliamentary level and minimal competition at the
presidential level); the large measure of agreement between
vote figures announced by the ECK in Nairobi with those
announced at constituency-level tally centers (which were
empowered to announce official and final results for local
councilor and parliamentary races); and the general lack of
complaints from losing parliamentary candidates. Taken
together, these factors give us a high degree of confidence
in the outcome of parliamentary elections.

And the ballot says: ODM trounces PNU, but...

4. (SBU) Voters handed ODM a clear victory over PNU in
parliamentary elections. There are 210 constituencies, but
only 206 seats are currently filled. Voting in 2
constituencies (Kakamunji/Nairobi and Kilgoris/Rift Valley)
was annulled due to election-day violence; another will be
re-run due to a tied vote count (Wajir North/NorthEastern),
and a fourth will be re-run to replace the newly elected
Speaker (Emuhaya/Western). Of these four constituencies we
expect ODM to win in Kilgoris and Emuhaya, while Wajir and
Kakamunji could go either way. Currently ODM candidates
control 98 of the directly elected seats. PNU won the second
largest number of seats with 43. ODM-K won the third largest
number of seats with 16, followed by PNU-affiliate KANU with
14 seats. PNU-affiliates Safina and NARC-K won five and
four seats, respectively, while ODM-allied NARC won three.

ODM 98
PNU 43
ODM-K (in government with PNU) 16
KANU (PNU coalition) 14
SAFINA (PNU coalition) 5
NARC-K (PNU coalition) 4
NARC (ODM ally) 3
FORD-P (PNU coalition) 3
Chama Cha Uzalendo 2
Party of Independent Candidates 2
New FORD-K (PNU coalition) 2
Democratic Party (PNU coalition) 2
Sisi Kwa Sisi (PNU coalition) 2

In addition, Mazingira (the Greens), FORD-K, FORD-Asili (all
PNU coalition members), PPK, KENDA, United Democratic
Movement, KADDU, PDP, NLP, and KADU-Asili (all unaligned)
each won one seat.

5. (SBU) In addition to the 210 directly-elected seats, an
additional 12 appointed seats are allocated to the strongest
parties in proportion to the number of seats they hold among
elected MPs. ODM will nominate six of the 12 seats, PNU will
nominate three, ODM-K will nominate two; and KANU will
nominate one. Initially, it was expected that Safina had
earned one nominated MP slot, but the ECK ruled that ODM-K
was entitled to two seats. Safina has threatened a lawsuit.
Therefore, ODM (combined with its NARC affiliate) currently
control 107 seats, five short of a working majority. Taking
into account the four by-elections to be held, ODM should
boost that number to at least 109 seats: an ODM sweep of all
four by-elections would boost the number further to 111 seats
- one shy of a majority. PNU and its coalition partners
combined with ODM-K will control 100 seats.

6. (SBU) Allocating the 12 nominated MPs has created some
controversy within the parties that earned them, as they try
to balance varying constituencies within their ranks. ODM
nominated Joseph Nyaga, the only Kikuyu among its leadership,
who lost his MP seat; Musa Sirma; Sheikh Dor - the Secretary
General of Council of Imams and Preachers in Kenya (reftel
D); and three women, Janet Ong'era - ODM Executive Director;
Sofia Ahmed - a women's leader from North Eastern Province;
and women's activist, Rachel Shebesh. PNU tried to strike a
balance between increasing geographic diversity of the
party's MPs with rewarding the many long-time Kibaki
loyalists who lost their seats (or in the case of Peter
Nyamweya did not contest the election and instead opted to
run Kibaki's re-election campaign). In the end, PNU nominated
former Foreign Minister Rafael Tuju (ethnic Luo), Nyamweya,
and former Mombasa Mayor Taib Ali Taib, who failed in his bid
to unseat top ODM leader from Mombasa Najib Balala. We do
not yet have information on the other nominated MPs, although
ODM-K is expected to nominate Julia Odhiambo, who was Kalonzo
Musyoka's vice-presidential candidate, but who lost her
parliamentary race.

Shifting parliamentary majority likely

7. (SBU) The parliamentary balance is tightly drawn. The
election of an ODM Speaker (reftel A) demonstrates that ODM
currently has a committed majority, albeit a slim one. Both
ODM and PNU hope they can assemble a parliamentary majority,
at least on a vote-by-vote basis. They will compete for the
support of unaffiliated micro-parties. Given the money-driven
nature of Kenyan politics, the lure of ministerial positions
and jobs for supporters in parastatals may prove irresistible
to smaller parties. The governing party, PNU, has the
advantage in this contest. While MPs from any parties can
vote with the government, a recent amendment to relevant
legislation prevents MPs from assuming ministerial positions
without the assent of their party (a common practice in the
Ninth Parliament). Given this situation, the most likely
outcome is a shifting majority, cobbled together on a
vote-by-vote basis. Hopefully, wiser, calmer heads on each
side will interpret the outcome of the Speaker election to
mean that a successful legislative session is possible only
if based on a legislative agenda negotiated and agreed by the
two major parties.

8. (SBU) Smaller non-affiliated parties are trying to
maximize their leverage in parliament and have formed the
Small Parties Parliamentary Group (SPPG). According to a
USAID contractor working extensively with Parliament,
parliamentary rules do not recognize such groupings, so the
SPPG's impact is unclear. Government entreaties to smaller
parties to firm up a ruling majority may undermine the
effectiveness of this initiative.

Party Strength by Region: ODM dominates

9. (SBU) Analysis of parliamentary results by regions shows
ODM's breadth of support among the electorate and PNU's
corresponding weakness. ODM won an absolute majority of
parliamentary seats in six of Kenya's eight provinces; it won
over two-thirds of the seats in Nyanza, Western, Rift Valley,
and Nairobi. In contrast, PNU was able to gain a majority
of seats only in its Central Province stronghold. Taking its
coalition parties into account, the PNU coalition also
managed to carry Eastern Province (aided by ODM-K winning 15
seats). PNU won no seats in ODM's Nyanza stronghold, only two
in Western Province, and only 9 of Rift Valley's 49 seats.
Even if PNU succeeds in forming a functioning parliamentary
majority, it will be perceived as highly suspect in much of
the country, which voted overwhelmingly for ODM. One partial
explanation for ODM's dominance is that, in most cases, ODM
parliamentary candidates faced very little pro-Raila
competition. Most voters who supported Raila for president
also voted for ODM parliamentary candidates. On the other
hand, PNU parliamentary candidates were frequently opposed by
several pro-Kibaki parliamentary candidates. Other elements
of the PNU coalition competed amongst themselves, splitting
their vote (reftel C).

Crystal ball revisited

10. (SBU) As predicted in reftel B, there was a high rate of
turnover from the Ninth to the Tenth Parliament. According to
our information, 196 incumbents ran for election. Of the 196,
143 (73 per cent) ran as candidates of different parties than
they did when elected in 2002. This lack of loyalty was
returned by voters: only 66 were returned. Altogether, only
30 percent of the members of the 9th parliament returned to
serve in the 10th parliament. An extremely high number of
sitting ministers and assistant ministers (who are required
to be MPs) lost re-election bids. All 32 ministers ran for
re-election: 21 lost. Assistant Ministers fared only
slightly better: 22 of 40 lost their parliamentary seats. As
we predicted, (former) Foreign Minister Raphael Tuju, Labor
Minister Newton Kulundu, Regional Development Minister Abdi
Mohamed, Tourism Minister Morris Dzoro, and Trade Minister
Mukhisa Kutuyi all lost. In addition, we evaluated former
Vice President Moody Awori, former Defense Minister Njenga
Karume, and Livestock Minister Joseph Munyao as being in
trouble: all lost. In addition, as predicted, two MPs close
to former President Moi also lost; his son Gideon and his
hatchet man, Nicholas Biwott. We were less accurate in
predicting ODM candidates who would lose. Only Joseph Nyaga -
the sole Kikuyu in ODM's leadership - lost his seat. The
others we assessed as being in trouble were carried to
victory by the ODM parliamentary wave.

Women parliamentarians: modest progress

11. (SBU) Fifteen women were elected to the Tenth parliament.
Although the number of women elected to parliament remains
low in absolute terms, it is a nearly two-fold increase over
2002, when 8 were elected. Seven of the 15 women
parliamentarians are from the ODM bloc, while 5 represent the
PNU bloc. Three represent unaligned parties. The regional
breakdown of elected women MPs is: six from Rift Valley,
three each from Nairobi and Eastern, two from Central, and
one from Coast. Nyanza, Northeastern and Western provinces
failed to elect any women MPs. Several women are likely to be
among the 12 MPs nominated by parties, so the final number of
women MPs is likely to be higher than the total of 18 women
MPs in the Ninth Parliament.

12. (SBU) The 269 women running for parliament in 119
constituencies represented 10 percent of all candidates,
while women will constitute only 7 percent of incoming
parliamentarians. A slightly more positive spin is that
women won 13 percent of all constituencies they contested, so
they were elected in a slightly higher proportion than their
strength as a percentage of all candidates. Significantly,
incumbent women MPs bucked the anti-incumbent trend: of 9
incumbent female MPs who chose to run for re-election, 5 were
re-elected: a 55 percent success rate for women incumbents,
compared with a 30 percent success rate for incumbents
overall. The lesson seems to be that, once women overcome
the myriad difficulties Kenyan political culture presents and
obtain a position of authority, they gain the respect and
loyalty of their constituents.

A rogues gallery? Famous and infamous MPs

13. (SBU) The Tenth Parliament will have its share of
scoundrels and a few interesting new personalities. A check
of consular records shows that seven incoming MPs have visa
lookouts for involvement in money laundering or large scale
corruption. An ODM MP has a human trafficking hit. A second
MP was denied a visa due to his wife's human trafficking
activities. Two more are possible subjects of visa
ineligibilities for criminal activity in the US. George
Saitoti, who is implicated in the Goldenberg financial
mega-scandal of the 1990s, was returned to parliament and
promoted to Minister of Internal Security - making him
Kenya's top cop. ODM Pentagon member William Ruto, a key
figure in political/ethnic violence in the Rift Valley in
1992, 1997, and post-2007 election, also returns to
parliament. Ruto was charged in 2004 with defrauding the
National Social Security fund in connection with illegal land
transfers. His case has not yet come to trial. ODM's Zakayo
Cheruiyot, implicated in Rift Valley ethnic violence and who
is suspected of abetting International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda fugitive Felicien Kabuga (reftel D), also returns.
Kenya's most notorious drug trafficker, John Harun Mwau, was
elected MP on a micro-party ticket. Finally, televangelist
and self-proclaimed "Bishop" Margaret Wanjiru Kariuki was
elected to represent Nairobi's Starehe constituency despite
facing allegations of bigamy.

Prospects for a no-confidence vote: nil

14. (SBU) Political observers are unanimous that an
ODM-sponsored vote of no confidence in President Kibaki's
government has an exceptionally small chance of success.
While a successful no-confidence vote would force a re-run of
the presidential election, it would also dissolve parliament
and force MPs to hit the campaign trail again before they
have a chance to replenish their campaign-depleted bank
account. Micro-party MPs - whose support would be essential
to the success of a no-confidence vote - are unlikely to risk
their seats (and the nearly 1 million USD salary it brings
over five years) to help ODM achieve its political goals.


15. (SBU) Looking into the future, ODM's party discipline is
strengthened by the election of its candidates as Speaker and
Deputy Speaker. Thus, the most likely scenario for the Tenth
Parliament is a shifting majority on a vote-by-vote basis.
The result will either be gridlock with minimal legislative
achievement or a successful session based on an agreed
legislative agenda, negotiated between the two major blocs -
ODM and PNU, including constitutional and electoral reform.
This is the option that we continue to promote. We hope that
wiser and calmer heads on each side will agree. Once these
reforms are achieved, the basis will exist to tackle
fundamental underlying causes of instability - such as
overcentralization and the land issue. We expect President
Kibaki to reconvene Parliament in early March, when he will
present his government's legislative agenda. End Comment

© Scoop Media

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