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Cablegate: A Tale of Two Orange Conventions: Opposition

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 NAIROBI 003513

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM KE PGOV PHUM
SUBJECT: A TALE OF TWO ORANGE CONVENTIONS: OPPOSITION
FORMALLY DISUNITES

REF: A. 06 NAIROBI 4419

B. 06 NAIROBI 5393

1. (SBU) Summary: The Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya
(ODM-K) nominated Kalonzo Musyoka for President at its
convention held on 31 August. The Orange Democratic Movement
(ODM) nominated Raila Odinga for President at its convention
the following day. As in '92 and '97, the opposition will
enter the presidential campaign season disunited. However, a
last minute re-unification of the opposition, as occurred in
the 2002 election, remains possible, though we judge this
unlikely. It is more probable that Kalonzo will opt to
support Kibaki after the election and then bargain for a
prominent cabinet post. End Summary.

2. (U) Ref A describes the Kenyan political scene prior to
the opposition break up. Ref B provides a briefing on
Kenya's major ethnic voting blocs. Three members of the
Embassy political section attended both conventions described
here.

ODM-K: Kalonzo's Essentially Ethnic-Kamba Convention
--------------------------------------------- -------

3. (SBU) ODM-K held its one day nominating convention on 31
August at Nairobi's Kasarani Sports Center. The party had
planned for 4,200 delegates to attend from across the
country. In the end far more attended in an unofficial
capacity, overwhelmingly from Kalonzo's ethnic Kamba
community of Eastern Province. Kalonzo's only competitor was
nominated Member of Parliament from Western Province (ethnic
Luhya) Julia Ojiambo. The vote count was roughly 2/3s for
Kalonzo and 1/3 for Ojiambo. Following the announcement of
Kalonzo's victory, Ojiambo conceded and pronounced herself to
be Kalonzo's running mate. Kalonzo was non-committal on that
subject when he gave his acceptance speech. The convention
was marked by very limited political support outside
Kalonzo's home region. The only prominent local political
leaders at the convention who were not from Kalonzo's home
region were ODM-K Chairman Samuel Pogishio (MP from Rift
Valley Province, ethnic Kalenjin) and Lucas Maitha (MP from
Coast Province, ethnic Mijikenda). Neither politician has
the stature to deliver more than a slice of their ethnic
communities. Ojiambo was not able to recruit any prominent
Western Province (ethnic Luhya) politicians to join her.

4. (SBU) Kalonzo gave a stirring speech and left the door
open to an orange reconciliation somewhere down the line.
For logistical reasons, any reconciliation that would change
the ballot must occur no less than two months prior to the
election (as was the case in 2002). We see the chances of an
Orange reconciliation as quite low for both personal and
political reasons. Kalonzo is the most popular politician in
Kambaland, but Kibaki is nearly as popular among Kambas as is
native son Kalonzo. Raila Odinga has no popularity in
Kambaland. The Kambas make up about 11 percent of the
population. They heeded Kalonzo's urgings not to support the
Kibaki government's draft constitution in November 2005, but
Kibaki has gained in popularity since then. Kambas are well
represented in the Kibaki cabinet. Kalonzo is absolutely
committed to running for President. We suspect that he will
maintain his candidacy and work to elect as many ODM-K MPs as
possible. He will then seek to bargain post-election for a
senior cabinet post with Kibaki, the presumptive winner
(according to conventional wisdom). This was the strategy
successfully followed by FORD-P Chief Simeon Nyachae in 2002.

5. (SBU) Alternatively, Kalonzo might be tempted to give up
his candidacy in favor of Kibaki if the Vice Presidency were
offered to him. If the Kibaki government's 40 percent score
in the November 2005 referendum vote is taken as a guide,
then all Kibaki needs is one major voting bloc to switch
sides. Kalonzo's Kamba vote could give the Kibaki team an
additional 11 percent for a total of 51 percent, even if they
make no gains elsewhere. All that is required under the
Kenyan constitution is a plurality of the national vote with
at least 25 percent support in five of the eight provinces.

ODM: Raila Crowned King, Courtiers From Throughout Kenya
--------------------------------------------- -----------

NAIROBI 00003513 002 OF 003

6. (SBU) ODM held its one day nominating convention on 1
September at the same Kasarani Sports Center. The party
planned for 4,200 delegates from across the country, but the
actual delegate vote count came to only 3,449. Delegates
were more nationally representative than in the previous
day's ODM-K event. The vote count came to 77 percent for
Raila, 11 percent for former Vice President (under Moi)
Musalia Mudavadi (ethnic Luhya from Western Province), 10
percent for William Ruto (ethnic Kalenjin from Rift Valley
Province) with Joseph Nyaga (Central Province) and Najib
Balala (Coast Province) sharing the remaining two percent.
(Note: Balala had withdrawn prior to the vote in favor of
Raila.) Raila support was overwhelming from his native
Nyanza Province and substantial everywhere else except
Western Province. Mudavadi's support was entirely from his
native Western Province. All four of Raila's ODM competitors
conceded and supported Raila. Balala commented "Raila has in
the past been a kingmaker. Today he is our King." Despite
some sections of the press reporting that Mudavadi was tapped
as Raila's running mate, in fact no one was named at the
convention to fill that role. Raila called all the
contenders to join him on stage and proclaimed that together
they formed a "pentagon" that would collectively lead the
party to victory.

7. (SBU) The convention was lively. Several witnesses
confirmed to us that financial inducement of delegates was
practiced by al ODM leaders. The ODM party machinery
(dominated by pro-Raila, ethnic Luo, Nyanza Province
officials) closely scrutinized delegations from Central and
Eastern provinces, fearing external influence peddling by
Kibaki (via the Central Province delegation) and Kalonzo (via
the Eastern Province delegation). Raila and Mudavadi were
observed in a local restaurant supervising their agents'
activities and bargaining with one another until the early
morning hours of the day of the convention. Post convention,
Raila told Mudavadi supporters (according to a close Mudavadi
aide) that Mudavadi would be his "Deputy Captain." The press
and others interpret this to mean "Vice President in a Raila
administration," but there has been no formal communication
to this effect. Most observers doubt that Mudavadi would be
able to deliver the fractured Western Province Luhya vote
(see ref B). PolCounselor asked Raila if he had named
Mudavadi as his VP. He replied "yes," and then changed the
subject.

8. (SBU) ODM confidence is based on its success in defeating
Kibaki 60/40 in the November 2005 national referendum on the
draft constitution. We believe this confidence is misplaced.
KANU was a member of the orange movement in 2005. It is now
leaning decidedly in a pro-Kibaki direction. Moi personally
supported the Orange "no" stance on the draft constitution,
but his deep pockets will now be used to support Kibaki's
re-election. Many voters who did not support the draft
constitution do in fact support Kibaki as president. Kalonzo
was part of the orange team in 2005, but is now running
against Raila, so ODM cannot expect to keep the Kamba vote,
which amounts to about 11 percent.

9. (SBU) Rala is a stirring speaker and has a compelling
political biography, including a starring role in the fight
to bring multiparty democracy to Kenya. His narrative of
"the rich political elite have robbed Kenya long enough and
now it is time for we the people to take over" resonates with
much of Kenyan society. However, his reputation for
demagoguery and political opportunism, past associations with
far left politics and the '82 military coup attempt, and
widespread cultural prejudice against Luos all inhibit his
electabilty.

Comment: For Now a 3-Way Race, Kibaki Still to Choose Party
--------------------------------------------- --------------

10. (SBU) Kenya's national election campaign will formally
begin once parliament is dissolved sometime in September
(probably mid-month). The biggest unanswered question
remains what party Kibaki will run under (NARC?, NARC-K?,
DP?) and what alliances he will then forge (formal alliance
with KANU?). The three contenders, Raila, Kalonzo and Kibaki

NAIROBI 00003513 003 OF 003


were all allies in 2002 in the successful effort to expel
KANU from State House. All three come from Kenya's
traditional political elite. All three count among their
supporters both reformers and unreconstructed political
dinosaurs. No matter who wins, Kenya will not be governed in
a dramatically different fashion under any of these three
leaders.
RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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