Cablegate: Kenya Elections: One-Third of Constituencies
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 NAIROBI 003761
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC KDEM KE PGOV PHUM
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: ONE-THIRD OF CONSTITUENCIES
REF: A. NAIROBI 00321
B. NAIROBI 02215
C. 06 NAIROBI 05112
D. 06 NAIROBI 05393
E. NAIROBI 03677
F. NAIROBI 01669
G. NAIROBI 03676
H. NAIROBI 03675
1. (SBU) Summary & Introduction: Kenya's first two
multiparty elections, in '92 and '97, were marred by
widespread violence, most of it organized by the government.
The 2002 election was much less violent and the November 2005
referendum was even less violent. This year, we predict
little organized violence directed from the top, but we do
foresee local-level zealots eager to curry favor with their
patrons engaging in intimidation of political rivals for
parliamentary contests. Some parliamentary candidates will
employ violent gangs to intimidate voters and election
officials. Areas suffering from chronic tensions unrelated
to the elections (farmer vs. pastoralist, for example) may
see violence erupt under the added strain of the campaigns.
At the parliamentary level, stakes are particularly high this
election cycle. Polling data and the views of experienced
political observers indicate that the great majority of
sitting MPs will likely be voted out.
2. (SBU) This message lists the constituencies we consider
most violence-prone. Out of Kenya's 210 constituencies, 67
constituencies (about one-third) qualify as "hot spots."
Overall we predict a level of violence somewhat greater than
in 2002, but well under the level of violence in '97 and '92.
The Mission is vigorously pursuing public diplomacy and
private advocacy initiatives to urge peaceful conduct of the
campaigns. End Summary & Introduction.
Nairobi: Five "Hot Constituencies" out of Eight
3. (SBU) Five of Nairobi's eight constituencies are violence
prone. In some instances, as noted below, this is due to
Kikuyu/Luo political rivalry (ref A).
-- Makadara: The constituency is held by a pro-Raila Odinga
Member of Parliament (MP). All major Kenyan ethnic groups
are well represented. It is a political toss-up, and so will
be hotly contested by all sides.
-- Westlands: Currently held by Fred Gumo (ethnic Luhya),
pro-Raila Odinga. Gumo is notorious for employing a violent
political militia that engages in intimidation of opponents
and in extortion, targeting Asian shopkeepers. The
constituency is composed of Luhya (plurality), Kikuyu and
-- Kasarani: An ethnically mixed constituency with Luos and
Kikuyus in equal numbers. The seat is held by a pro-Raila
Odinga Luo MP. Kibaki supporters will make a vigorous
attempt to unseat him. The bitter Luo/Kikuyu rivalry will
figure in this contest. The Mungiki criminal organization
(ref B) has a strong presence in the constituency based on
the Mathare slum (predominately Kikuyu).
-- Langata: Overwhelmingly Luo and very pro-Raila Odinga.
This constituency includes Kibera, reputedly Africa's largest
slum. Odinga will likely win, but over-zealous Kibaki
supporters may instigate violence to discredit Raila. Such
efforts would be led by "reformed" Mungiki leader Ndura
Waruinge (ref c) and ethnic Luhya NARC-K activist Stanley
Livondo (notorious for ostentatiously distributing money to
the public). Both the Odinga and Kibaki camps include armed
-- Embakasi: Overwhelmingly GEMA (Kikuyu/Embu/Meru, close
ethnic/political allies, see ref d). Features a fierce
political rivalry between two pro-Kibaki politicians, both
known for using political violence.
Central: Intra-Mural Fights Among Kibaki Supporters
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4. (SBU) Central Province is overwhelmingly Kikuyu. Kibaki
scored 84 percent support in his native Central Province in
the latest credible candidate preference poll. However, we
expect some violence among Kibaki supporters competing for
nominations from pro-Kibaki parties in 11 of the province's
29 constituencies. Some pro-Kibaki parties may run
parliamentary candidates against one another. General
consensus holds that it would be both pointless and dangerous
for Odinga supporters to campaign for their candidate in this
-- Nyandarua District/Ol Kalou Constituency: Serving MP is
known to use violent tactics against rivals.
-- Nyeri District/Mathira: Battle of the titans: three very
wealthy business/political leaders in a no-holds-barred
-- Nyeri District/Nyeri Town: There have already been
violent incidents among competing factions.
-- Kirinyaga District/Ndia: A history of political violence.
-- Murang'a District/Kangema, Mathioya & Kiharu
constituencies: The entire district is Mungiki infested.
Mungiki rent out "muscle" to politicians.
-- Thika District/Juja: A history of political violence.
-- Kiambu/Githunguri: At 75 and rising, the highest number
of contestants for MP in the country (so far).
-- Kiambu/Kabete: MP Paul Muite, while a Kibaki supporter,
has seriously annoyed the powerful Internal Security, Justice
and Defense ministers, all from Central Province, all
pro-Kibaki. He is considered a "marked man."
-- Kiambu/Kiambaa: Strong Mungiki presence, a very wealthy
candidate, proximity to Nairobi.
Coast Province: Underlying Tensions
5. (SBU) Coast Province is hotly disputed political
territory. The region suffers from severe underlying
tensions. All three presidential candidates have significant
support in the province. Five of 21 constituencies are
violence prone, including all four Mombasa constituencies.
-- Mombasa/Chamgamwe: Ethnically and religiously mixed
neighborhod of Mombasa, including many Kambas (pro-Musyoka).
A political toss up among the three presidential candidates
(Odinga, Kibaki & Musyoka).
-- Mombasa/Kisauni: The Mijikenda ethnic group consist of
nine distinct coastal Bantu communities. They are not united
politically. Kisauni is predominately Mijikenda, split into
pro-Odinga and pro-Kibaki camps, but also includes
Odinga-leaning Swahilis and Arabs.
-- Mombasa/Likoni: This constituency has suffered severe
ethnic and political violence in the past between coastals
and "upcountry" communities. The indigenous coastal
community greatly resents loss of land to those coming from
outside the province. There are also significant numbers of
Luo and Luhya dockworkers and Kamba (pro-Musyoka) traders and
tourist industry workers.
-- Mombasa/Mvita: Two Kenyan Arabs, both of Yemeni origin,
are fierce political rivals. MP Balala supports Odinga.
Former Mombasa Mayor Taib is close to Musyoka, but as a
prominent KANU member, he supports Kibaki in line with the
directives of KANU leadership.
-- Garsen/Tana River: Two strong political personalities
contest this seat; one representing the Orma and the other
representing the Pokomo. The constituency also suffers from
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pastoralist vs. farmer tensions. It has suffered ethnic and
political violence in the recent past.
Northeastern: No Longer a Bloc Vote
6. (SBU) Only three of Northeastern Province's 11
constituencies are violence prone. The province is almost
entirely Somali Muslim. In the past, Somali Kenyans voted as
a bloc in favor of KANU (the former ruling party). Recent
polling data and the expressed views of prominent Somali
political leaders indicate that this year the Somalis are
split between pro-Kibaki and pro-Odinga factions.
-- Wajir South: Two Ogadeni sub-clans, one pro-Odinga and the
-- Mandera Central: Two Somali clans contesting leadership of
-- Dujis: While largely Somali, there are significant Kikuyu
and Kamba communities. History of political violence.
Eastern: Borana Land, Kamba Land & Meru/Embu Land
7. (SBU) Eastern Province runs from the Ethiopian border to
the slopes of Mount Kenya and on south almost to the
Tanzanian border. We consider 14 out of the province's 35
constituencies to be violence-prone.
8. (SBU) Eastern Province incorporates three very distinct
zones. The northernmost districts are home to the Borana (or
Oromos, as they are called in Ethiopia). This region is very
poor, largely pastoralist, infrastructure-starved and plagued
by communal conflict, principally between the closely related
Gabra and Borana. Traditionally, the Borana support the
government of the day on the basis that "we are too poor to
play opposition politics." Further south, on the slopes of
Mount Kenya are the Embu and Meru communities. Both have
close socio-linguistic linkages to the neighboring Kikuyu,
and have always voted in alliance with them. The region is
strongly pro-Kibaki. Still further south is Kamba land. The
Kamba have Bantu linguistic ties to the Kikuyu and a long
trading relationship linking the coast to the
Kikuyu/Meru/Embu highlands. Kambas largely support native
son Kalonzo Musyoka for President.
Borana land: Underlying Tensions
-- Moyale, North Horr & Saku: Gabra/Borana conflict, always
on simmer, may boil over with election tensions.
-- Laisamis: Tensions between pastoralists and farmers;
indigenous versus "outsider."
-- Isiolo North, Isiolo South: Borana/Somali/Meru mix.
Competition at parliamentary level.
Embu/Meru land: Pro-Kibaki
-- Meru North/Igembe & Ntonyiri: Clashes between Meru clans.
-- North Imenti: Already experienced political violence among
-- Central Imenti: Clashes between Meru clans.
-- Tharaka: Clashes between Meru clans.
-- Gachoka: Mbeere (Embu clan) versus Kamba in a mixed
constituency. Kibaki supporters versus Musyoka supporters.
Kamba land: Pro-Musyoka
-- Makueni/Mbooni & Kibwezi: Two Kamba ministers in the
Kibaki government may use their supporters to disrupt
pro-Kalonzo Musyoka events.
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Nyanza: Raila Country, Mostly
9. (SBU) Nyanza is home to the Luo community (Nilotic
socio-linguistic group, 63 percent of Nyanza registered
voters), loyal to native son Raila Odinga. The province also
includes the Kisii and Kuria communities (Bantu
socio-linguistic group, 36 percent of Nyanza registered
voters), who often vote in opposition to the Luo. General
consensus holds that it would be both pointless and dangerous
for Kibaki supporters to campaign for their candidate in the
Luo region of Nyanza. We consider four of the province's 32
constituencies to be violence-prone.
-- Rarieda: The current MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Raphael Tuju, is the most prominent ethnic Luo politician in
the province who is not a Raila supporter. He is the
chairman of NARC-Kenya (pro-Kibaki party) and now supports
the President,s new political coalition (Party of National
Unity, ref e).
-- Kitutu Chache & West Mugirango: These predominately Kisii
constituencies will feature contests between Kibaki and
-- Kuria: Pre-exsiting tensions among Kuria clans, and
between the Kuria and their Maasai neighbors, may lead to
violence during the election. Kuria are likely to vote for
pro-Kibaki candidates while the Maasai are likely to support
Western: Mixed Constituencies & Intra-Luhya Tensions
10. (SBU) Five of the twenty-four constituencies in Western
Province are prone to violence. The province is dominated by
the Luhya, a name given to a collection of 16 Bantu
communities which speak different languages, practice
different customs and have different political orientations.
"Luhya Unity" is a concept more spoken of than practiced.
-- Lugari: Land settlement scheme provokes tension among
several competing groups. MP candidate Cyrus Jirongo is
known as a corrupt practitioner of coercive politics.
-- Lurambi: A mixed constituency which includes provincial
capital Kakamega, Lurambi is historically violence-prone. In
2002, a crowd stoned the President,s motorcade. During the
2005 referendum, pro-draft constitution campaigners were run
out of town.
-- Mt. Elgon: The Ndorobo and Soy clans (Kalenjins) are
fighting over land on the slopes of an extinct volcano on the
Ugandan border. Ethnic Luhya farmers are caught in the
-- Nambale: Similar to Kakamega, it is a very mixed area.
There is tension between the Luhya tribe (Bantu) and Teso
tribe (Nilotic) and among the various Luhya groups.
-- Funyula: The Vice-President comes from Funyula, which he
has represented since 1983. He will campaign for Kibaki in a
largely anti-Kibaki area whose voters rejected the
government's draft constitution in the 2005 referendum.
Julia Ojiambo, the ODM-K (Kalonzo Musyoka) candidate for Vice
President, will contest this constituency.
Rift Valley: Pastoralist/Farmer, Indigenous/Outsider
11. (SBU) At 23 percent, Rift Valley has the largest share of
registered voters among the eight provinces. It is made up
of four zones. The southernmost region consists of game
parks and Maasai Land. The central-east region consists of
Samburu herders and (mostly) Kikuyu farmers. The central
region is occupied by the Kalenjin (Nilotic, made up of seven
distinct tribes) and Kikuyu (considered "outsiders" by many
Kalenjin). The northernmost zone consists of very sparsely
populated (and politically irrelevant) Turkana and Pokot
NAIROBI 00003761 005 OF 005
(Kalenjin) constituencies. We consider 20 of the province's
50 constituencies to be violence-prone.
-- Kapenguria: Very mixed constituency of "outsiders" and
resentful "locals." The outsiders (mostly Kikuyu) will
likely support Kibaki while the indigenous population
(Kalenjin) will likely vote for Odinga.
-- Kwanza & Saboti: Kalenjin and Luhya mixed constituencies.
Chronic land disputes.
-- Cherangany: The MP, who is also Minister of Agriculture,
is pro-Kibaki. He will face tough competition from a
-- Eldoret North: MP William Ruto, the top pro-Odinga leader
among the Kalenjin, will contest his constituency against a
Moi-backed KANU candidate (KANU is allied with Kibaki).
Neither side will shy away from using violence.
-- Keiyo South: Corrupt, brutal and ruthless longtime MP
Nicholas Biwot's constituency. He will use all means to
defeat his perennial adversary, former Ambassador to South
Africa Tabitha Seii. She is a recent Odinga recruit from the
-- Bomet & Buret: A complicated brew of pro-Kibaki
indigenous Kalenjins, & Luhya tea estate laborers against
pro-Odinga indigenous Kalenjins, and their Luhya and Luo tea
estate laborer allies.
-- Eldama Ravine: "Indigenous" (Kalenjin, pro-Odinga) versus
"Outsiders" (Kikuyus & other Bantus, pro-Kibaki).
-- Laikipia West & Laikipia East: A history of violent
conflict between farmers (mostly pro-Kibaki Kikuyus) and
pastoralists (pro-Odinga Maasai and Samburu). Farmers are in
the clear majority.
-- Naivasha: Pastoralist/Farmer conflict between pro-Odinga
Maasai and pro-Kibaki Kikuyu. Kikuyu are in the majority.
-- Nakuru District/Naivasha, Nakuru Town, Kuresoi, Molo,
Rongai and Subukia constituencies: Predominantly Kikuyu
(pro-Kibaki), but significant pro-Odinga population, mainly
Kalenjin but also Luo and Luhya.
-- Kilgoris: Violence between Maasai and those they perceive
as outsiders (mainly pro-Kibaki Kikuyu and Kisii).
-- Kajiado North: Education Minister (and alleged Goldenberg
scandal culprit) Professor George Saitoti's constituency. He
is likely to be the sole pro-Kibaki candidate, backed by the
large Kikuyu community settling in the formerly rural,
traditionally Maasai northern edge of the constituency, which
is now in Nairobi's exurbs. He will be opposed by a Maasai
pro-Odinga candidate. Saitoti claims Maasai heritage, but he
is widely considered to be Kikuyu.
USG Efforts to Promote Peaceful Campaigns
12. (SBU) The Mission is funding voter education campaigns
and strengthening Peace Committees throughout Kenya (ref f).
Political tolerance and ethnic harmony are themes that often
feature in the Ambassador's speeches (refs g and h) and press
statements, which are then routinely picked up and echoed in
the media. The Ambassador and members of his country team
also communicate the message of zero tolerance for electoral
violence to leaders in politics and government at the highest
levels as well as at the grassroots levels throughout the