Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kenyan Elections: Referendum on The Hague Process

About 10 months ago, Prime Minister Raila Odinga had this halo of "president in waiting". He was the clear front runner and he was the man to beat. And to some extent, many observers thought this was his election to lose. But I think Mr.Odinga and his advisors were too naive to not see the possibility of the Kibaki/Uhuru wing scuttling his presidential bid and making hard his path to the State House very hard.  



People like James Orengo and Anyang Nyongo gave Mudavadi sufficient reason to believe that he would not get the ODM presidential ticket and he would not be considered as a possible running mate for Odinga. In his frustration, the Uhuru/Kibaki wing saw an opportunity to cause him to defect, offering him a party of his own and a guaranteed place on the ballot paper. And he took the bait. 

It has been suggested that Deputy Prime Minister Mudavadi was being fronted by the Kibaki state house. I think this may have been true to the extent that this was necessary to weaken Mr. Odinga's bid for the presidency. Mudavadi's recent high profile trip with Kibaki to the UN General Assembly was choreographed to lend credence to the perception that Mudavadi is Kibaki's "Project" or preferred heir. 

I think Mr. Mudavadi is staring at the beginning of a very tough phase in his political career. He has been here before. But I think this hole will be very difficult to crawl out of. He no heir to Kibaki, unless Mr. Kenyatta says so!


I find several things curious: That president Kibaki's schedule could not find space for a meeting with Kofi Annan and Benjamin Mkapa; That Uhuru said that past help received from Mr. Annan and Mr. Mkapa does not "give them a ticket to be coming here [to Kenya] whenever they have no other place to go"; In an interview with Stephen Sackur, Ruto said the election and his quest for the presidency has nothing to do with is alleged role on the post election violence and the with the Hague ICC; Ruto met with Odinga to discuss a possible alliance and Ruto drove a hard deal asking to be the head of the ticket; Ruto  and Kenyatta agree to run on a joint ticket, with Kenyatta and the presidential candidate and they say the election will be a referendum of the Hague Process. 

What I think we will see in the coming weeks and months is high-octane political mobilizing, through very well organized high publicity rallies across the country, especially in Central Kenya and Rift Valley to drum up ethnically charged and fanatical support for Kenyatta and Ruto. 

The purpose of this mobilizing is to prime their ethnic base to drive the country into a constitutional crisis, through a poll boycott, should the Kenyan courts rule that Kenyatta and Uhuru cannot run on the grounds of integrity because of the cases pending at the Hague. 

We will soon see massive political organizing to drum up support for No Kenyatta-Ruto ticket, No Elections". Ruto and Kenyatta want to make sure they mobilize threshold levels of ethnic emotions to touch off ethnic tension and uncertainty before the March 2013 elections. In my view, the level of anxiety will be so high as to merit serious considerations about postponing the elections and triggering a possible constitutional crisis, considering that parliament will stand dissolved. 

For Kenyatta and Ruto, they hope that the perilous instability and risk of ethnic conflict  will persuade the AU and the UN-Security Council and General Assembly to throw out the cases before the ICC. 

You have to take seriously the claim by Kenyatta and Ruto that the general elections will be a referendum on the Hague Process. 







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