KIBAKI DID NOT TRUST MILITARY- WIKILEAKS
PRESIDENT Kibaki rejected Chief Mediator Kofi Annan's advise to order the military into the streets to quell the 2007-08 post-election violence fearing for ethnic divisions within the armed forces, Wikileaks has revealed.
In a US diplomatic cable dispatched from Addis Ababa by Ambassador Donald Yamamoto after a meeting between Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and US Assistant Secretary of State Dr Jendayi Frazer in February 2008, Annan told the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Kibaki had rejected the proposal.
Annan had suggested to Kibaki that he should have allowed limited deployment of the army as violence spilled out across Kenya after the disputed December 27, 2007 presidential elections. The cable is sub-titled: Kenya in a dangerous position.
Frazer, who had a candid discussion with Zenawi on Kenya, shared Kibaki’s concerns over divisions in the military and expressed fears the situation could degenerate into a coup d'etat against Kibaki if ethnic divisions in the military became pronounced over the violence.“Frazer noted that Secretary Rice had recently spoken with Annan, and Annan mentioned that he had suggested to Kibaki that he bring the military out in a limited way, but that Kibaki demurred based on concerns regarding ethnic divisions within the military,” the diplomat wrote in the cable dated June 2, 2008.
The cable reports that Frazer feared a coup against Kibaki could degenerate into a civil war in Kenya.“The Kikuyu response could lead to civil war, as many Kikuyu fundamentally don't believe that the election was stolen and are incensed by the violence that the opposition is encouraging,” Frazer reportedly said.
At the time Rwandan President Paul Kagame suggested a military solution for the Kenyan conflict in which over 1,300 people died and over were 300,000 displaced.
The Rwandan leader who spoke from Kigali as the world focused on the Kenyan situation prescribed a militarised solution to restore stability as the situation appeared to worsen.
Apart from being the President, Kibaki is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (C-in-C) while General Jeremiah Kianga is the Chief of the General Staff (CGS).
The Ethiopian PM on his part expressed his misgivings on the military’s loyalty to Kibaki saying it may not be consolidated. “While the military may not quit, they will not be monolithically behind Kibaki, which is why some Kikuyus are turning to the militia instead,” Zenawi said.
Zenawi however regretted the use of Mungiki and other militias in the violence against civilians. “It has to be made clear to the Kikuyu establishment that ethnic cleansing is unacceptable as a response to the violence and that they cannot 'fight fire with fire' or use militias to fight on their behalf," the Ethiopian leader reportedly said.
Yesterday a senior ODM minister for the first time revealed to The Star that Kenya could have been plunged in civil war if Raila Odinga had accepted advice by two members of the ODM Pentagon to declare himself President.
“Two senior members of the ODM who sat in the powerful Pentagon put pressure on the PM at the Parliamentary Group meeting held on 31st January, 2007, at Orange House to declare himself the President,” said the minister.
The minister said the Pentagon members had advised that a press conference be convened where Raila was to declare himself the President-elect.
The minister, who cannot be quoted due to the sensitivity of the matter, said two top lawyers qualified as commissioners of oath — one from Nyanza the other from Rift Valley — had been tasked to swear in Raila at a brief ceremony they intended to have televised live.
Raila however declined to take the oath and refused to declare himself President saying it would escalate the "already too bad situation" and increase the casualties.
Yesterday, Wikileaks revealed that Frazer is reported to have said that dealing with Raila and finding him culpable for anything had become difficult. Frazer said it was difficult because "Odinga is an excellent communicator and very good at playing the victim and the media love the concept of the 'good guy' versus the 'bad guy'."
Frazer, according to the cable, told Zenawi that President Kibaki was furious with Raila whom he believed was behind the violence.
But Frazer believed Kibaki had an upper hand than Raila in stopping the violence and bringing stability as he was the only decision-maker within PNU while Raila was sandwiched by his Pentagon colleagues in ODM and could not act alone.“Kibaki has the power of the state behind him and is the only decision-maker on his side, while Odinga is one of five making the decisions. Odinga is probably the most reasonable of the five, but he is constrained by the hardliners within his coalition,” Frazer said in the cable.
Frazer accused Pentagon member William Ruto of being double-faced, presenting one face to the international community and a different one to the local people.