HOW MUSEVENI HELPED KIBAKI IN 2007 ELECTIONS

BUDDIES: Former President Mwai Kibaki with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni during the Makerere University 90 years anniversary in Kampala on August 4 last year. Photo/PPS
BUDDIES: Former President Mwai Kibaki with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni during the Makerere University 90 years anniversary in Kampala on August 4 last year. Photo/PPS

DETAILS have emerged of how Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni helped President Mwai Kibaki to retain power during the instability following the disputed December 27, 2007 election.

People close to both Kibaki and Museveni at the time have revealed the multiple approaches that Museveni employed as violence escalated.

After supplies of teargas ran short, Museveni lent fresh supplies from the Ugandan stockpiles.

He deployed intelligence officers from Kampala to Nairobi and the Malaba and Busia borders. He sent troops to the border areas.

And he also despatched emissaries to ODM asking them to stop the violence so that vehicles destined for Uganda could pass.

Raila and ODM leaders asked their supporters to take to the streets to protest peacefully after Kibaki was controversially declared president on December 29.

During the violence, more than 1,500 people died and property of unknown value destroyed. Road transport to Uganda was also cut off with the railway having been uprooted. Trucks ferrying goods to landlocked Uganda, Rwanda and DRC were looted and burnt in parts of Rift Valley and several Ugandan drivers were raped.

In January, Museveni condemned 'those wa jaLuo" after Raila's supporters tore up the Uganda railway track in Kibera.

Museveni and Raila have had a love-hate relationship and their differences have sometimes been made public.

In December 2013 during the Jubilee celebrations to mark 50 years of independence in December, Museveni "thanked Kenyans for voting for President Uhuru and his Deputy William Ruto despite intimations and threats by some people".

An angry Raila accused Museveni of interfering with Kenyan internal affairs.

On December 30, Museveni became the first African leader to congratulate Kibaki and the second in the world after Kuwait.

Thereafter he held meetings almost daily with key cabinet ministers where it was decided that Uganda should assist Kibaki to remain in power.

"The President was worried that if Raila came to power, his win would have energised the opposition here. He therefore was convinced that the best way was for Kibaki to cede some power to Raila and form a government of national unity," an aide to Museveni told the Star last week.

"Museveni was also worried that the Luos and Kalenjins would make it difficult for business to thrive between the two countries if they were excluded from power. In fact he said Kenya could break into separate countries. Since Kibaki was a safe pair of hands, it was important to stand with him," the aide told the Star.

Museveni then spoke to Kibaki and Raila separately urging them to initiate talks. He flew to Nairobi where he repeated his message to the two leaders.

"I was with Museveni in Nairobi at the time and he was very clear to the two leaders that the only way forward was for a coalition government," said another source who works in Museveni's office.

A confidant of former President Kibaki yesterday confirmed that Museveni helped Kibaki.

"Museveni was categorical that he would stand with Kibaki and he offered him all support necessary. I cannot tell you the nature of the support but I can tell you it was very useful. It insured Kibaki had an upper hand when it came to the subsequent negotiations to form the coalition government," the Kibaki confidant this week.

A leaked Wikileaks diplomatic cable gave the American assessment of Museveni’s hasty recognition of Kibaki’s victory.

According to a cable written by Andrew Critton, the chief political adviser at the US Mission in Kampala, Museveni “felt trapped” into “recognising” Kibaki’s election, a move that the opposition in Uganda called “self-serving, and potentially troublesome for Uganda among Kenya’s Odinga supporters.”

Critton said public opinion in Uganda “including within ruling party circles, is partly sympathetic to Odinga after what Ugandans describe as “clumsy rigging” by Kibaki."

However Critton said that in private Museveni was said to prefer power-sharing between Kibaki and Raila.

Last month while addressing a meeting of regional security chiefs to discuss cyber crime, Museveni confirmed Uganda's support in an apparent reference to Kenya.

“Recently, there was election in one country. As usual, some people wanted to reject results and cause trouble. Someone who knew our experience in dealing with troublemakers approached us and we rented them equipment. We helped them,” he said on January 14 in Mweya.

In mid-January Raila called a Ugandan radio station KFM to claim that Ugandan troops were in Kisumu, Eldoret and at the border towns of Busia and Malaba.

"The gunmen have killed quite a number of civilians in Kisumu. There were vehicles with Ugandan registration numbers. They were seen in Kisumu and the occupants were wearing civilian clothes. They have been shooting and they have killed quite a number of civilians in Kisumu," Raila said at the time.

On February 4, 2008, Malaba residents impounded a lorry carrying Ugandan military uniforms that was entering Kenya.

The driver was stopped as he drove to the Customs Department. The uniforms, complete with the insignia, were found in boxes in the lorry was.