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October 17, 2018

Observers in bed with Jubilee


Kenyans are increasingly distressed at the ominous flip-flopping by Western envoys on the August 8 General Election. We are staring at an earth-shattering diplomatic and democracy scandal. Our former partners in the reform movement, democratisation and governance transformation have abandoned the cause and gone to bed with a vividly retrogressive Jubilee regime.

God forbid, there be bribery involved. Too sickening a thought is the speculation of possible undue influence at the ICC that led to the collapse of the 2007-08 crimes against humanity cases.

After the end of the Cold War, Western powers started championing democracy, political pluralism (exemplified by multipartyism), constitutional reforms, reform of public institutions, the rule of law, eradication of dictatorships and the mainstreaming of civil liberties universally.

In Kenya, they used envoys and civil society. They partnered with progressive pressure groups that mobilised citizens to agitate for reforms in governance.

As noted in the diplomats’ various comments over past hotly contested and disputed multiparty general elections in 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007, Western powers — led by the US, Britain, Germany, Canada, France and the Netherlands — lived true to their billing as “big brothers”, albeit in matters reforms.

That well-meaning policy has been abandoned in preference for massaging the ruling party and establishment elites.

The 2017 election was a deliberate expedition by a political clique to impose on Kenyans an unpopular leadership. The mission was anchored in ‘crude state capture’ by an ethnic duopoly out to exclude from power and subjugate all other Kenyans illegally and unconstitutionally. They took control and manipulated key public institutions responsible for free and fair elections.

These include the IEBC, Parliament, all security and intelligence arms of the state, the EACC, Office of the Ombudsman, the DPP and the Communications Authority of Kenya. These were all turned into one seamless election rigging machine to force victory for Jubilee candidates from ward level to the presidency.

The opposition, civil society groups and politically involved NGOs raised the alarm early in 2016 and called for the urgent levelling of the playing field ahead of the election. The calls were rebuffed and resisted vigorously by the Presidency and Jubilee.

Then Kenyans started noticing mysterious silence and lukewarm engagement by Western diplomats. Unrelenting, the opposition organised peaceful countrywide street protests to push for electoral reforms and an overhaul the IEBC commissioners and secretariat.

The subsequent brutal police crackdown on protesters, causing deaths and injuries, alarmed the international and religious communities, forcing them to intervene. The envoys and clergy came out and helped institute dialogue in which Jubilee participated with ulterior motives.

The mutual agreement to realign the electoral laws and overhaul strategic personnel at the IEBC was sabotaged by Jubilee. It stalled restructuring of the IEBC secretariat, used Parliament to undo all the new electoral laws and later infiltrated and influenced the new IEBC commissioners to become partisan, rendering the commission dysfunctional and irredeemably divided.

Progressive Kenyans read the mischief, but the international community urged Kenyans to go into the pre-rigged August 8 election. Shameless, open rigging and other electoral crimes happened that day, yet the diplomats connived with foreign observer missions to give it a clean bill of health. After the Supreme Court laid bare the electoral gangsterism, the diplomats scrambled to save face.

They then reverted to their betrayal, only raising their voices occasionally to urge Kenyans to disregard the mess at the IEBC and Jubilee’s intact rigging infrastructure and vote again on October 26.

The diplomats are unconcerned, supporting questionable and deceitful Jubilee-sponsored calls for post-election dialogue to allow the offending UhuRuto-Jubilee regime to assume office undemocratically and dish out token executive seats to the wronged opposition.

This is not 2008. How do the diplomats and their local allies in this mockery of democracy justify the sanitisation of electoral injustices?

ODM national treasurer and former Kitutu Masaba MP





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