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Monday, March 21, 2011

Between Kibaki and Kalonzo, who’s playing whom?

By MAKAU MUTUA
 
I have looked at the entire PNU/KKK chessboard on The Hague trials of the Ocampo Six, and something doesn’t add up. The politics of the PNU/KKK brigade doesn’t fit the facts of the Ocampo Six.
 
Let me untangle the web of intrigue to show why the PNU/KKK “unity” on the Ocampo Six is a house of cards. To paraphrase the Book of Jeremiah, you don’t need a tsunami to “scatter” the key intriguers “to the four winds”. Just like ancient Rome, betrayal and treachery lurk in every corner. The biggest loser in the Ocampo Six debacle – which has exposed the Kenyan state as an intellectual midget – could be Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka. You can take that to the bank.
 
Mr Musyoka is being played – like a flute – by President Mwai Kibaki. He erroneously thinks the PNU/KKK alliance will anoint him Mr Kibaki’s successor. Of the three PNU/KKK supremos, he thinks he’s got the best shot at State House. This is why: He’s convinced that Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta is “unelectable” because Kenyans will simply not put another Kikuyu in charge. He believes that the Kikuyu are beholden to him because he saved Mr Kibaki – by keeping the State House in the House of Mumbi – after the 2007 election. He believes that Mr Kibaki and Mr Kenyatta promised to back him in 2012. This is illusory, but that’s why Mr Musyoka is “carrying water” on the Ocampo Six. Mr Musyoka thinks that Eldoret North MP William Ruto can’t be a serious presidential candidate, and is simply a cog in the PNU/KKK plot. In his view, the Kikuyu will not support Mr Ruto for the State House. Not after his dalliance with PM Raila Odinga and the alleged role that various reports – and ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo – believe he played in attacks on the Kikuyu.
 
But PNU needs him because it believes he controls the Kalenjin vote. That’s why the KKK alliance is a PNU plot to use Mr Ruto and ride the Kalenjin vote to victory in 2012. This is the reason Mr Musyoka will do anything “to appear to save” Mr Ruto from The Hague.
 
But I have bad news for Mr Musyoka.
 
There’s every indication that Mr Musyoka isn’t Mr Kibaki’s – or PNU’s – preferred successor. That would be Mr Kenyatta. The moneyed Kikuyu elite – on whose behalf the Environment minister John Michuki appeared to speak last year – have left no doubt that Mr Kenyatta is their man. That’s why they are pulling all stops to derail, sabotage and stop The Hague trials. It’s why they look at Gichugu MP Martha Karua – one of the most compelling candidates – with an evil eye.
 
Mr Musyoka could learn something from Mr Odinga’s relationship with Mr Kibaki. As Mr Odinga bitterly found out after the 2002 elections, his MoU with Mr Kibaki was not worth an IOU. I believe that for now Mr Musyoka is naively “playing the mule” for the Ocampo Six. The “shuttle diplomacy” to stop The Hague trials is an embarrassment to him and Kenya. It has diminished him internationally, and eroded his credibility at home. The arguments he and his PNU/KKK intriguers make against The Hague trials are hypocritical, contradictory, insincere, and sophomoric. I don’t even think Mr Musyoka believes his own arguments. But he is convinced that he will ride his vigorous defence of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto right into State House in 2012. If that’s the case, my advice to Mr Musyoka is simple – he must get Mr Kibaki, Mr Kenyatta, and Mr Ruto to publicly endorse him now.
 
But perhaps I am underestimating Mr Musyoka’s native cunning. So, let me flip the coin and assume that he knows he’s being played by Mr Kibaki and the PNU syndicate. I am going to put Mr Musyoka in the driver’s seat.
 
In his classic book On War on military logic, German thinker Carl von Clausewitz famously opined that “war is politics by other means”. But perhaps Mr Musyoka has flipped that wise saying on its head and believes that “politics is war by other means”. This means that he may be approaching his PNU/KKK “comrades” as “enemy soldiers” that he must fight politically. Thus Mr Musyoka neither trusts Mr Ruto, nor confides his real thoughts to Mr Kenyatta. In this scenario, Mr Musyoka knows that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto don’t trust each other – not if Mr Moreno-Ocampo is to be believed about what he alleges the two did to each other’s community during the post-election mayhem. Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are in a “union” of “mortal enemies”. This may be a paradox, but it’s realpolitik.
 
If The Hague guillotine was to magically go away – even with Mr Odinga still in the race for 2012 – perhaps Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto would be put asunder. I assume that Mr Musyoka knows this and is, therefore, taking advantage of their misery. Perhaps he hopes his “shuttle diplomacy” will make Kenya look like it condones impunity. In doing so, Mr Musyoka actually “sabotages” Kenya’s case for a deferral and makes sure that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto will be carted off to The Hague.
 
This outcome makes him the only viable PNU/KKK presidential candidate. In this clever plot, Mr Musyoka turns the tables on the wily Mr Kibaki and his “Uhuru Project”. Whereas Mr Kibaki hopes to “smear” Mr Musyoka with the “shuttle diplomacy,” it is Mr Musyoka who actually outsmarts him. These scenarios are not far-fetched. Not if you know what’s at stake in 2012. 


Makau Mutua is Dean and SUNY Distinguished Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC.

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