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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Deadly International Politics Favours Maj. Ali

...even as he is denied a Visa To America on official business
Retired Maj gen Ali in his "killing" uniform.
Politics is a very dirty game and no matter how clean and good-intentioned one is when they start out, sooner or later they are bound to find themselves wallowing in the “muddy waters of political expediency” out of necessity.

An extremely fascinating scenario is beginning to play out between the Kenyan government and the Americans (as I predicted in my column on predictions for this year, only that I thought it would take a couple of weeks at the very least, and not mere days.) Retired Maj general Ali, the former police commissioner has been denied a visa to visit the United States on official duty in his capacity as post master general. All his subordinates including his personal assistant were all quickly granted visas to travel to the US of A on the same trip.

But now comes the really interesting part. And that is the reaction of the United States Ambassador to Kenya Mr Reinberger. On being asked about Ali, his first response is that the press does NOT have their facts right. All he can say, he adds with a straight face, is that Ali was denied a visa to travel, implying that no permanent Visa ban has been slapped on Ali. Now that’s a really puzzling answer coming from the Americans considering that many Kenyans have already received a Visa ban for much less mischief than the atrocities that Ali has been linked to (I reveal these shocking atrocities in my Weekend special this weekend titled Police killers. Don’t miss it.)

Let me tell you good folks about the politics playing out in the background in Ali’s case. The Americans are currently keen to do business with the man whom Ali was taking orders from when he committed the said atrocities against Kenyans and chances are that avoidance of a complete Visa ban for Ali will be an extra bargaining chip on the table. And so if all goes well, the good general will be free to travel to the United States next time round. That is when everybody has long forgotten about this incident and the members of the press have their eyes focused on another controversy somewhere else.

President Barrack Obama got elected on a reform platform but to reassure many conservative voters he incorporated a lot of hard-nosed conservatives into his administration (and gave signs of the same before election day) especially to key areas linked to national security and the war on terror. The best illustration of this is the fact that he chose to retain Ambassador Reinberger (a George W. Bush appointee) as his man in Nairobi, territory that President Obama knows extremely well. Anyway until now his close conservative advisors have had only limited sway. That was until the failed terrorist attack on a plane headed to America by a Nigerian last Christmas. Now everything has changed rather dramatically. The president cannot afford to keep his soft gloves (which earned him the Nobel peace prize) and has to start acting tough against the terrorist threat. I am afraid that under these circumstances reforms in Kenya have to take the back seat for a while in US policy in East Africa and especially Kenya. The most urgent thing on the plate of the Americans right now is dealing with the very real threat of the Al Shabab on American interests in the region. The truth is that even as you read this, things are already rolling, and rolling very fast. If you follow Kenyan news then you would have seen the news item yesterday about Moi expressing his views about the draft constitution. His views (where he opposed the hybrid system in favour of an executive president answerable to the voters) grabbed all the headlines and nobody paid much attention to the people who had paid the president a courtesy call which gave him the opportunity to make the remarks to the press, and the reason why they came calling. Actually the visitors were very high ranking officials of the besieged interim government of Somalia. They were asking for Moi’s help in seeking for peace and stabilizing things in Somalia. Guess which country has played the biggest role in establishing and maintaining this shaky government against all odds and thus helping create groups like the Al Shabab in the process? Moi of course promised to act which I am sure he will. But what can Moi do in such a complex scenario that has defeated the best diplomats in the world?

Actually folks this is only a well designed smoke screen because everybody knows that the only language the Al Shabab can understand has to do with a military solution. To the more observant, this is a classic American approach to dealing with a crisis of this nature “borrowed” from the Israelis. Well I can’t resist digressing to tell you a little story about the Israelis. An Air France plane carrying plety of Jews was hijacked by terrorists way back in 1976 and landed in Entebbe Uganda to the then President Idi Amin’s welcoming hands. The Israelis immediately started preparing their commandos for a risky rescue operation at the airport which everybody forgot was designed and built by the Israelis themselves (meaning that they had access to detailed layouts of the place). Meanwhile on the diplomatic front the Israeli government seemed to give in to the terrorists and agreed to negotiate for the safe release of the Jewish hostages. Fascinatingly the minute that the Israelis got word that their commandos had landed at Entebbe is the very minute they walked into the negotiation room to begin talks with the Arabs.

The Israelis quietly listened to the terrorists’ representatives as they breathlessly stated their long list of demands even as the commandos thousands of miles away made short work of the terrorists and Idi Amin’s sleepy soldiers rescuing all the hostages save for one old lady who had unfortunately been taken to hospital. Idi Amin later had her murdered in cold blood to revenge the very successful rescue mission by the Israelis. That was around the time the Arabs shifted their attention from their more formidable opponent to the ‘easier prey’ Americans.

But back to Ali, reforms and Kenyan politics. It seems that barring something out of the ordinary (or this post getting into the “wrong” hands; and it won’t be the first time) Ali and his boss seem headed for a very soft landing in the neat future. They should at least anonymously send flowers to that crazy Nigerian kid. Meanwhile to us poor Kenyans that damn Nigerian has done us all terrible irreversible damage that we may never recover from.

Did you miss Kumekucha’s controversial predictions for 2010?

Don’t miss the weekend special this weekend titled Police killers. Regular readers are well aware that the weekend specials are sizzling hot and so it might be a good idea to have a cool drink at hand. See you then. My drums and Nyatiti column resumes next week.

P.S. I get rather amused every time the controversial press laws are sneaked in and media owners predictably start running round like headless chickens. I get even more amused when people get busy condemning mere servants like the PS for information or the clueless minister. Let me brief on this (I don’t want it to develop into a mini-post). The PS and the minister take their orders from only one person. This is the fourth time in recent times that this media laws circus has been played out. It never happened even once during the Moi or Kenyatta days. Folks, it will only stop when Kibaki leaves office. Secondly guess who was the president’s close “advisor” in this when the initial plan was made for these draconian laws at State House Nairobi. None other than the CEO of the leading media house in Kenya himself. If you don’t know which CEO I am talking about, just ask any journalist you see next the most tribalistic CEO in corporate Kenya (who by the way is on an American Visa ban list for his role during the clashes. List to be announced soon, unless he (the said CEO) too is saved by the Christmas day actions of the Nigerian nutcase). I will say no more for now.


Chris said...


Our mutual friend has not gotten in touch and I can't find your email address. Pls send your email address and any word on this to



deroo said...

Chris, check your main post. It has been transporsed in some of the paras. I will write an email in the next few minutes. Cheers.

deroo said...

Mwarangethe, how are you today. Remember what I wrote last week. "...lets wait for the politicians to attend funerals. Mau and political rallies..." Indeed, the Big Four, including Moi, Raila, Uhuru and Kibaki attended funerals in different places. I think, even Kalonzo and Mudavadi attended one each. I said that the polarisation will be effected after the weekend.

What come though? A Grand Split in the Grand Coalition, Pulling in different directions over NOTHING.Those are OFFICIAL LINES by the way. So, let it go on and on and on. Plant trees, talk politics and wait for the constitution.

Anonymous said...

Kenyans will have to wait for a new constitution.For along time for that matter.
It is not in the interest of the status quo.It is not in the interest of America!

Back to 2005- Listen to Kaloozer and cohorts.

Moi calls the shorts.Kifaki is a lame President in every way.

Any referendum will go the 2005 way.Bring it on.

Then, is Kenya stable because, Kaloozer's group will lose the referendum (not that they dont have a point, but they are in the wrong side vis-a-vis 7 provinces against 2, Central and eastern).

I cant see any solution to our political solution. The most feasible is to kill this grand coalition thing-but can we?

deroo said...

Anon, it is not about two provinces against six. It is bigger than that. Take your time and go through the two weeks since the year began and analyse each and every political occurrence that have taken place. Ypu will read alot. So much that this trivial CONSTITUTION bickering serves as a dessert.

The other side might not lose either. The side that you think will win, might end up not. It is not official that the support of PNU is centered in Central and Eastern alone. There is also Nairobi and Rift Valley to consider and the North Eastern to take into account. To be honest, the split, in equal measure spreads across the country.

The loser is the Kenyan tax-payer and the country at large. If you quantify the money used in the process since 1990, you will go bonkers. The best brains in society have been involved, the resources never offered to any other government quango and yet, this is the answer.

Trust politicians, then Jesus walked on water!

Mwarang'ethe said...

deroo said...
Mwarangethe, how are you today. Remember what I wrote last week. "...lets wait for the politicians to attend funerals. Mau and political rallies..." Indeed, the Big Four, including Moi, Raila, Uhuru and Kibaki attended funerals in different places. I think, even Kalonzo and Mudavadi attended one each. I said that the polarisation will be effected after the weekend.


Well, as we have said before, the polarisation on the issue of executive powers is a foolish diversion from the real issues. But, those behind these diversions and fantasy will encourage them unto eternity.

Although this Constitution will not solve any of our problems, we think the SA model would end this useless debate once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Those talking of 6 and 2 provinces dont know what they are talking about. Kenyans said they want to elect the ceo. Electing ceo by the people means you have chosen the presidential system. SA system is basically parliamentary notwithstanding that the ceo is called president. kaleos are firmly for one ceo, who they want to elect directly. and who told rao's supporters that coast supports the pm thing. Frankly there is no support for this pm thing and i think rao knows it. To talk of the 2007 votig patterns is to delude oneself.

Instead of talking about pm and president, why cant people discuss important instutions like an investigations authority and a presecution authority. If these two were truly independent, wouldnt that reduce prezo's powers considerably? Then there is of course the judiciary. It is clear that both pnu and odm want the current ceo's powers to stay. They only differ on the title of the ceo and how he/she is elected. And how does mudavadi reconcile his position on election of mayors by the people and election of pm by parliament. We all know there is no difference between councillors and mps.

Anonymous said...

Chris Kumekucha.

What's up with your long running beef with the young and visionary CEO of Nation Media Group Mr Linus Gitahi? Is it because he earns a cool Sh 2.5M per month? Or maybe coz he comes from Nyumba ya Mumbi? Maybe he denied you a job there? I just don't get it Bwana, please explain. Why do you call him tribal without any back up evidence? I tend to find the Nation very fair and balanced unlike this Raila worshipping blog. Nation is also very objective and just like millions of Kenyans at home and abroad feel ill when I miss my copy esp Mutahi Ngunyi's/Makau Mutua's columns. BTW I know Linus very well and he's not what you think about him, not that he cares. He's a big shot CEO whom you will find casually walking on the mean streets of Nairobi or having a very normal lunch at a down to earth joint like Highlands, Corner Hse which goes for 150 to 200 bob!! So how do you know Linus is on Waki List or has been banned by the Americans ama you are just peddling cheap rumours? Prove it or just shut it!

Philip said...

The last thing I would like to see in Kenya is polarisation.

I hope this time we Kenyand will separarate ourselves from our politicians and start making decision independently from our politicians.

I'm not ready to comment on the constitution because I've lost track of what is going on. One thing I know I've been against is having our Mps, and not us, voting for the holder of the "highest office".

Raila's optimism is a temporary consolation to us Kenyans, already with the way events are going on there are high chances we will never get a new constitution, maybe unless we Kenyans change and try to push our politicians beyond their comfort zone, but when will that happen?

As Mutahi always say,I hope this are the last birth pains for a new Kenya. I hope we will all soon realize that we belong to one country and collectively fight our current politicians who are non-reformist.

To Chris

Your post isn't complete. Tell us what you think is the motive behind Ali's denial of Visa.

Mwarang'ethe said...

Anonymous said...
Electing ceo by the people means you have chosen the presidential system. SA system is basically parliamentary notwithstanding that the ceo is called president.


Philip said...

The last thing I would like to see in Kenya is polarisation.

One thing I know I've been against is having our Mps, and not us, voting for the holder of the "highest office".


Once again, Mwarang'ethe enters this "executive" powers "debate" with a lot of reservations for it is nothing, but, a foolish diversion from the real stuff.

Now, do you guys honestly believe that, the "direct" election of the President of Kenya is the solution to our problems?

Mwarang'ethe's understanding has been that, what many Kenyans do not seem to want are TWO centres of power whatever that means.

If that is the case, why not adopt the SA system which will have "one centre of power"?

Now, anonymous says SA is nothing but a parliamentary system. Well, it is a combination of both systems.

However, in any case, can one argue that Zuma, Mbeki or Mandela were not elected by the people really?

Or, since USA has electrol college, does this mean that the USA presidents do not have a mandate of the American people?

May we remind the readers that in the USA, at this date, there are over 40 million Americans on food stamp. Simply, over 40 million Americans are on food relief like many Kenyans. In SA, the poverty among the poor is deepening.

The question should have been, how can we have a governance system that does not produce these results despite the existence of a democracy?

We have not done that and to this extent, we are wasting valuable time arguing over that which will not change anything.

JEFF said...


Please can you provide details of what is playing out in politics? I don't think what is happening is about the constitution any more. I think guys are in the process of measuring their political strength ahead of 2012.

Even though the Mau tree planting is a national issue, it has been painted as a Raila event. Some people are arguing that Raila is using the event to gauge his strength (in parliament).

The onslaught on Raila's man Miguna Miguna, and the position taken by akina Kalonzo and Saitoti (PNU) and ODM on the constitution all point to taking positions ahead of 2012. It is 2005 all over again.

As a result, the constitution will be political-interest-driven as opposed to people-driven. The COE also seems to have overlooked this issue in their proposal.

What is it that can be done to divorce constitution-making with the political process?

My suggestion is that we should have fresh elections immediately after a referendum, whichever way the vote on the constitution goes. This will force the politicians to engage more with grassroots to find out what they want and then vote accordingly. This means those who go against their constituents may not get re-elected.

The politicians assume that whoever carries the day on the constitution wins in 2012. Thus instead of people like Kalonzo, Raila, Uhuru, etc focusing on 'winning' the referendum in 2010, and then 'winning' in 2012, they will be more afraid of losing their seats to people with better ideas. We will then have a trully people-driven constitution.

Michael Mwaura said...

Chris said,
"Ali and his boss seem headed for a very soft landing in the near future. They should at least anonymously send flowers to that crazy Nigerian kid."
Should we infer from this summation that we are to further tolerate the entrenchment of an impunity laden government?

Chris said,
"Meanwhile to us poor Kenyans that damn Nigerian has done us all terrible irreversible damage that we may never recover from."
I don't get this. Were we waiting for the west to rescue us? We need home grown solutions to the problems that have befallen us and those imposed on us.
Endlessly debating politics will not bring an extra plate to the table. How many of us got a ride to work in the Prime Ministers Hummer when the matatus were on strike? Let us think about how to better our lives as a community of neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Mike Mwaura,
Yes, we need to work VERY HARD for a better future and Kenya. So how many trees did you plant today for properity and future generation? Remove the veil please, will you?

Anonymous said...

LOL! Predictions 2010? How comes .... missed the big one - an EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI?

What other earth-moving 2010 predictions are in store for the general public?

Anonymous said...

It's official, the Hiati Earthquake couldn't have been predicted.

Mother Earth had sudden bowel movements after having given birth to the deadly New Year in Hiati.

Give -Kumekucha- a break.

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