03 * CORD launch at Uhuru Park - The People - Kenya Elections 2013
From the foot soldier’s perspective: The Kenyan elections 2013 from an election observer’s viewpoint.
Chapter 3: CORD launch at Uhuru Park – The People
After the elections of 27 December 2007, Kenya plunged into a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis after incumbent President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the presidential election. Electoral manipulation was widely confirmed by local and international observers and perpetrated by both parties, but mainly the Kibaki side.
The mood was full of joy. In a ceremony of power and self-confidence CORD celebrated it’s election campaign. Jobless youth from the ghetto’s, being paid a small fee to attend the function, mixed with ambitious young party activists who took time off from their jobs, both groups hoping for better things to come. Even when a tropical rainstorm passed over, the crowds stayed. Many ran for shelter close to Uhuru Park, but came back as soon as the rain had stopped, eager to hear what Raila and his allies had to say.
With the Luo leadership, Raila had also inherited the plight to fight for uplifting the Luo’s from a second class Kenyan citizenship. Not only battled Raila for the Luo’s plight, he also had an agenda of social and democratic reforms, concerning all Kenyans and earning him recognition for this by Kenyans from other tribes as well. He fought hard battles against the KANU regime during the dictatorship of Moi, and paid a huge price for it. Moi threw him into prison, ordered to torture him and had him castrated all after all.
In a 180 degree turn -180 degree turns are another characteristic of Kenyan politics-, Raila joined Moi’s government later, though fell out with him again in a later stage. To add some more controversy, also Raila had his fair share of financial scandals he was involved in.
In an ethnic divided state like Kenya, no tribe can win the elections only by their numbers. Therefore, ethnic alliances had to be made. As on one side, the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes had made their alliance through Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, Raila teamed up with the Kamba leader Kalonzo Musyoka and the Luhya leader Moses Wetangula, as his main allies. Kalonzo would become Vice-President in case of victory.
In another 180 degree turn, Maina Njenga, the -officially former- leader of the Mungiki, joined Raila’s alliance with his Mkenya Solidarity Movement, which is believed to be the political arm of the Mungiki. The Mungiki, rooted in desperate Kikuyu youth, took part in the bloodshed of the aftermath of the Kenyan elections of 2007/2008 by killing, raping and expelling as well opponents of the Kibaki coup, as committing ethnic cleansing against non-Kikuyus. Battling particular with the supporters of the presidential candidate they now went into an alliance with.
Not only Raila had his fair share of scandals, his allies Kalonzo and Wetangula had theirs too. Both part of the political elite of Kenya as well, Kalonzo and Wetangula were long serving KANU members, serving during the regime of Moi in various functions, up to ministerial level. Kalonzo, KANU’s National Organizing Secretary up to 2002 and former Minister of Foreign Affairs under Moi, defected from KANU briefly before the first free elections in 2002, when it was clear that KANU with it’s then candidate Uhuru Kenyatta would not win the elections. Wetangula, KANU MP under Moi, accepted the post of Foreign Minister right after Kibaki’s coup in 2008, contributing his own share to suppress Raila and Ruto and their supporters.