Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wikileaks, Kibaki, Githongo

You may have heard, that to protect Swiss bank Julius Baer's money laundering ways, US District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered that Wikileak's DNS information be erased. Now, when I first started using the world wide web, all we had were IP addresses written on napkins that we'd pass around in public parks and use to arrange the vacuum tubes on our internet machines, so this really brings me back.

So, really maybe more out of nostalgia than anything else, I went and visited the Wikileaks site. And what did they have on their front page other than a Kroll Associates report detailing former President Moi's improper accumulation of more than 3 billion dollars in Kenyans' money? It may suggest one reason why wananchi are a little impatient with President diselect Kibaki.
In December 2002, the 24 year rule of Kenya's President Daniel Arap Moi was ended by the election victory of Mwai Kibaki. Elected on an anti-corruption platform, it was hoped that President Kibaki would end grand corruption in Kenya. In January 2003 Kibaki appointed John Githongo, formerly of Transparency International, as his personal advisor on Anti Corruption and Good Governance.[1] One of the first anti-corruption activities of Mr. Githongo on behalf of President Kibaki was to engage Kroll & Associates (UK), a private investigation and security firm, to trace and report on what was said by Transparency International to be over 3 billion US Dollars stashed abroad, by the former President Moi and his closest associates.[2]
On August 28th 2007, about 100 days before the forthcoming Presidential election, President Kibaki's re-election campaign received the formal endorsement of his predecessor, Daniel Moi.[6] Ex-President Moi's influence over Kibaki's regime is obvious and also evidenced by his recent appointment as a Personal Peace Envoy of Kibaki to the Sudan.[7]
Contemporaneous media coverage of the time reveals a determination by the Kibaki government to trace and seize the foreign assets of Moi's associates.[4] However at some point in May 2004, the Kibaki government itself suffered a credibility blow when several of the President's closest advisors were implicated in a 777 million US Dollar corruption scandal known as the Anglo Leasing scandal. The fallout of this scandal resulted in the gradual sidelining and eventual exile in the UK (in January 2005) of John Githongo after threats to his life.[5]
The leak which emanated from within high levels of the Kenyan Government is motivated by the desire to demonstrate that President Kibaki has clear-cut evidence of his predecessor's corruption and complicity in corruption, and has chosen to suppress the evidence and worse still has gone into a political and economic alliance with the Moi group.

A second motivation is the sheer scale of the theft of public funds by Moi and his associates. The figures in the report run into (if added up) the billions of US Dollars - comparable in magnitude to the looting of other infamous kleptocrats such as Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Sani Abacha of Nigeria, Suharto of Indonesia and Alberto Fujimori of Peru.
So, maybe that adds a little color to the story of the Kisii Chingororo and other tribes' militant groups. I'm not suggesting it's a possible or even defensible step to start attacking local Kikuyu -- which, to needlessly complicate matters, is the tribe of Moi's predecessor Kenyatta and successor Kibaki, but not Moi himself, who belongs to the Kalenjin, an opposition-aligned tribe -- but, then again, I don't personally want to be held to account for American slavery, the slaughter of the American Indians, Climate Change, the collapse of the hunter gatherer culture, haggis, or any of the ills that can be lain at the feet of my ethnic brethren. Individualism is idemnification, deracination unaccountability.

I can't see any lasting political reconciliation in Kenya that doesn't take the Kroll report into account. Kenyans were betrayed by Kibaki, and are angry for a reason. Not to split hairs, it's wrong to start killing local members of a tribe the person you're angry with belongs to. But, electoral politics didn't work.

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