¶1. (SBU) Summary: Chinese firms selling into Kenya’s information and communications technologies (ICT) sector are throwing a lot of money around, according to industry contacts. Indeed, Chinese influence may be so great that it is distorting important investment decisions in the country. Putting aside corruption, Chinese ICT vendors are difficult to beat on price and quality, and therefore often win government procurement tenders. However, companies that buy Chinese equipment often find that they end up paying the piper later due to poor after-sales service. End summary. ¶2. (U) In the course of gathering information for reftel report on developments in Kenya’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector, interesting anecdotes emerged about the way Chinese firms do business in Kenya.
Summary: Kenya’s hotly contested December 27 presidential election has been controversial on a number of levels, and many observers still question who actually won. When we looked at any and all available data to try to answer that question, we found evidence of rigging on both sides and confirmation that some of the rigging took place inside ECK headquarters itself. By analyzing various datasets (available on request), we developed scenarios that could point to either a Kibaki or a Raila victory. We do not think it will ever be possible to tell definitively who actually won the election. This is due in part to the compromise of election officials and election-related ballots and forms, but also because our estimated number of “ghost votes” (i.e., stuffed ballots) from both sides easily exceeded President Kibaki’s margin of victory.
We have credible reports that members of Odinga’s family,presumably with his knowledge and/or involvement, were involved in the maize scandal. Thus, at the time he made his dramatic February 14 statements, Odinga was facing serious pressures on both the corruption and constitutional review issues. It seems highly possible that Odinga made the announcement regarding Ongeri and Ruto knowing that it would cause a huge political and constitutional flap, and thus divert focus on both the corruption and constitutional review issues. Alternatively, Odinga may have miscalculated that he could “roll” Kibaki to go along with his actions because Kibaki would not want to be seen as supporting ministers tainted by corruption.¶10. (C) Kibaki, like Odinga, also wants to be seen as spearheading anti-corruption actions, so one-upsmanship is at play. Members of Kibaki’s family may be involved in these or other corruption scandals. Kibaki may have calculated that sacrificing senior-level personnel short of ministers would be enough to placate the public. At the same time, Kibaki is likely be urged by Uhuru Kenyatta not to take action against Ruto, since the two are working closely together, possibly with a view toward the 2012 presidential elections.
summary and Introduction: On October 8, the Political Counselor met with Minister of State for Internal Security John Michuki over lunch at Michuki’s swank hotel and country club on the outskirts of Nairobi. PolCouns had planned to have lunch with Michuki’s son Francis when Michuki unexpectedly joined the discussion. Michuki, who is a close associate of President Kibaki, made a point to disparage Presidential challenger Raila Odinga, but was otherwise unusually relaxed, philosophical, and somewhat detached. He gave the impression of being much more interested in the state of his golf links than the state of the nation. This is in high contrast to his usually engaged and combative stance. Although he is historically close to Kibaki, Michuki is one of several prominent Kikuyus in the cabinet who have been conspicuously excluded from the new Party of National Unity (PNU) campaign leadership, and is strongly associated with Kikuyu tribal interests.
Uhuru Kenyatta appears to be working towards a presidential run in 2012. While many have pointed out that replacing President Kibaki, a Kikuyu, by another Kikuyu, would be unlikely due to anti-Kikuyu sentiments prevalent across much of Kenyan society, Kenyatta may be encouraged to attempt a presidential run due to shifting political dynamics that make potential challengers seem weak. Interestingly, Kenyatta seems to appreciate the need to be seen as pro-reform, and we should encourage him to push for action on key reform issues. Alternatively, the potential for Kenyatta to foment violence to achieve political ends cannot be ruled out (he is reportedly a key figure on the list of suspected perpetrators of post-election violence)