What Really Happened, Part 2: Exodus


  • In a show of crass stupidity, Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua and Lands Minister Kivutha Kibwana release statements accusing the ODM of organizing and funding genocide. I am stunned at the foolishness of this gesture that can only further fan the flames and erode the remaining goodwill (if any)
  • 7 killed and dozens of houses burnt in Huruma and Dandora. There was a standoff between two rival gangs and skirmishes that lasted for hours
  • Jamhuri Park has been set up as a refugee center. My heart is heavy to report that there are refugees in Nairobi that are from Nairobi


I’ve been round a bit to check out what’s happening on the ground. Things are slowly creeping back to normal, in some sections of Nairobi though given tomorrow’s rally, or lack thereof, one wonders.


In What Really Happened #1: Genesis, I outlined what I thought was the kindling for the situation we are in today. Here is the conclusion.

Capital Center

Between the knowledge that they were unpopular all over the country and had polarized other communities against their own, and the irresistible taste of the trappings of power and wealth that come with incumbency, a decision was probably taken that the State House was to be retained at all costs.

Main Entrance, Capital Center

It is here that I postulate something that might raise an eyebrow.

I do not believe that Mwai Kibaki intended to run again.

Milk Shelves Before Stocking

Yes, I don’t. Why? Because of the following

  • Kibaki did not seem to take the elections seriously until 2 months to the event
  • The decision to cobble together a new political party at the last hour, instead of using the already established NARC Kenya is unlikely to be grounded in wisdom
  • Much, if not all, of the campaigning was done by lieutenants for most of the year
  • Extremely strange liaisons developed at the 11th hour, which included
  • Former President Moi
  • KANU
  • The campaign was largely disjointed to the very end. Having affiliate parties field multiple candidates is an extremely poor strategic move

Restocking Milk

However powerful forces around him convinced him that it was incumbent upon him to run again. And the more he thought about it the better it sounded. Which led to ludicrously absurd scenarios like

  • A sitting president attending the delegates conference of the Official Opposition, singing the infamous KANU party slogan KANU yajenga nchi (KANU builds the nation)
  • Said sitting president proudly and happily waving the finger salute of KANU
  • Said sitting president appealing passionately to opposition delegates to give him their votes
  • Sitting president breaking bread and proceeding to meet regulraly with his predecessor, Moi, the very man he humiliated in more ways than one, least of which was thinly veiled insults in his inauguration speech, sending his lieutenants to court and threatening to prosecute Moi himself

Milk, milk everywhere

However,as I have said, after all the rallies and politicking, the reality began to show itself and the bitter truth was that it was unlikely to win the elections.

Meat Shelves, almost bare

Contingencies were laid to improve the odds

  • Campaign consultants were imported (Never mind that ado that was made of ODM’s Dick Morris. On that note even today I have always been suspicious of ODM’s move in parading Dick Morris. The quintessential red herring if ever there was one)
  • Formidable state machinery was brought to bear. A cursory look at the movements of the campaign teams over the latter half of the year ought to make some interesting reading
  • Significant amounts of funds were injected into the campaign. The strategic targeting was questionable, but the sheer quantity was there. Idle banter with individuals in the know have led to the floating of figures to the tune of a couple of million. Per constituency.

Skumawiki (kale) shelf, clean as a whistle

And just to make sure another set of contingencies were put in place

  • A good chunk of the sitting Electoral Commission’s commissioners were replaced with new ones. With the knowledge that one of the new commissioners is the President’s personal lawyer, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to divine the fact that they probably were loyal to the President.
  • The knee jerk reaction to replace the chairman as well was overturned at the last minute to give the commission the perception of independence. Kivuitu was largely trusted by both sides. Then, at any rate. However I’m inclined to think some form of hold was gotten over Kivuitu.
  • Days to the election the president swore in a new set of beaming judges

Well stocked shoppers at the till

That last point in particular is why I am deeply skeptical that election petitions will be of any value. Asking judges appointed not a fortnight ago to expel their benefactor is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. It was not lost on many that a beaming Chief Justice and the ever smiling Attorney General were delighted guests at the inauguration. The old adage of a rooster appealing to the justice of a hungry crocodile comes to mind.

South B Shopping Center

The final contingency was the one that was to be a last resort. This happens to be the one that has put as where we are today. It was not executed as envisaged due to a number of factors

  • Kenyans turned out to vote en masse. En masse
  • Instead of going home like good little boys and girl, Kenyans remained at the polling stations and watched the ballot boxes like hawks
  • The convenient inability of the ECK to procure ICT systems to have a live tally of results was overridden by the enthusiastic coverage and tallying of the TV, radio and press who kept the public fully appraised of the results
  • An assumption was made the Kenyans were somewhat gullible and liable to agree with anythng that sounded official. Boy was that a null hypothesis!

Vendor selling vegetables

The strategy was simple.

  • Stuff ballot boxes where possible. This largely proved impossible thanks to hawk eyed Kenyans at most polling stations. However it was executed at some constituencies where observers were denied access.
  • Through willing proxies like Nyachae (Nyanza), Kombo (Western) and Mwakwere (Coast), secure at least 25% of the vote in the provinces Kibaki was not going to win on his own (besides the inevitable Central and Eastern)
  • Move with speed to publish results of the opposition’s candidate’s presidential votes, while at the same time holding back the tally of the incumbent. It will not do to inflate the incumbent’s tally and turn up short. Or overshoot by several million.
  • At ECK headquarters, have a series of “technical issues” that result in incorrect figures being published of the incumbent’s totals. Invariably, these would be larger, through means like judicious addition of zeroes to totals  or surreptitious injection of the odd 20,000 votes. Inadvertent reduction of the opposition candidate’s totals would also not hurt. This would be courtesy of those ECK commissioners that so recently gained employment.

Fully loaded handcart sets off

The last plan hinged on the fact that there were no hawk eyed Kenyans watching the national tallying. Ergo if action were to be taken, it would be taken there. Much has been made of the fact that the various observers were at times denied access to the tally room.

Nakumatt Karen

The looks in the eyes of the likes of William Ruto and Charity Ngilu when totals they know to be 35,000 in some constituency were announced as 100,000 were truly priceless.

Nakumatt Karen Entrance

The problem with the master plan was that the average Kenyan is not as naive and as gullible as the political elite like to think. Kenyans put two and two together and got not the 22 that the elite was expecting, but a resounding 4.

I knew what was coming the instant the paramilitary General Service Unit cleared the KICC of journalists and additional armed men arrived and sealed it off.

The supermarket

The rest, as they say, is history. Kibaki was declared winner. Needless to say, the reaction came thick and fast

Breaking It Down

I was not the least bit surprised that things degenerated into violence.

Maize flour sells like hotcakes

Think about it.

Much ado has ben made over the right to vote, and the empowerment of the voter. Kenyans were told that they had the power to shape their destiny and choose their leadership. And so they turned out in colossal numbers and they voted. They were told that they had a voice and that it would be listened to.

And when it came down to it their voice, the ballot was ignored. And so they had only one voice left — protest.

Lengthy lines at the till

Make no mistake. I have ZERO support for destruction of property and shedding of blood. As a matter of fact if you threw stones or raised arms against your brother you should be dealt with ruthlessly.

It is extremely naive for PNU supporters to gloat over such a tainted victory. Because it is indeed a tainted victory. And if you support a tainted victory it would be the height of hypocrisy to object if for instance, Moi won in a similar manner.

I am stunned that Kibaki conveniently forgets the election petitions revolving around the 1992 and 1997 elections. My how the memory is selective!

The end is nigh!

Supporting this travesty because it favours someone you like is a dangerous and foolish precedent.

What we have lost, my friends, is our voice. The power of the ballot. The right to determine our leadership and our destiny. The very thing our forefathers risked their lives fighting for.

So if you are celebrating because Kibaki ‘won’ or you are bitter becauase Raila ‘lost’ my friends you need to wake up and smell the coffee.

You need to be better because your voice has been stolen from you.

61 thoughts on “What Really Happened, Part 2: Exodus”

  1. M,

    Excellent analysis.

    Anybody who still regards this as Kibaki/Raila affair should be pistol-whipped and his balls dipped in a bowl full of camel fleas!

  2. toiyoi:

    Pakistan, Nigeria, Burma all spent or have spent decades and a lot of bloodshed to escape from military goverments. So that is not a solution for our problems

  3. Ok so whats the next plot…do we cow under kibaki GSU and Gicheru, or wat wat wat wat!!????? then wat?! ok, elections don’t work, violence is a no no, then wat! jameni!

    Nice academic theories r soothing but only up to a point. The rock is still blocking the road.

  4. Hey M,

    As I’ve told you outside these hallowed pages, excellent post. I wish all of us were as objective when reviewing the matter. Excellent overall work, the snaps are really helpful. As an amateur photographer myself, I must ask: how far were you from those charging GSU, my friend?

    As things begin to move towards mediated negotiation, I hope that the Government will realise that the vast geographical majority of Kenyans are NOT behind the Govt. Let PNU be willing to make far-reaching concessions for unity’s sake. And I mean FAR-reaching concessions. This is not the time for handing out pacifying bones. This is the time to foster peace and unity by giving the people what is rightfully theirs. With roughly 50 MPs, to ODM’s close to 100, PNU and its affiliates are hardly in a position of strength – how would governing even proceed? Let President Kibaki realise that more than 50% of the Kenyan public voted against him, and let him come to the debating table with that in mind, and be fair, and give Kenyans their voice back.

    He was unfair in the matter of the MoU.

    He was probably unfair in the matter of these results.

    He has the chance to start putting things right, by not riding rough-shod over some pretty plain facts – a lot of Kenya has been/is afire with indignation.

    Over to you, Mr. President.

  5. @Toiyoi

    Your gospel (small g, yes!) is really good at the start, but ends in chaos followed by division. Let us not give in to the idea that we are so immature, so intolerant of one another that we cannot live together in one nation, or even as one nation.


    I have a long-held belief that there is indeed something the matter with civilization. It never propagates itself. It can only reaches a peak and then degenerates, morally, economically, etc. The problem is not with civilization as a concept. It is with the citizens of that civilization themselves.

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