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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

PICTURES: #Kenya elections - why #Museveni is stuck between a rock and a hard place


When Museveni came to power in 1986, Kenya was the first victim of his regional military aggression.  Kenya was suspicious of Museveni's association with Gadaffi and Museveni's links with the communist block. With the insurgency in the north and northeastern Uganda, about 2000 Ugandan refugees fled to Kenya. Ugandan dissidents based in Kenya carried out attacks on Local Council officials in the areas of Busia and Tororo. Dissident groups like FOBA and individuals like Aggrey Awori were identified by the Kampala regime as being behind the attacks.
Museveni amassed troops along the border and around December 1987 the tensions escalated into a three days military confrontation. Uganda troops overpowered Kenya Police and GSU and attacked Adongosi police station, two kms inside Kenya from Busia border post.  Consequently, Uganda's trade, transport and communication links were temporarily disrupted.  Uganda cut off electricity supply to Kenya.  Kenya imprisoned and sentenced to nine years a Kenyan Journalist on charges of spying for Uganda. The standoff was resolved through talks between Museveni and Moi but it was not yet over.
In Early 1990s, Kenya accused MUSEVENI of harboring and facilitating the military training of Kenyan dissidents. Uganda hosted a Kenyan dissident, self styled Brig. John Steven Ochieng Amoke alias Brig. John Odong.  Kenya alleged that he was the head of the rebel group, February Eighteenth Revolutionary Army (FERA).  
Kenya went ahead to allege that with Uganda's assistance, over 1,000 Kenyans had had military training in both Libya and the then SPLA controlled territory in Southern Sudan. Museveni turned down Kenya's request to have Brig. Odong extradited to Kenya to stand trial.  Museveni cited international law since Odong was a recognised refugee. Note:  If it had been now, under the EAC and in particular the Coalition of the Willing (COWI) and its defence and security pact, he would just hand over the victim to be slaughtered.
Museveni went ahead to claim that he had personally known John Odong since 1972. Twenty Kenyans were charged with treason related to FERA and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. The tension was put down by relocating John Odong to Ghana. It is a fact that Museveni had zeroed in on John Odong after a prominent politician, Kijana Wa Wamalwa proved incapable while Railla Oding refused straight away.
In August 1993, former Obote II Cabinet Minister and Deputy Director of NASA, Amon Baziira was gunned down along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.  It is said that he was on his way from meeting President Moi at Eldoret State Lodge.  Baziira had fled to Kenya after putting in place an armed rebel group, NALU around the Congo side of the Rwenzori mountain.  Baziira who hailed from Kasese is suspected to have been gunned down by Uganda's ESO agents under Kahinda Otafiire who was its Director General at the time.
It was around the same time that Lt. Col. Ronald Kawuma was deployed by ESO to infiltrate suspected dissident groups based in Kenya.  However, after Kawuma publicly declared war against Museveni he was arrested and incarcerated in the Makindye dungeons from where he died.
Museveni's military adventures in Rwanda and the Congo helped to redirect his focus from Kenya. From the experience in Rwanda and Congo, Museveni came up with the idea of securing a regional security alliance through the revival of the defunct East African Community (EAC).
In 1917 the British colonial authority had established a Customs Union between Kenya and Uganda.  In 1927 Tanzania joined the union which transformed into the East African High Commission in 1948.  In 1961 it transformed into East African Common Services Organisation (EACSO).  It provided for a customs union, external tariff, currency, postal and common service in transport and communications, research and education. 
In 1967 the EAC was born out of the EACSO until 1977 when it disintegrated. The causes of the disintegration is a subject of discussion. Uganda had Iddi Amin who was not seeing eye to eye with Tanzania's Nyerere. Kenya was aligned to the west and pursuing capitalist policies while Tanzania was close to China and pursuing communist policies. However, Kenya is alleged to have grabbed much of the community assets.
Museveni saw a regional integration as a strategic security measure against his political opponents establishing bases in neighboring countries. He also saw it as an opportunity for him to become the leader of the EAC political federation. That is partly why he has continued to hold on power in Uganda. At home he was facing an armed rebellion from the predominantly Luo ethnic group whom he had dislodged from power a decade ago.
He had been engaged with the South Sudanese SPLA so as to detach it from its Luo cousins of Northern Uganda. Kenya's Western region has a number of ethnic communities whose populations are a spillover from Uganda -the Luo, Luhya, Kalenjin, Iteso etc. In 2007 a prominent Luo, Raila Odinga contested for the Presidency in Kenya.  Fearing a Luo victory in Kenya for the above stated reasons, Museveni favoured Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu.
During the bloody election violence, the section of the Uganda Railway in Raila Odinga's constituency was uprooted by angry mobs in protest for Museveni's alleged involvement in elections.  Raila Odinga had called in during a live radio talk show, KFM in Kampala and alleged that Ugandan troops were sighted in Kisumu, Eldoret and the other border areas. It was also alleged that Kenyan residents of Malaba had intercepted a lorry full of Uganda army uniforms destined for Kenya.
Uganda bound goods trucks were attacked thus paralysing flow of essential commodities like fuel and other goods into Uganda. Uganda denied its involvement but recently Gen. Ssejusa confirmed that Museveni had sent security forces into Kenya during the 2007 election violence. Later, at Mweya, Museveni admitted his role thus; "Recently there was election in one country. As usual, some people wanted to reject results and cause trouble. Someone who knew our experience in dealing with trouble makers approached us and we rented them equipment. We helped them."
As usual, after pouring fuel into the volatile situation, the panicky Museveni rushed to Kenya pretending to mediate between the warring parties. Raila Odinga out rightly rejected Museveni's mediation and he bowed out.  It was former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who secured a power sharing deal that saw the aggrieved Railla Odinga become the Prime Minister.  In a turn of events, during Museveni's election campaigns in 2010, then Prime Minister Railla Odinga came to Uganda and boosted Museveni's campaign trail.
Interestingly, in the same contest was for UN undersecretary, Olara Otunu, a Luo, who was rumored to have been partly sponsored by Railla Odinga who accused the opposition for failing to unite under a joint candidate. Museveni capitalised on the help he had extended to Railla Odinga when he was fleeing the Moi regime to Norway.  Later at a function in Dar Es Salaam, while commenting on the disputed Mgingo Island, Museveni said that the Luos of Kenya were mad. He was speaking in reference to the 2007 uprooting of the railway in Kibera during the riots.
When the ICC indicted Uhuru Kenyata over the 2007 election violence, Museveni opportunistically jumped in to attack it as an imperialist tool against African leaders.  He supported Uhuru Kenyata's presidential bid against Railla Odinga. During Kenya's 50th independence anniversary in Nairobi in December 2013, Museveni thanked Kenyans for voting against 'the wishes of western imperialists." He unsuccessfully tried to dissuade President Uhuru Kenyatta from going to the Hague claiming that he had credible intelligence that that they were to be retained there. In September 2014, the ICC dropped charges against Uhuru Kenyatta.  In December 2014, during the AU Peace and Security Council summit on terrorism in Nairobi, Museveni opportunistically called upon African states to get out of the ICC.
All along, Museveni had been pushing for the fast-tracking of the EAC and in Uhuru Kenyatta he found a partner of convenience.  However, Museveni had problems with Tanzania's cautious approach to EAC affairs that was being mistaken for 'slow pace'.  Matters were made worse when Tanzania expelled illegal immigrants from Uganda and Rwanda.  
Earlier, President Kikwete had had problems with Rwanda's Paulo Kagame and Museveni after he advised them to talk to their armed groups.  Museveni rallied Rwanda's Kagame and Kenya's Uhuru into the Coalition of the Willing (COWI) that excluded Burundi and Tanzania.  COWI resolved to fast-track the political integration with or without Tanzania by 2016. This was during the so called Northern Corridor Heads of State summit in Kigali where Tanzania was not invited. COWI went ahead to put in place a single tourist visa and free movement of nationals using national IDs.
In January 2014 COWI Defence and Security Ministers and security chiefs met in Kigali and signed Museveni's most cherished a Defence an security pact under the guise of fighting terrorism and other transnational crimes.  In early 2015, then Tanzania's President Kikwete addressed a parliamentary session in which he assured his country that it was still a strong member and advocate of EAC. He said; "....they are calling themselves the Coalition of the Willing with intentions to isolate us. They are in some conspiracy to put us aside."
Burundi sided with Tanzania before causing Rwanda of supporting its enemies.  In the meantime, around late 2015, Uganda and Kenya settled on construction of a K shs 400b oil pipeline from Hoima to to Lamu via Turkanaland. Uhuru Kenyatta visited Uganda and even addressed parliament. In August 2015, Museveni accused Railla Odinga of being against regional integration owing to the latter's opposition to Uganda sugar being exported to Kenya.
On September 3rd 2015, the ODM Secretary General, Ababu Nawamba while addressing students at Strathmore University said; ".....Ugandan dictatorship and prevention of freedoms of expression can not be allowed in Kenya.  Let Museveni do that in his country.  He has the tendency of brainwashing the people's minds and enticing them with niceties in the guise of initiating developmental projects."
In February 2016 while on a campaign trail in Nakasongola, Museveni asked Uhuru Kenyatta to control 'his people' campaigning for his opponent, Dr. Besigye. He said; " I would like to ask Railla Odinga to control his supporters more so those Luos that are campaigning for my opponent especially on Facebook. Those people are influencing Ugandans so much and I will not take it anymore. I don't know what they are gaining from trying to bring me down by poisoning the minds of Ugandans but their campaign seems to succeed among the elites."
Museveni also visited Nairobi in March 2016 to follow up on the oil pipeline project but the opposition ODM lambasted the visit arguing that it was wrong for Uhuru to host Museveni without discussing the controversial Mgingo Island issue. At the same time, Museveni was having parallel discussion with Tanzania over an alternative oil pipeline route.  Kenya was displeased with this development. Eventually Museveni settled for the Tanzania route thus dumping the Kenyan one on flimsy grounds of insecurity and cost of land compensation.
During the same month while in Mbale, Museveni attacked Railla Odinga thus; ....if Railla loses the elections in 2017, which I am sure President Uhuru will beat him, Luos will vandalize our pipeline just like they vandalised the railway in Kibera.  These Jaluos of Kenya are very mad and that is why we can not risk investing in Kenya.  That is why most of them make a lot of noise and die poor because they don't think development. In fact, even President Uhuru is so patient."
When Museveni militarily intervened in the South Sudan conflict, Railla Odinga said that "Museveni is an opportunist and should withdraw from Migingo Island before deploying in South Sudan."
The truth is that after realising that his schemes can't do without Tanzania and more so, President Magufuli had mended fences with Kagame, he had to move very fast to get hooked to Tanzania through the oil pipeline. Tanzania's Magufuli and Rwanda's Kagame had jointly launched a One-Stop-Border-Post at Rusumo.
On the Kenyan border, Magufuli and Uhuru had launched construction of a number of road linking their two countries.  Moreover, he was already done with Kenya when it was duped into the Coalition of the Willing (COWI), the SGR project, the Defence and Security Pact, free tourism and travel zone etc.
Museveni did not like Kenya's involvement in Somalia yet it was directly affected by the Alshabaab militants. He had wanted to remain the only player in Somalia so as to blackmail the West.  It was until Kenyan troops entered Somalia and swiftly took over the strategic post of Kisimayo, that Museveni's troops also moved out of the Airport and State House and took over all the districts of the Capital Mogadishu.
You recall what happened in the Congolese city of Kisangani when the Uganda and Rwanda troops clashed over influence. In August 2012 Uganda lost three of its combat helicopters in Kenya enroute to Somalia. It is most likely even the delay to start the construction of the Malaba - Kampala Standard Guage Railway (SGR) section is because Museveni is eyeing the much anticipated Dar EsSalaam - Mwanza SGR where Tanzania has promised to construct an inland port at Mwanza to cater for Uganda.
Kenya has completed its first phase of Mombasa-nairobi while Uganda has not yet started.
In Tanzania the main opposition, CHADEMA has declared its intentions to support Uhuru Kenyatta in the upcoming August Kenya polls. It argues that President Uhuru has excelled in promoting democracy and has not arrested and persecuted the opposition in Kenya. It further argues that the opposition candidate Railla Odinga is a traitor – in the 2012 Kenya elections, CHADEMA supported Odinga but in 2015 Tanzania elections Odinga supported Magufuli who trounces the CHADEMA candidate, Edward Lowasa.

Earlier in May, Tanzania's Foreign Affairs Minister, Augustine Mahiga refuted claims by sections of Kenya media that Tanzania was facilitating Odinga's National Supper Alliance plots to hack into the Electoral Commission's system during the upcoming August polls. The allegations further disclosed that the Odinga camp was to set up a Tallying Centre in Tanzania for this purpose. President Magufuli is said to be a close friend of Railla Odinga. Earlier on even before Magufuli was elected as President, Kenya had developed skepticism. In his farewell address to parliament, then President Kikwete had this to say; "....only some crazy person can contemplate shift of policy as far as good relations with Kenya is concerned.  Let nobody have any misgivings about relations with Kenya in case the CCM candidate wins the elections."
Later on, in Nairobi, Kikwete assured Kenyans thus; "......it is true Magufuli and Railla are good friends just like I am a good friend of Kalonzo Musyoka.  But being friends with Kenyan opposition leaders does not and can not affect our good relations with the Kenyan government." President Magjfuli's friendship with Railla Odinga date back to the days when both of them were Ministers of Works in their respective countries.
In 2012 Magufuli attended an ODM event at Kasarani stadium where he expresses support for then Presidential candidate, Railla Odinga. Back in Tanzania, the opposition protested over Magufuli's open support for Railla. In January 2015, then Minister Magufuli attended the burial of Railla's son, Fidel in Kisumu. During President Magufuli's swearing in ceremony, Railla Odinga was accorded almost an equall reception with President Uhuru.

In April 2016, now President Magufuli hosted Railla Odinga, his wife and daughter at his upcountry home in Geita for three days. Now, Kenya's Starehe M.P, Maina Kamanda has publicly issued a statement to the effect that Railla Odinga is being funded by Ma Presidents Magufuli, South Sudan's Silva Kiir and other unnamed foreign powers to destablise Kenya. Much earlier, there had been an incident where Tanzania banned Kenyan tourist vans from ferrying tourists to Serengeti National Park. In retaliation, Kenya banned Tanzanian tourist vans from accessing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Kenya went ahead to reduce its airway flights between the two. countries. However, such minor contradictions were resolved amicably.
Museveni is a sworn enemy of Railla Odinga but is currently trying to win over Tanzania's Magufuli who is a close friend of Railla Odinga. He fears that if he openly supports Uhuru Kenyatta or decampaigns Railla Odinga, he may lose out on his new found strategic friendship with President Magufuli. That is the precarious situation that the Ugandan military dictator created for himself - caught between a rock and a hard place.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO
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