Keeping political secrets in Kenya is about as successful as damming a raging river with a Maasai shuka. But did Hillary intentionally leak the culprits’ names?
Before leaving Kenya, Hillary held a number of high profile meetings with activist politicians and local leaders. She said she was going to “name and shame” the list of culprits already drawn up by the Kenyan government as responsible for the 2007 election violence.
Short of economic sanctions, this is what governments do. They start by denying entry visas to certain individuals, an executive power that really stings. High profile politicians travel to developed countries much more than you might think. Did anyone know, for instance, that Kenya’s Prime Minister and central figure in the Kenyan political miasma was in Washington recently?
But they come for other than diplomatic reasons. They bring their children to good colleges. They shop. They bank. They invest bulging pockets. They often come incognito, because these are tasks the people at home don’t want to know they have.
According to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Department, at any given time, there are “thousands” of names on lists for denied entry of this sort.
It matters little to us that some potentate who has aggrieved the U.S. ambassador in Doha can’t shop at Macy’s. But it matters a lot to the citizens of Qatar, and when it leaks out at home, it’s worse than being forced to sit on a stool in the corner with a dunce cap on.
Hillary let it be known that the Kenyan Attorney General, Amos Wako, and the head of the national police, Hussein Ali, were on the bad boys’ list.
These are two dunces who sometimes get mean. Wako has served as Attorney General for 30 years. Both hold their position, because of their centrist political power from the tribes whence they come. Removing either of them could unbuckle the complex coalitions of power that keep both the current rivals, Odinga and Kibaki, in power.
As to their actual sins, I think they’re both minor players who have basically functioned as little as possible to keep themselves in power. That’s the Kenyan way. I don’t think they masterminded violence, for example, like William Ruto, the current Agricultural Minister who should be shackled and displayed on the public square. But I think Hillary’s point is that they both hold positions that should now be used to cleanse the body politic. And they aren’t. At least not in the way she would like.
One of the reasons the Truth-and-Reconciliation Commission won’t happen, is because Wako is moving the whole process to The Hague. Another important reason is that Ali is working with Scotland Yard and the FBI more closely than he is with Kenyans. This might get out the truth more effectively, but as Hillary explained (and as most foreign leaders agree) it would be better to have a Truth-and-Reconciliation Commission in Kenya than trials in The Hague.
And as many in Kenya hope (more than believe), a Truth-and-Reconciliation Commission might be so bold as to implicate Wako and Ali by their 30 years of negligence.
But it seems that Kenyans in power believe that the further that the truth comes out from Nairobi, the better for Kenya.