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Raila’s biography says much…..

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2007

Author : Komu Comment:
Raila’s Role in the coup

In his biography, Raila’s biographer, Babafemi Badejo says Raila facilitated the acquisition of a house on Ngong Road, which was used as a command centre by the 1982 coup plotters.

What Wikipedia says

A biography released in July 2006 suggested that Raila was more involved in the coup than previously thought. After its publication, some MPs called for Raila to be arrested and charged [2], but the statute of limitations had already passed and, since the information was contained in a biography, Raila could not be said to have openly confessed his involvement. [3].

’82 Coup Plot Revelations: Raila Odinga’s Biggest Political Mistake Ever

As I write this, events are still unfolding after the bombshell revelation concerning Raila and his father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s involvement in the failed coup of August 1st 1982.
In a Raila biography written by Nigerian, Babafemi Badejo that would have been the ideal campaign tool and weapon in his bid for the presidency, Agwambo confirms what many have suspected all along. And that is the fact that he was involved in the 1982 coup attempt to topple President Moi’s constitutionally established government.
Local newspaper columnists have either completely missed the point or have deliberately pretended not to see it. Raila should never have allowed the book to be published in the first place. While everybody would like the truth to come out, these revelations have for all intents and purposes ended any serious chances Raila ever had of becoming the next president of Kenya.
On a personal level I love Raila. In my book he is the candidate with the cleanest record out of all those who have declared interest in the presidency so far. But it seems that my friend has just shot himself in the foot for no apparent reason.
His admission of involvement in the 1982 coup plot ruins everything by introducing some very disturbing questions on the minds of Kenyans.

Military coups are all about killing and taking over power by military, forceful and unconstitutional means. This means that Raila and his late father were prepared to kill to get political power. They did not succeed but many innocent Kenyans lost their lives in the process. Those who don’t think this is serious should face the Kenyan mother who had a son in the regular armed forces and one in the Airforce. She was praying that both survived.

She found the bodies of both at the City Mortuary. Not to mention the thousands of other Kenyans who lost their lives on that black August 1st. Many others who will carry the scars for the rest of their lives from watching people being killed or wives and daughters being raped. And for what?

At the time, Moi had ruled for a mere 4 years and one of the reasons why the coup happened in the first place is that his style of leadership then was very laid back and non-confrontational (sound familiar?) Nobody likes a weak leader. So what the coup plotters announced on the radio that morning, to the effect that the long dictatorial rule of President Moi had come to an end was propaganda nonsense. There weren’t even any political detainees at that time.

Meaning that the people behind the coup had no justification to use armed means to gain power. It means that they were after power for the sake of power. For Raila to be associated with such a group is nauseating to say the least.

There are times when an armed struggle is justified; this was definitely not one of those times. If anything it would have set a dangerous precedent that may have turned Kenya into another Nigeria where bloody coups have for many years been an accepted way of life.
This is the man who will ask Kenyans for their votes in 2007. It is true that Kenyans have a short memory and Raila should have taken advantage of that and left his past exactly where it was.

Looking back:
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Chaos That Was the 1982 Coup And The Terrible Purge That Followed

There were many horror stories on that day. Some half jokingly say that Senior Private Pancreas Ochuka, the junior airforce officer who is said to have been the leader (there was definitely a major personality behind him, but who was it?), went to his grave having ruled Kenya for at least 30 minutes. Ochuka was hanged at Kamiti Prison for his role in the coup attempt.

Details of the bloody attempted coup of 1982 are still classified information. The exact body count was never even given. What followed was a different Moi keen on crushing all opposition, real or imagined. In retrospect the attempted coup was definitely one of the events that helped drive the country more and more off track.

Then there were the Maasai moran looters who caused great laughter. While others went for valuables, like precious stones and jewelry, Some Maasais were spotted breaking into a butcher’s shop and carrying away meat. Apparently this seemed to be the most valuable of assets they could identify.

Other slum dwellers looted TV sets only to find themselves stranded with them since they did not have any electricity in their tiny slum dwellings, something they momentarily forgot as they made off with the TV sets.

One the man (armed with a gun and probably believed to have been a member of either the air force or the army) went straight to the Hilton Hotel. His objective? To have sex with a white woman. Which he apparently fulfilled but on his way out died under a hail of bullets.

But there was nothing funny about the rapes, plunder and killings that went on in many parts of the city of Nairobi. Nor is there anything funny about the numerous bodies that people had to step over while walking the streets of Nairobi the next morning, which was a Monday. Everybody had to walk the streets with their national identity cards held high over their heads. There was also a dawn to dusk curfew that went on for at least a month after that.

The air force troops apparently took over the KBC TV and radio station and a few other strategic installations in the early hours of Sunday morning August 1st 1982, before the Kenya Army support battalion stormed into the city centre and recaptured the installations with heavy casualties, mainly from the air force side. Many air force soldiers fled, stripped their uniform and hid by mixing with ordinary civilians.

The army hunted them down for days. It is said that a section of the air force that had taken control cheered when they saw the army arriving in town, since they had been made to believe that the entire armed forces were supporting the attempted coup. They were taken completely by surprise when their would-be accomplices opened fire instead, killing many of them.

It is said that Moi was at his Kabarak farm when the attempted coup happened and after it was defeated, was brought back into the city by a well armed army escort in an operation code named Operation Maji Machafu (swahili for dirty water). There is a story that did the rounds to the effect that he was brought back inside a military tank.

He appeared live on KBC TV (then called Voice of Kenya – VOK). He was visisbly shocked but thanked all the security forces. He was flanked by the then police commissioner Ben Gethi.
The paranoid Moi who emerged after the events of that August day, was a very different man from the Moi Kenyans had known in the past. From then on, all political opponents and enemies, real or imagined were dealt with ruthlessly. The dreaded Mwakenya purge where many innocent Kenyans suffered in torture chambers at Nyayo house on suspicion of being dissidents was to follow, peaking in 1985/86.

Many older Kenyans and families still have scars of ’82 and the consequences that followed. Prof. Anyang Nyongo, now an MP and formerly in the Kibaki cabinet, once admitted in parliament that his private parts were squeezed by special branch officers torturing him.

This blogger was arrested and detained for one endless weekend where I was transferred from police station to police station in a mistaken identity mix-up. Security officers at one point stripped me naked and threatened to shoot me dead if I did not confess. Had I known what I was required to confess, I would have speedily obliged.

It is important to understand that everybody and anybody was picked up at the least excuse during the great Mwakenya purge of the mid 80s. The late humour columnist Mutahi Wahome (better know as Whispers) was jailed just because somebody mentioned that he happened to be around when others were reading a copy of a seditious document in his university days some years before.

Published by API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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