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Citizen Weekly

Monday 28 July 2014


 Is Raila running a private parallel army?
Controversial statements and political views are emanating from various government security agencies over the rising cases of insecurity in Kenya and more so, in Coast region which has left many speculating with an accusing finger being pointed at ODM and Cord leader Raila Odinga.

Implicating Raila has left many analysts coming up with different theories.
It all began at State House, Nairobi, in the first scene when President Uhuru Kenyatta fired the first salvo during a live TV broadcast hours after the bloody Mpeketoni attack saying the raid was politically instigated through local political networks. Although he did not name names, the blame seemed to have been directed at Cord and its leadership under the tutelage of Raila.

 Scene two of the unfolding blame games on the deteriorating security saw state intelligence and spy agencies through the Internal Security cabinet secretary Joseph Ole Lenku at it again and this time, he named ODM and Cord leaders as the sponsors of terror groups in the country. At one time, he accused Cord of using the dreaded Mungiki adherents to cause mayhem at the coast.

Deputy president Wiliam Ruto has also linked the attacks and insecurity to ODM.
But the big question now is whether Raila and by extension Cord, operate a private army. Sources say there is a feeling within government circles that Raila could be having ties with criminal elements who have been unleashing terror on Kenyans.

On Its part, the opposition has denied the claims and dismissed them as propaganda to divert Kenyans from the burning security issue, corruption and bad governance.

That panic and fear have gripped the establishment and it is out to do all at its disposal to control the escalating insecurity being linked to Raila is no secret. Last week, MPs shot down a motion that if passed could have allowed the National Intelligence Service to hack into phone calls, Sms and e-mails without having to seek approval of the court. Sources say it was part of the state’s calculation to monitor closely Cord leaders’ communications and to ascertain if indeed they are behind the attacks as intelligence reports had claimed.

The government, according to sources, has come out in full force to ensure Cord does not destabilise the Jubilee administration and it is against this background that Cord leaders have now been put on 24-hour surveillance.

The fear and suspicion within the government security apparatus is that Raila could be having a complete intelligence gathering unit is as a result of his former position as prime minister. The fear is that when he was a co-principal in the coalition government with President Mwai Kibaki, he used to have intelligence briefings on a daily basis.

To show how the government is not taking lightly the security threats, of late President Uhuru Kenyatta has beefed up his security detail including using bombproof cars. His deputy William Ruto’s security has also been beefed up as well as that of top government officials in sensitive positions like Internal Security and his principal secretary.

According to sources, there is fear that Raila could still be getting state briefings from intelligence officers who are loyal to ODM and Cord and that he could be accessing sensitive information which he then uses to take Jubilee head on during public rallies. During a Cord rally at Tononoka in Mombasa, two members of the armed forces found themselves in trouble for attending the meeting.

They were spotted by members of the dreaded military intelligence who were assigned to give briefs on the events. That military intelligence is being used to monitor the opposition shows how serious the government is on the opposition plans. In his book, The Enigma, Raila says soldiers who were to later stage a coup in 1982 used football game halftime breaks to spread his word. In the middle of the pitch, soldiers had no fear at all that they were being listened to.

They would also compare notes as they played. This, as spectators were meant to believe it was an innocent game of soccer. The coup was however mercilessly crushed after the soldiers instead of minding the business at hand that of overthrowing Moi, entered bars and drunk silly. Raila himself had to flee dressed as a Legio Maria bishop to Uganda. Although in the book he says he fooled the police with the dress, sources close to intelligence at the time say that they were fully aware it was Raila in disguise and even asked Moi whether they could blow the boat Raila was fleeing in Lake Victoria on to which Moi after entering a private room came back and told them to let Raila flee so that he can live to see others become president.

Old habits, they say, never die. Could the ageing horse be up to new tricks?
Just recently, security agencies were shocked when Raila, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula displayed a letter that was supposedly written by the chief of staff and head of public service Joseph Kinyua seeking advisory opinion on possible arrest of Raila and Cord leaders, and the possibility of them being charged with treason.

How this supposed sensitive and confidential letter landed into the hands of Cord leaders remains a mystery. Some have concluded that Raila has infiltrated the spy and security agencies who feed him with  crucial information.

Another worry is that Kalonzo could also be having people loyal to him within the state security and spy agency. Just like Raila, during his tenure as VP, he also used to get state briefings on a daily basis and it is feared that he could also be accessing sensitive information.

Cord has been claiming members of the armed forces from communities that are perceived to be Cord are being targeted. Cases of opposition having private armies are not a new phenomenon in Africa. In South Africa, the ANC had a private army (Umkhonto we Sizwe), spear of the nation, which helped the country gain independence and was retained even after ANC won the elections.

Sources say that Raila enjoys cordial relationship with South Africa and its feared he must have borrowed a leaf from them over having a private army and a parallel intelligence agency.

Raila is a well known ally of South African business tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa who is ANC second in command and seen as South Africa’s next president. Sources say Raila received great financial backing from him during the 2007 and 2013 elections. He is the man set to succeed Jacob zuma.
 It has also been whispered that he was the man behind the private jet Raila bought from South Africa. What is not known however, is whether he contributed and how much if he did. During the post-election violence of 2007, Ramaphosa was rejected by the Kibaki side of being a Raila sympathiser.

To show how close Raila and Ramaphosa are, after losing the 2013 presidential elections, Raila, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula were hosted by Ramaphosa the same day Uhuru and Ruto were being sworn in office. The Raila-Ramaphosa link is also being monitored to detect any involvement in recent killings in Kenya.

Cord on the other hand has dismissed any links with the terror group Al-Shabaab saying the government is relying on propaganda information to intimidate the opposition.
Last week, Jubilee majority leader in parliament Aden Duale made a sensational claim that Cord and al-Shabaab were reading from the same script. The statement caused ripples as Jubilee and Cord members engaged in verbal exchanges which at some point degenerated into insults in parliament.

But even as Jubilee closely monitors Cord leaders’ daily movement and with Raila and Kalonzo complaining that their phones are being tapped, Cord has dismissed claims that they are planning to destabilise the Uhuru government and blames it on hearsay and high level propaganda.

Cord leadership and more so, Coast leaders, are now blaming the Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa as being used by the government to intimidate and paint Cord supporters and its leaders negatively.

Last week, he linked the recent Likoni gun attack that killed four people to ODM. According to Marwa, ODM operatives in Mombasa are sponsoring youth in Likoni and other places to cause chaos and mayhem so that the blame can go to the government.

Cord has however, in many occasions, dared the state security agencies to arrest them and charge them if they have evidence but Marwa has failed to specify who in particular among the Cord leaders was giving up to Sh3,000 to youth to cause mayhem. He instead stated that they have narrowed down the search to two powerful individuals in Mombasa county. According to Marwa, ODM has been inciting people on matters of land and referendum to turn citizens against the government.

Last week, Ole Lenku claimed that ODM has been duping its supporters to sign the referendum form promising them that they will be allocated land. ODM has however termed it as cheap propaganda saying that the allegations are not new, but are a show of lack of awareness by the county commissioner.

“The outburst by the so-called county commissioner in Mombasa Marwa associating the Orange Democratic Movement  with terrorism is nothing new. It falls within the pattern of innuendo, slander and disinformation about the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy that Jubilee has engaged in consistently to divert attention from their incompetence in dealing with insecurity in the country,” Anyang’ Nyongo said. He added that Kenyans will not be fooled by “this ill-intentioned baboonery”.

When Marwa said that they are investigating two senior politicians from the region, fingers were being pointed at Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar. Jubilee leaders have not forgiven Joho for being disrespectful to President Uhuru. This is in reference to an alleged speech in which Joho called the president ‘small person’ during iftar dinner hosted for Raila in Mombasa last week just as he did to Marwa.

Joho is reported to have said that he is not threatened by the county commissioner Nelson Marwa who is ‘a small person’ and even his employer is ‘a very small person’. Joho did not, however, name President Uhuru Kenyatta as that small person but many have claimed his statement was directed at Uhuru.

Those who say there is a serious security threat cite Uhuru’s new security measures. During the June 1 2014 Madaraka Day celebrations, Uhuru made his way into the Nyayo Stadium not on the customary ceremonial Land Rover but a Toyota Land Cruiser with bullet proof glass shielding. Part of his convoy was an armoured Reconnaissance Command Vehicle.
The RCV Survivor I is an 8-tonne class all-terrain, high mobility, lightweight, 4×4 modular armoured vehicle  manufactured by Austrian company, Achleitner for military customers.

The vehicle design focuses on modular add-on protection against ballistic threats, mines, artillery splinters and improvised explosive devices. It is powered by a 286-hp diesel engine developing a top speed of 100 kilometres per hour on road.

 The vehicle is based on an armoured steel monocoque cell with composite add-ons that provide its occupants (two crew members plus a maximum of five dismounts) with Level 2 ballistic and Level 2a/b mine protection. It also has a deflecting floor and floating seats though IED protection level remains undisclosed.

RCV Survivor I 4×4 features Stanag 4569 level protection with modular add-on armour kits providing Level 3 protection against bombardment and Level 2a/2b against mines and IEDs.

The RCV Survivor is available in communication, border patrol, reconnaissance, command vehicle and ambulance. For law enforcement, military and security range customers the Survivor is available in two additional versions called Survivor I 4×4 Basic and Survivor I 4×4 Light.

The Survivor 4×4 Basic has a gross vehicle weight of 5,000 kg and is intended for police, military and paramilitary customers. The Survivor 4×4 Light is a special purpose militarised version with a gross vehicle weight of 3,250 kg and a 173-hp diesel engine. Two Survivor I vehicles can be airlifted by a single C-130 or C-160 transport aircraft.

The Survivor I RCV is powered by a 250 hp VM diesel engine, that provides a power-to-weight ratio of over 33 hp/tonne. It is coupled to an Allison automatic transmission with three 100pc differential locks and a permanent four-wheel drive traction. The vehicle is fitted with live axles front and rear and with 335/80 R20 run-flat tyres.

Its maximum road speed is around 100 km/h while its cruise range is given as 800 km. The vehicle, which is available in three- or five-door configurations, is outfitted not only for communication equipment and other auxiliary systems, but also for a remote-control weapon station on the roof.

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