WikiLeaks: What Sally thinks of Kibaki, PM

March 8, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – Agriculture Minister Dr Sally Kosgei is the latest top government official to be exposed in secret US cables, which reveal what she thinks of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

In a candid conversation with American Ambassador Michael Ranneberger and the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, Dr Kosgei is reported to have said the two leaders were as a "whole unwilling or unable to advance real reforms."

"In a wide ranging conversation that focused on current political personalities and their aspirations, Kosgei confirmed that Kenya\’s leaders are as a whole unwilling or unable to advance real reforms. Sustained, broad public pressure will be required to move leaders beyond their narrow political interests to serving the needs of the country," Mr Ranneberger wrote in a diplomatic cable in June 2009.

The talks during dinner at the American Ambassador\’s residence were also attended by the US National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Africa Michelle Gavin.

The talks mainly centred on President Kibaki and the Prime Minister\’s "inability" to undertake desired reforms in the country.

The WikiLeaks dossier claims that Dr Kosgei told the American officials that although President Kibaki was in a way committed and agreed to undertaking reforms in the country "he is beholden to the corrupt interests of his inner circle."

"Agreeing that the head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura has accumulated inordinate control over government functions, Dr Kosgei stated that Muthaura, Minister for Internal Security George Saitoti, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Moses Wetangula are all close advisors of the President," the cable states.

On the Prime Minister, Dr Kosgei is reported to have told the US envoys that she believes that Mr Odinga truly wants to achieve the reform agenda but does not have the organisational discipline to do so."

"Raila has no office structure, no discipline in his life or schedule," Dr Kosgei is quoted as having said during the dinner meeting and even quoted the Prime Minister\’s advisor Salim Lone as observing that Mr Odinga has made it this far in politics by the force of his personality without having to demonstrate managerial acumen.

Although Mr Odinga\’s advisors are well intentioned, Dr Kosgei said, most don\’t have government experience and he tends to surround himself with fellow ethnic Luos.

"Mr Odinga is unwilling to sack corrupt deputies, and is overly focused on protocol issues and ODM inclusion in appointment decisions such that it distracts his attention from the broader reform agenda," Dr Kosgei remarked.

Dr Kosgei further accused the Prime Minister of holding late night meetings with his ministers "when he is tired and unfocused."

She singled out ODM whip Jakoyo Midiwo, William Ruto, several members of Mr Odinga\’s extended family, and his wife Ida as the Prime Minister\’s key advisors at the time.  Mr Ruto has since severed his links with the Prime Minister.

During the meeting, Mr Carson is reported to have observed that Mr Odinga often shifted blame to PNU for slowing reforms prompting Dr Kosgei to remark that "the two principles have no difficulty reaching agreement on issues but for different reasons are each incapable of advancing reforms."

Dr Kosgei who was at the time the Higher Education Minister noted from her own experience in Cabinet meetings that "the two principles are in a mutual admiration club (in Cabinet they always agree). In fact they should meet more often because they can reach agreement together."

The Minister is also reported to have blamed the resignation of Justice Minister Martha Karua on frustrations because she "fell into the trap of believing that Kibaki actually seeks to reform the judicial sector."

"Karua is a good woman, and an ally for reform," Mr Ranneberger said quoting Kosgei. "but frustrated in her ambitions for reform, Karua chose to resign, a move that Kosgei regards as unfortunate."

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