Multi-Party Politics in Kenya: The Kenyatta & Moi States & the Triumph of the System in the 1992 Election

By David W. Throup; Charles Hornsby | Go to book overview
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Six
KANU Fights Back December 1991-October 1992

KANU in Crisis

By the end of 1991 KANU was in serious difficulties. The fall-out from the Commission of Enquiry into the death of Foreign Minister Dr Robert Ouko, implicating Energy Minister Nicholas Biwott, Permanent Secretary Hezekiah Oyugi, Nyanza Provincial Commissioner Julius Kobia and Nakuru District Commissioner Jonah Anguka, posed serious problems for the Moi regime, further eroding support among Luos. Before Ouko's murder in February 1990 and the suspicious death of Bishop Alexander Muge of Eldoret in August that year, Moi's defenders had contrasted the regime's treatment of outspoken critics with the murders of Pio da Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya and Josiah Mwangi Kariuki during the Kenyatta era. Although KANU had become increasingly authoritarian and more people were held in detention, the Moi government in its first decade had refrained from murdering opponents. Ouko's death appeared to mark a new era of violent intimidation.

Although Ouko had been far less popular than Tom Mboya, the ruling party nevertheless risked mass defections in Luoland. In 1969, following Mboya's assassination, incumbent Luo MPs who had failed to disassociate themselves from the regime had been repudiated by the voters at the ensuing general election. The Moi government was in a desperate plight as Kikuyu voters had been completely alienated by the regime's deliberate shift of resources from Central Province and the Kikuyu regions of the Rift Valley. By early 1992 KANU's position was also under attack among the Gusii and Abaluhya. The non-Kalenjin 'settler' communities in the Rift Valley were alarmed by the Kalenjin demand for Majimboism and by threats of 'ethnic cleansing' unless they declared their loyalty to President Moi and KANU. The ruling party's supporters in Rift Valley Province -- the Kalenjin, Maasai, Samburu and Turkana -- comprised only 15 per cent of Kenya's population and controlled 34 or 35 seats in the National Assembly,

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