How Egypt Sank Raila's Presidential Bid

While all this was going on, Raila Odinga selected Martha Karua as his running mate. Much as Kenyans know Karua to be strongly principled, the West knows the fact, and it does not forget and does not take chances.

How Egypt Sank Raila's Presidential Bid
File image of Hon Raila Odinga. Photo/Courtesy

Raila Odinga’s presidential loss was the victim of international geopolitics that Martha Karua enthralled herself in to protect Kenya’s real estate – in short, the West did not want Martha Karua as his running mate.

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Days before the general elections, the US ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman warned Americans in Kisumu of possible riots. In a statement issued, the US Embassy in Nairobi noted that election-related demonstrations may occur, and in some instances turn out to be violent.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy has imposed movement restrictions on personnel in Kisumu. The State Department reminds US citizens of the continued need for sustained vigilance, " the statement read in part. 

[US ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman together with the Governor of Kisumu, Anyang' Nyong'. Photo/Courtesy]

At the time, the Yoweri Museveni government mutedly set up a refugee camp across the border for potential refugee flow in the event of political chaos in Kenya. The pawns on the chase board were at work.

The game, though, started as soon as Raila Odinga selected Martha Karua as his running mate. The “Iron Lady of Kenyan politics” may have appealed to the masses, but she failed to do the same with the international leaders based on her strong position to defend and protect Kenya's land during her stint at the Kibaki government. Moves that did not please the world’s superpowers.

Sit tight, we are getting somewhere.

During her short term as Kenya’s Minister for Water from 2003-2005, Hon Karua led the implementation of the Water Act 2002, by which she made bold and specific moves to protect Kenyans residing by the water catchment area for Lake Victoria.

At the time, she was quoted to have said, “This Flood Management Strategy, prepared by WMO in collaboration with Kenyan experts and in consultation with various ministries and departments will be extended to the whole country and adopted to give sustainability to water resources development projects and empower the nation to withstand flood hazards in the Lake Victoria Basin.”

Hang in there. The Raila loss is coming. It was at that time that the National Water Master Plan identified Lake Victoria and its rivers as potential sources of water for a dam that would irrigate 180,000 hectares. Taking Lake Victoria’s waters to irrigate its more marginal areas. An idea that did not sit well with the Western Countries.

In 1929, the British colonial government which considered Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, and Egypt as their protectorate, signed an agreement regarding the utilization of the waters of the Nile River —Britain was supposedly representing its colonies in the Nile River Basin. No one else should touch the waters of the Nile or her catchment area in any significant way. Not even Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Eritrea, or DRC!

How does the West come in? You may ask. Hold on a little longer.

You see, linking the Middle East and North Africa, Egypt has long been an epicenter of the Arab world, geographically, culturally, and politically. In regard to the Arab world and Israel, whenever Egypt sneezed, the entire region got a cold. To end the protracted Arab-Israel conflict… or minimize it, US President, Jimmy Carter galvanized the West to push for a peace deal between Israel and Egypt under the Abraham Accord.

Since the Abraham Accord, the West would do anything to maintain the balance in favor of both Israel and Egypt. Be it turning a blind eye to the abuse of democracy in Egypt or siding with the country against any real or imagined enemies.

Back to Martha Karua. But before we talk Karua, let us talk Ethiopia. Years before the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Emperor Haile Selassie had the same dream that contributed to a coup that led to his death.

So, when the Iron Lady embraced Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi, who had reinvigorated Haile Selassie’s dream, she showed up on the Egyptian radar and that of the West. She was a marked lady.

[The GERD during the 2nd filling. Photo/Courtesy]

It may be worth remembering that when Zenawi’s successor, Hailemariam Desalegn started the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the project drew interest from many parts of the world. Egypt threatened to bomb the dam. An American prisoner was released from Iran. The US eased its diplomatic relationship with Sudan. Sudan, which initially supported the Dam, opposed it and so much more.

Despite the many benefits of the dam to the Ethiopian people, Hailemariam Desalegn was pushed out of office to attorn for his sins and as a warning to the rest of the signatories of the 1929 agreement. He was succeeded by little-known, Abiy Ahmed as prime minister in 2018, who curiously a year later was named the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Some argue that Abiy was awarded the prize as a peace offering to have him slow down the construction of GERD. When he was unable to stop the speed of completion and filling up the dam, the ongoing civil war broke out in his country.

While all this was going on, Raila Odinga selected Martha Karua as his running mate. Much as Kenyans know Karua to be strongly principled, the West knows the fact, and it does not forget and does not take chances.

[Azimio la Umoja Leader, Raila Odinga and Hon. Martha Karua. Photo/Courtesy]

Despite the fact that the West preferred Raila Odinga to William Ruto as better for Kenya, Karua would inject imbalance in the geopolitics. She was persona-non-grata.

Therefore, Raila choosing Martha Karua as his running mate was a threat to the agreement signed between Great Britain and Egypt, which was favored over other riparian countries including Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia – who had no say in it.

Being the second most powerful individual in the country means she could pick up all her unfinished projects and see them to fruition, among them the construction of a dam that would have Lake Victoria as its source, reducing the flow feeding the Nile River.

Great Britain and other Western Countries could not watch as that happens. With all the geopolitics in play, Karua and her tenacity were a threat too great to be ignored. In 2016, Hon Martha Karua was honored as water ambassador by the Water and Irrigation Ministry for relentlessly leading water sector reforms.

All that considered, it is safe to say Kenya’s 2022 general elections weren’t just the politics of the numbers but much more was put into play too. The iron lady, arguably cost Hon Raila Odinga, his chance to clinch the presidency of Kenya.

In short, Raila Amolo Odinga could not be president because his running mate Martha Karua had tried to protect Kenyans and their land.

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