Former Prime Minister and Nasa leader Raila Odinga last week traveled to London for a few days. The official purpose of his visit was to give a public lecture at Chatham House, but Jubilee has refused to buy into that explanation.
While giving his lecture, his most widely discussed statement is where he called on the international community to intervene and help Kenya get out of the current crisis, as it did in 2007. Uhuru and Ruto have interpreted this to mean Raila is looking for ‘nusu mkate’, and have categorically repeated that it won’t happen. Speaking in various campaign rallies this weekend, the Jubilee leaders said that Kenya has no crisis and the occasionally violent demonstrations being witnessed in certain parts of the country can only be stopped by Raila.
Back to Raila’s trip to London, the Nasa leader met a few individuals while there. He was keen to post pictures of his meetings on social media. Among them was Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rory Stewart – UK Minister of State for Africa, and former UN Deputy Secretary General, Lord Mark Malloch Brown.
It is his meeting with Lord Malloch that has raised eyebrows.
While his meetings with the UK minister for Africa and even the archbishop are understandable, many people were left wondering what role Lord Malloch plays. And soon enough, the connection was made.
On plain sight, Lord Malloch seems like a man interested in Kenya’s politics by virtue of having held the second senior-most position at the UN. But another odd and suspicious connection was unraveled.
Lord Malloch is in fact an interested party in Kenya’s politics, commercial-wise.
He is the chairman of a company by the name Smartmatic, which sells election tech. Actually, the company’s tagline is “We’re not an elections company. We’re the elections company.”
On their website, Smartmatic claims that they have processed over 3.7 billion verifiable votes, without recording a single discrepancy. Among the countries they have provided voting material are Sierra Leone, Uganda, The Philippines and even United States of America.
Just like OT Morpho, Smartmatic provides both biometric identity systems, and even voting machines.
It is these voting machines that caused quite a debate in the US last year. A few US states have reportedly used Smartmatic’s voting machines in the past, and this made a section of Americans uncomfortable, because of George Soros links.
Here in Kenya, it so happened that Smartmatic was one of the companies that bid to develop and implement the election management system and bio metric identification kits (KIEMS). IEBC eventually awarded the contract to OT Morpho.
Raila’s meeting Smartmatic owner Lord Malloch at this time is akin to what he accused Uhuru of doing, i.e. meeting Al Ghurair executives.
It is also very suspicious because one of Raila’s ‘irreducible minimums’ has been that OT Morpho must go. The Nasa leader is on record stating that several companies are ready to replace OT Morpho on a moment’s notice. Though he did not state the companies, it can now be assumed that Smartmatic was top on his list.
Raila’s ‘beef’ with OT Morpho is that they let the system be manipulated and have now refused to ‘open the server’. But the IEBC insists that the server was opened and the French company says there was no manipulation.
With Raila’s ties to a company that is in direct competition with OT Morpho, his insistence that they must be replaced raises a lot of questions.
The election management system has cost the country more than Sh6 billion for both the August 8th election and the fresh election on October 26th.
Another thing that has raised eyebrows is Lord Malloch’s link to George Soros, the controversial billionaire who greatly funds political movements in numerous countries around the world. It has long been whispered in political circles that Soros is Raila’s biggest financier.
Soros funds political causes through his foundation, Open Society, and several other affiliates.
Lord Malloch happens to sit on the board of Open Society and its affiliate the International Crisis Group, where he is actually the co-chairman.
Here in Kenya, Soros through the Open Society funds several civil society outfits, often to the tune of tens or hundreds of millions. According to this Nation report, Gladwell Otieno (Africog) and Ndung’u Wainaina are the two best known figures bankrolled by the Open Society.
It’s quite telling that both of them are openly pro-Raila and do not shy from taking on Jubilee, either in court or in the streets.
The connection between Raila and Soros was previously just rumours, but he just might have confirmed on Friday when he posted a picture of himself and Lord Malloch.