Gaddafi’s influence in Kenya
The soul of the former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi roams inside Kenya even in death as it did in life.
Known as a monster to many, the late Libyan leader had dozens of friends in the Kenyan political circles and further deep inside Government.
Sources inside Government revealed how the Tripoli government under Col Gaddafi funded the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) campaigns with millions of dollars in the 2002 General Elections, which led to the defeat of the then ruling party, Kanu.
Narc agents crisscrossed Africa for funds and Tripoli then appeared to have heeded their offer to roll out campaign cash in exchange for investment support.
And in 2007, the Gaddafi government chipped in again, oiling the ODM and the PNU campaign kitties in anticipation for investment deals after elections.
Former ODM Treasurer Omingo Magara admitted that there were talks of Libyan funding being channeled into party presidential campaign, but the money never came through the party structures.
"There was talk that Gaddafi sent some money but as the ODM treasurer I never saw any, they were channeled into individuals pockets," Magara told The Standard On Saturday.
He said that most heads of states, international personalities or governments engaging in election financing prefer dealing directly with the candidates for full recognition.
Magara said to his knowledge, the only money received to fund Raila’s campaign came through the Kenyan Diaspora in the US.
On the PNU side eyebrows were raised after a team of ministers travelled to Tripoli ahead of the 2007 General Elections in what is believed to have culminated in a deal with the despot on the Grand Regency Hotel, now Laico Regency, to Libya Arab Investment Company.
But nominated MP George Nyamweya denies that the deal was an election funding plan for the PNU candidate, President Kibaki.
The legislator further denied knowledge of any kickbacks received in the process of the deal, which led to the controversial sale of the hotel in 2008, just months after the elections.
"Libyan government was negotiating for investments in Kenya like any other government. Anyway since I was not handling the PNU campaign cash I may not know if any money came from Tripoli," Nyamweya said.
Even as the world leaders disparaged him in death, a group of Kenyans who met him in life had a different opinion of the man who ruled the oil rich nation of Libya with an iron fist since 1969.
Just before trouble rocked Tripoli early in January, Gaddafi met a group of 130 elders from different communities in Kenya in the Libyan capital.
The meeting followed others held with 4,800 elders in 2009 and another with 5,000 elders last year, in which the dictator discussed how to rally Africans.
Gaddafi, who understood every English word but hated the Western culture with a passion, was on lifelong strike against any Western language. He spoke Arabic to his foreign guests who relied on translators.
Luo Council of Elders member Mzee Meshack Ogallo yesterday described Gaddafi as "a man and half".
"He was a man of great humility who steered his country to great economic heights, who reduced poverty, and who was in a mission to spread the same values across Africa, I mourn his death," Ogallo said.
Mzee Ogallo, who met Gaddafi three times, described him as a philanthropic leader who loved his guests and offered them memorable treatment.
"I was in Tripoli three times to meet him. Every time we were there, he gave us proper facilitation. He paid our air tickets, accommodation, and still gave each of $1,000 (about Sh100,000) pocket money," Ogallo states.
In their last visit to Tripoli before hell broke loose early in the year, Gaddafi promised to construct 42 cultural centres in Kenya for all communities.
"We agreed with him that he would finance the construction of cultural centres for all the Kenyan communities where the elders would operate," said Mzee Ogallo.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka is the last Kenyan leader to have visited Col Gaddafi.
Nominated MP Mohamed Affey, who accompanied Kalonzo to Tripoli on the trip, described Gaddafi’s killing as foul and excessively brutal.
"I condemn the humiliating manner he was executed. In my view other alternatives should have been explored to punish him," Affey said.
Affey confirmed that they were among the last Kenyans to meet Gaddafi publicly adding that during their meeting in the suburbs of Tripoli, at one of the slain leader’s farms, they discussed political issues.
"We did not go there to ask for funding and therefore we cannot say we saw his generosity, but we went there to lobby against the International Criminal Court cases for which he promised support. I found him someone amiable who often cracked jokes. His hate for Western domination was apparent," Affey said.
According to Affey, the man was a lover of animals who reared hundreds of camels.