New documents show how the UK Government orchestrated a smear campaign against former Prime Minister Raila Odinga's father Jaramogi, costing him power.
A report by the Guardian on Sunday, August 7, indicated that the three-year campaign later drove a wedge between Jaramogi - who was the Vice President - and his boss President Jomo Kenyatta, the father to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The smear campaign was concocted by the Information Research Department (IRD), the propaganda arm of the UK Foreign Office.
At the time, the Brits preferred Jomo who they saw as pro-European while cast Odinga as a leader willing to work with the communists.Former President Jomo Kenyatta. In the late 1930's he once worked at a night club in Manchester.Daily Nation
One of the operations kicked off in 1965 with reports of pamphlets being circulated originating from People’s Front of East Africa.
Initially, the report which appeared in a UK publication seemed to side with the then DP. It called the founding President a 'reactionary, fascist and dishonest.'
The document, which enjoyed a lot of coverage locally, however, was aimed to make people think that Odinga was more open to working with the Communist bloc as well as the Soviet union.
“It clearly shows that Odinga was considered the main threat to British interests, and the lengths to which the British were willing to go in order to smear him," Dr Poppy Cullen, a historian, told the publication.
A year earlier, Odinga had reported that he was increasingly receiving poor coverage mostly in the British press, framed to appear as though he was making a plot to overthrow Mzee.
In 1964, another document had surfaced painting Odinga as a tool for Chinese and more documents totaling 37 were released in just nine years.
During the attacks, Jomo was also said to have grown wary of his DP and accused him of planning a coup at some point but a raid at his home never revealed any evidence to that effect.
"Mr Odinga and his associates may attempt some kind of armed or other action to seize power," the documents attributed the quote to Jomo.
At the height of the propaganda, Odinga then stepped down to launch his own party aimed at challenging Kenya African National Union (KANU) that was preferred by the ruling class. The party, the Kenya People’s Union (KPU), was quickly shut down and its members imprisoned.Kenya's former Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.Filearmed armed
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