Dick Morris, an American political consultant who worked with the Bill Clinton 1996 re-election recently caused a mini stir in Kenya.
He arrived in Kenya and was unveiled by an opposition leader, Raila Odinga, who is the fore runner in the Kenyan presidential elections that will be held on 27 December 2007. But Morris appears to have left the country a day later, leaving behind varied comments on his role and possible impact on the upcoming elections.
The blog Somewhere in Africa in a post titled “ Old political hacks don't die” notes that;
Morris working prop bono (without pay) is a clever way of avoiding having to secure a work permit in Kenya, which, as I can tell you from experience, is perhaps only marginally less complicated and time-consuming than contesting the presidency.
And adds that;
The campaign of Kenyan president aspirant Raila Odinga could be Morris's greatest political challenge yet. It's almost unheard of for an incumbent head of state to be unseated in an election in Africa, although Raila is leading most pre-election polls.
In a somewhat related post at the same time Where the African woman Thinks, laments the treatment of Kenyan authorities of a fellow African (from Senegal) and asks why it is so difficult for Africans to travel and do business with other African countries
The blog,A Nairobian’s perspective, highlights Morris’ past tax troubles and notes that the Kenya Government made it clear that he was not welcome in Kenya.
The President Mwai Kibaki did not fail to mention that Dick Morris had been misguided by the opposition and that he would be of no consequence in the elections while The Government spokesman, Alfred Mutua, mentioned that Morris risked facing deportation as he had visited the country on a tourist visa and had no valid work permit as a political strategist.
The Morris debate takes on a racial, colonial angle at Kenya Stockholm Blog where Okoth Osewe draws a parallel to Kenya's own embassy in Sweden where he says non Kenyan (whites) occupy senior posts as translator, accounts assistant, and local head of the kenya tourist board – jobs that could be handled by Kenyans.
He notes that:
Kenyans in Stockholm (are) crying wolf – they are well aware that at the Kenyan embassy in Stockholm, white Swedish nationals are occupying sensitive positions, not because there are no Kenyans who can take up their jobs but because the Kibaki government has decided to retain them at the Embassy after they were hired by the former dictatorship of Daniel arap Moi. Dick Morris bashers have never raised a finger at these foreign and white Embassy staff who continue to swagger along Embassy corridors like neo-colonial conquistadors who are there to stay.
Morris will work for almost anyone. His presence in the party as an advisor shows either a desire to inaugurate a campaign of dirty tricks or that we are being taken over from the outside by unknown forces.
Comments to that post included;
Raila is panicking, and that can only mean he is fully aware of his slipping fortunes. No one in the USA would have him (Morris) work on their campaign, do you hear?
I'm in shock to see racist-veneer comments from elites who may have benefited from foreign academic or working sabbaticals BUT have the audacity to come here and play that ukabila/rascist card. Global talent, be it political-economic-technological, etc is always mobile.
believe NARC saw it fit to rely on South African strategists in the 2002 election and wonders if Morris strengths as a media consultant, with a penchant for negative advertising, work in Kenya? We shall see.
why Dick Morris is working ‘pro bono’ in Kenya when he has no known interests is one any Kenyan should ask themselves. Why do we still think that foreigners know what's best for us or even, God forbid that they have our best interests at heart.
And by the way, there is a second consultant ain't sure but I think he's from Argentina, why aren't we focusing on him?
Both Dick Morris and Dick Berg emanate from the same axis, political and economic hit men; there is a tendency among the colonized peoples to suffer from inferior complex complexes.
Kibaki Camp running for re-election and blasting the “voluntary services” of a foreign political strategist and he completely forgot that in 2002 he himself hired a foreigner as a political strategist on communications.
The man was MARCUS COURAGE and he co-led Kibaki's campaign adverts, policy formulation and communications.