By 1990 the world was changing rapidly.
With the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 the global divide between communist East and capitalist West, finally broke down.
Three months later Nelson Mandela was released from 27 years in prison as South Africa’s apartheid regime began to crumble.
From the late 1980’s Kenyans themselves had been agitating for multi-party democracy.
Prof. Nic Cheeseman… for me 1988 is a key turning point in Kenyan history that’s when Moi and Kanu rigged the one party elections.
In 88 Moi rigged out some of Kanu’s biggest players, some of their most legitimate leaders who spoke to communities that Moi couldn’t reach.
People like Kenneth Matiba, people like Charles Rubia, responded by leaving Kanu and launching the campaign for multi-party politics.
So I think 1988 is a really crucial date. That’s when we see the beginning of mass opposition, a really effective multiparty movement, that’s when we see also Moi really clamping down, and that’s when donors come in and say, “hang on a minute, we can’t continue giving money to someone who is willing to commit those kind of atrocities in order to say in power”. And that’s the point I think that the tide really starts to turn.
Muite: And that is when now there was a wind of change, that is when we started getting a sympathetic hearing and of course by sheer coincidence and we had people like Smith Hemstone who was the American ambassador to Nairobi, right wing republican but very very decisive in speaking, very forcefully now that in cold war the United States government was interested all of a sudden in promoting human rights.
But President Moi could at least rely on the eloquent Dr Robert Ouko to defend the Kanu government against the calls for change.
Muite: One of the best advocates in the Moi regime was Dr. Ouko. And he had just come back from I think Norway where he had performed very well in making the best of a bad situation defending this government about the torture that was going on…
Ouko: Norway speech clip “Yesterday there was an article in the press in Norway which says, ‘according to Amnesty International there are still in detention fifty political detainees’. And let me tell you ladies and gentlemen of the press that in simple language is called a lie”.