The NIS sent 15 spies to track Opposition Chief Raila Odinga’s every movement in the US and monitor his public and private meetings even tried to instal listening devices but failed.
“We are on top of virtually everything, movements … calls …SMSs,” an intelligence source told the Star in confidence.
This elaborate blanket surveillance is an indication of the jitters in the Jubilee administration and alarm that the unpredictable ex-Prime Minister might pull off an international diplomatic coup on his charm offensive in the US.
Details of the week-long spying and the high-level secret meetings between Raila and top US officials have emerged as he jets back to the country today to a hero’s welcome.
He is expected to land at 11am at JKIA.
A massive procession, a Million Supporter March, is planned, in defiance of a police ban. They are not to enter or block the airport.
“I am happy with what I have seen here and I’m happy to come back home. We have a lot of friends in the USA,” Raila tweeted yesterday.
Raila’s long-time adviser Salim Lone told the Star, “I have been with Raila on visits to the US before but there has never been such an extraordinary level of interest in him.”
The anxiety in the Jubilee administration is so intense, that spying was deemed necessary.
The Star has learnt an advance reconnaissance team was sent to Washington, DC, two days before Raila arrived. Three others accompanied Raila on his flight to the US, sitting as close as possible.
“We had our people in place prior enough. That is how we do it, it’s our business,” the highly placed intelligence officer said.
The agents, including four women, attended Raila’s open meetings and kept at close as possible to him and key associates, literally tracking them.
They were however blocked from entering private meetings and were not able to instal listening devices in advance to capture conversations, the Star was told by high-level NIS source
NIS field officers in Washington reported directly to senior officers at their Thika Road headquarters and ti statehouse operatives.
The panicked Jubilee administration is said to have been concerned Raila’s US tour was more than lectures and decided to establish his actual mission in America.
The spies had instructions to advise on every minute detail, every movement, who Raila met, when, where and what was discussed. However they failed 70% most of the time.
Raila’s America trip is part of NASA’s battle strategy against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s controversial reelection on October 26.
Signalling that Raila could have succeeded in convincing a section of the US elite was a public statement from Mark Bellamy, former Africa director at the State Department and former Ambassador to Kenya.
Bellamy, a pillar of the Washington establishment, said many Kenyans do not accept the legitimacy of Uhuru’s reelection.
“Kenya is in political disarray. A sizable portion of Kenyans doesn’t accept the legitimacy of the 26 October election and a third election does not offer a way out of this crisis,” Bellamy said. “‘Moving on’, as some demand, could make the problem worse. Kenyans have shown that they do not accept authoritarianism or strongman rule prevailing in many parts of Africa.”
The diplomat concluded that “there is no answer to the current crisis without the strong imprint of Raila Odinga.”