THE electoral commission of Kenya declared a winner in the country's bitterly fought presidential election on Sunday December 30th: the sitting president, Mwai Kibaki, was returned to power. The voting three days earlier had been impressively orderly and peaceful, raising hopes of a brighter future for Kenyan democracy. But the tallying process was a much darker story, with heavy suspicion of vote rigging and subsequent fears that serious violence could strike the country.Sound familiar?
No one disputes that the opposition Orange Democratic Movement swept aside government parties in the parliamentary vote. Most of the ministers in the cabinet of Mr Kibaki lost their seats to Oranges, including the vice-president, foreign minister, and defence minister, and a number of previously unassailable and wealthy MPs.
And yet the same disgruntled voters apparently gave 76-year-old Mr Kibaki strong support in the presidential vote. The final tally, according to the electoral commission, handed Mr Kibaki 4.58m voters to 4.35m for the firebrand opposition candidate, Raila Odinga. Mr Odinga's supporters had earlier stated that he had won, suggesting a lead of some 500,000 votes. He claimed that the electoral commission was “being forced to declare wrong results” and called on its leaders to resign rather than plunge the country into chaos. The consequence of failing to recognise a “fair result”, he threatened, could be civil war.
Polls had indicated that the presidential election was going to be close. It was the manner in which Mr Kibaki crept up on Mr Odinga's solid lead that raised suspicions. Why, for instance, were votes from the president's loyal Kikuyu highlands of central Kenya held back to the end of the counting? Why had so many returning officers there gone missing, along with their results? Mr Kibaki, himself a Kikuyu, was expected to have overwhelming support from his kinsmen, but 98% looked excessive.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Is Kenya Regressing to the Moi Era?
It seems last week's Kenya's elections have gone the way of Ethiopia's botched 2005 elections. The Economist has this to say about the election:
Posted by enset at 10:44 AM