Opposition: New Kenya Vote
â€œWe want new elections not a recount because they have already messed up the register significantly,â€? Nyongo said, referring to the list of voters. â€œWe want an independent mediator to ensure that an independent electoral commission is in place under the supervision of international mediators and a commission that will competently run the elections.â€?
Kenya’s opposition party leaders will tell a top US diplomat that fresh elections, not a recount, are the only way to resolve the country’s crisis following last week’s disputed vote, a senior party leader told The Black Star News today.
In a telephone interview from Nairobi, Prof. Anyang Nyong'o, secretary general of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which says it unseated the incumbent Mwai Kibaki last Thursday, said new elections should be held within three months.
“We want new elections not a recount because they have already messed up the register significantly,” Nyong'o said, referring to the list of voters. “We want an independent mediator to ensure that an independent electoral commission is in place under the supervision of international mediators and a commission that will competently run the elections.”
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer arrives in Nairobi tomorrow to try and help the opposition party led by Raila Odinga and Kibaki defuse the crisis.
Riots and protests erupted when Kibaki hastily had himself sworn in last Sunday; an estimated 300 people have been killed and tens of thousands displaced.
Nyong'o said after the U.S. realized it had been misled it "did the honorable thing" and retracted the congratulations initially sent to Kibaki by the State Department. He said at that time Kibaki should have done the right thing and recounced his swearing in. The only president known to be on record congratulating Kibaki is Uganda's Yoweri Museveni; ironically, the opposition in Uganda in 2006 accused him of stealing elections there.
Prof. Nyong’o said three months is a realistic timeline considering that’s how long it took for the presidential election run off in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a country with even more logistical and organizational obstacles.
The ODM official also said an Odinga government’s priority would include constitutional reform “to make this country much more democratic and much more dynamic.” He said since independence in 1963 Kenya has only known authoritarian rule under Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and now Mwai Kibaki; these are the only presidents that have ruled.
“We are proposing a much more devolved government with powers of the presidency dispersed to various institutions within the executive and much more effective balance of power between the three branches of government, something that has not happened because of the highly authoritarian constitution,” Nyong’o said.
The party official also wanted to set the record straight in terms of what kind of economic policy the country would pursue and addressed the periodic reference to Odinga in some Western media as a former Marxist.
“But of course anybody who had opposed U.S. imperialism in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia is described as a former Marxist,” he said. “But I don’t think Mr. Odinga is a former Marxist. Mr. Odinga is a social democrat—and he’s a patriot, as I am.” Prof. Nyong’o said Odinga was also a businessman with several investments in the country. Odinga also has a company that sells cylinders all over East Africa and had just invested in a major agro-chemical plant in Kisumu, in Kenya.
"Social democracy is not opposed to capitalist development that recognizes the basic needs of the ordinary person," he added.
“Even his father the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was both a progressive and a capitalist,” Nyong’o said. The elder Odinga had been a hero of Kenyan independence and a past vice president before a falling out with the late Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president. He also wrote the classic, “Not Yet Uhuru.”
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