TransAfrica Calls For Kenya Dialogue
During national ballot counting, numerous irregularities were identified. According to Kenyaâ€™s human rights community, the election results are clearly invalid.
[Africa News Update: Kenya]
TransAfrica Forum urges all political parties and Kenyan civil society to call an end to the violence and enter into good faith negotiations to resolve the controversy over the December 2007 presidential elections.
Under the independent leadership of the African Union or other African based organizations or individuals, TransAfrica calls for all parties to commit themselves to implementing the will of the Kenyan people.
The well-stated will of the Kenyan people would be reflected in an accurate count of the election ballots through an immediate independent audit of the election results, or internationally supported new elections.
By all accounts, including the European Union, Kenyan human rights organizations, and civil society groups, the process leading to the December 27th elections was orderly and consistent with the law.
Polls opened on time, voting materials were in place, and election observers witnessed a large turnout. During national ballot counting, numerous irregularities were identified.
According to Kenya’s human rights community, the election results are clearly invalid.
The Kibaki government disputes the charges of illegitimacy and has moved to install new cabinet members. These actions seem to indicate a belief that once in place neither he nor key supporters will be displaced and key decisions will not be reversed. “The strategy to establish a government in the midst of unresolved election irregularities is a blatant attempt to create a pretense of legality and legitimacy. The Kibaki government must respect the rule of law and human rights and welcome a truly independent audit of the election results,” says Executive Director Nicole Lee.
The violence that has erupted has, according to analysts, “shattered Kenya’s international image,” undermined the economy, displaced over 250,000 people, and cost the lives of nearly 600 people. The possibility of continued violence remains unless all parties are willing to submit themselves to the will of the Kenyan people, whom they claim to represent.
The world view of the conflict in Kenya is worsened by western media coverage which over simplifies a very complex situation by calling it ‘tribal’ warfare. “The violence has ethnic overtones, but the deep disappointment with the voting irregularities is felt throughout Kenyan society. The reality is that the pre-conditions for violence have been present in Kenya for a long time. Extreme income inequality, high crime, particularly in urban areas, high unemployment, and food insecurity, are all predictors of conflict,” says Imani Countess, TransAfrica Forum Senior Director for Public Affairs.
“Kenyans had high expectations that their votes would be respected; the extreme disappointment has led to spontaneous political unrest.”TransAfrica Forum has historically criticized the Kibaki government for its complicity in U.S. government renditions in violation of human rights, as well as its support for the U.S.-backed Ethiopian war in Somalia. The ongoing Somalian conflict has further destabilized the region and resulted in large numbers of refugees and displaced persons throughout the Horn of Africa.
Immediate resolution of the crisis is also required given Kenya’s role as a gateway to other Central African nations. Shortages of food, fuel and other supplies are being reported in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Founded in 1977, TransAfrica Forum is the oldest and largest African American human rights and social justice advocacy organization promoting diversity and equity in the foreign policy arena and justice for the African World. www.transafricaforum.org