Only Raila Odinga Can Give Kenyans The Future They Deserve

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Raila Odinga addressing supporters. Photo-Facebook.

[Commentary]

NAIROBI, Kenya — A win by opposition leader Raila Odinga in Kenya’s election Tuesday would fulfill the deep yearning for change that the vast majority of Kenyans have repeatedly expressed.

The current administration has lost the confidence of Kenyans, especially young people. It also seems to have been working behind the scenes to undermine the election itself.

Chris Msando was the electoral commission’s chief technology manager and was supposed to help monitor the presidential vote Tuesday.

But just over a week ago, the main opposition alliance announced it had “concrete evidence” that the ruling party planned to rig the election. The next day, Msando’s brutally tortured dead body was discovered on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Scratches and cuts covered his hands and back. “There was no doubt that he was tortured and murdered,” Wafula Chebukati, the electoral commission’s head, said of his fallen colleague. His death sparked fears of election rigging and of political violence erupting on the eve of one of the country’s most divisive elections in recent memory.

The United States and the United Kingdom quickly issued a joint statement but did not explicitly condemn the murder. But what rattled independent observers the most was this line in the statement: “We welcome the Government of Kenya’s commitment to investigating the murder.” The government, of course, is the principal suspect in Msando’s killing. Not surprisingly, it has not yet accepted the American and British offers of assistance in investigating his death.

This is one of Kenya’s most divisive elections in recent memory. Furthermore, recent documents released by the opposition revealed the government’s plans to surround and cut off power, water and electronic communication — used for voting — in Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare slums, where support for the opposition is high.

A Kenyan Army spokesman even confirmed that documents “were authentic,” albeit quoted “out of context.”

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