Kenya Elections: Stay Out USA!

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[Black Star News Editorial]

The Bush Administration has once again embarrassed this country with its hasty decision today congratulating Kenya's Mwai Kibaki on his "victory" in Thursday’s presidential election in the East African country, when, in fact, Kibaki may not have won.

Beginning Friday when results of the voting began to emerge, challenger Raila Odinga, built a huge lead with some early estimates from various monitoring groups in Kenya and television stations showing a daunting gap against incumbent Kibaki.

Most significantly, Kenyans seem to have wanted a change from the old guard. Kibaki, a former finance and economic development minister and a former vice president in past Kenya regimes belongs to Kenya's past.

Even though he gained wide praise as the titular head of the coalition that defeated long-time dictator Daniel Arap Moi in the last elections, and he's credited with growing the economy and providing capital to small scale businesses, Kibaki failed to deliver on a critical issue--fighting corruption with vigor.

Moreover, Kibaki proved he was a man with no principles when, realizing that Odinga had built a lead in pre-election polls, the incumbent recruited the discredited Moi to campaign on his behalf, notwithstanding the fact that Moi is believed to have embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars. At 76, Kibaki should have followed the Mandela example and not even run again; then again the South African hero's shoes are quite large.

Kenyans showed several pro-Kibaki members of parliament the door--the Vice president, and several powerful ministers, including those of defense, foreign affairs, information and health, were not returned to the legislator.

The trend seemed to be consistent when estimates from all announced sources showed Presidential challenger Odinga seemingly on his way to victory.

Then funny things began to happen. The smooth flow of election returns shut down. The opposition cried foul. Rioting started in some opposition strongholds when Odinga supporters began to suspect the fix was in. Then the count was temporarily halted.

When the count resumed, Kibaki was catching up--then he was in the lead, then he was the "victor" and within minutes of that announcement, Kibaki was sworn in even as the opposition claimed inconsistencies in the election results compared with tallies.

At the very least, Odinga's claims need to be reviewed by Kenya's electoral body and a recount considered.

The United States, which itself went through a painful but necessary process when Bush ran for the first time against Al Gore--should be the last country in the world to rush to judgment with respect to Kenya's elections, by pre-empting a possible review with the congratulations to Kibaki.

In the Bush/Gore case, the process took weeks, resulting in some recounts, though halted prematurely. Even though many remain convinced that Gore was the winner, there was a process that the US went through before Bush was declared victor.

Fortunately, the whole world recalls the U.S.'s sorry experience---Bush and Kibaki should not have the last word on Kenya's elections.

Consider that the Chief Observer of the EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, who is also a Member of the European Parliament, while commending "Kenyan citizens for the strong commitment to peace and democracy that they showed on election day" nonetheless notes, referring to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), "With a view to the presidential elections, however, we believe that, at this time, the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), despite the best efforts of its chairman, Mr. Samuel Kivuitu, has not succeeded in establishing the credibility of the tallying process to the satisfaction of all parties and candidates. We regret that it has not been possible to address irregularities about which both the EU EOM and the ECK have evidence. The result for the Molo constituency, for example, was announced in the presence of EU EOM Observers at the constituency tally centre as 50,145 votes for President Kibaki, while the ECK today declared the result for the President to be 75,261 votes. Because of this and other irregularities, some doubt remains as to the accuracy of the result of the presidential election as announced today."

Meanwhile, Kibaki's regime has now proclaimed a ban on all live news casts. The New York-based Committee To Protect Journalists in a statement said,  “We are deeply concerned that the government’s blanket restrictions on live media coverage will deprive Kenyans of critical information during an important political milestone in the country’s history. All news coverage at the top of the hour is aired live in Kenya; a ban on live broadcasts induces a dangerous flurry of rumors and speculations.”

Kenya's citizens have acted admirably in the run up and in the elections, not withstanding the unfortunate public disturbances that have followed.

Now, for legitimacy of the government that results from the elections to gain, and for the sake of stability, the irregularities need be reviewed by the proper organs.

It's not up to George Bush to tell Kenyans who won their elections.

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Reader's Reaction:

Odinga Didn't Win

By Harry Mwangi

It's a pity that the west was set for a Kibaki exit and are determined to label him a dictator and the next Mugabe. It's worth noting that there were irregularities especially on the oposition side  with numerous  dead voters turning up to vote.

Quick facts about Kenya. Raila Odinga is a confessed Marxist and the Organizer of the 1982 Coup in kenya where hundreds died and thousands of Kikuyu lost their jobs in the armed forces and jailed who had nothing to do with the coup.

The following ODM constituencies seem to have recorded unusually high voter turnouts: Sigor 115%; Eldoret North 116% -  MP elect William Ruto ..ODM Pentagon Member; Mosop 97%; Emgwen 103%; Baringo North 92%; Narok South 120% - MP Elect William Ole Ntimama advocate for ethnic clashes under Moi; Bondo 102% - MP Elect Oburu Odinga - Raila Odinga's Brother; Kisumu Rural 102% - MP Elect Prof Anyang Nyongo ODM Secretary General; Karachuonyo 94%; Rangwe 92%; Nyatike 95%; Mbita 95%; (Source ECK.

It is no wonder that the loosing team doesn't want to pursue any matters in court because they don't seem to have a leg to stand on.

By ensuring that Nyanza and Rift Valley province results early and gaining a lead does not mean that you have won the final tally. He won the minds and imaginations of everyone by having an insurmountable lead. He know that should there be recount he will loose his credibility and the count.

As the leader of opposition and 3 seats shy of a house majority he should concentrate on delivering his promise to the people through creative bills and taking all the credit.

The highest voter turnout in Kibakis strongholds was Othaya his own constituency with 90% voter turnout...


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