life has to go on

Although many people are not happy with the results of Kenya’s presidential elections, it is important that Kenyans realise the need to move on as one country. Kenya still remains a largely poor, sick and ignorant country and this calls for an urgent focus on development issues as opposed to perennial politicking.

Clearly the election results did not represent the wishes of the Kenyan people but the fact of the matter is that president Kibaki is the constitutionally recognised leader of the Republic of Kenya. The opposition however, have a right to and indeed ought to seek redress in the courts or even vote the government out of power in parliament through a motion of no confidence.

My insistence is that everything should be done in a lawful manner in order to enable a return to normalcy in the coming year.

Hurried swearing in fishy

Less than an hour after he was declared the winner of this year’s general election, President Mwai Kibaki was hurriedly sworn in at State House Nairobi. The Chief Justice and the Attorney General were present to conduct the ceremony.

The hurried manner in which the swearing in was done makes the whole process suspicious. The president ought to have taken time to calm down tensions and engage the opposition in dialogue and then honor Kenyans for re-electing him by granting them a proper state ceremony.

The sneak swearing in therefore only serves to confirm the president’s and his handlers’ fear that they do not have the mandate to govern. This is indeed a sad day for Kenya. It is yet again a case of an African country failing to hold free and fair elections. The stories of “tribal clashes” in Kenya being aired by the CNNs and Reuters of this world are just a reminder of how stuck in the past Africa still is. This is a big blow to Africa’s self esteem – when open rigging is witnessed and condoned in one its most fledgling democracies.

I hope Kenyans will not use violent means to express their discontent. I hope that the president will move quickly to reconcile the country. I hope that the opposition will act responsibly and desist from making any inflammatory remarks. I hope sanity will prevail.

official results: Kibaki wins a second term

The electoral commission of Kenya has just announced the results of this year’s general elections. In the end it turned out not to be the close race that most people expected. The president won by over 200,000 votes.

It remains uncertain what the main opposition group, led by Raila Odinga, win do in light of this announcement. Raila had earlier already declared himself the winner and urged the president to concede defeat.

Tensions remain high throughout the country even as the visibly tired Kivuiu is making the announcement on KBC, the government run national broadcaster.

tension remains high in kenya

There is high tension in Kenya following the delay in the announcement of the winner of the country’s just concluded general election. The electoral commission had earlier on canceled the tallying of results after irregularities were found in a number of constituencies.  The opposition leader has urged the president to concede in light of the fact that nearly 20 of his cabinet ministers were voted out and the opposition’s win of over half of the seats in parliament.

The president’s main challenger claimed victory and gave a rather alarming warning that Kenya could degenerate into the Ivory Coast, a country dubbed as “West Africa’s Kenya” but that was plunged into civil war after disputed elections.  It is indeed a very crucial moment in Kenya’s history. This far this country has been one of the most stable on the continent and was seen by many as a model of democracy and progressive governance.

It is also unfortunate that the president has remained quiet over the last three days even as chaos were being reported in various parts of the country. This is a sad moment in Kenya’s history, and yet another setback in the continent’s match towards transparent, liberal democratic governance.

a sad ending to a flawless process

Although this year’s general elections Kenya were billed as the closest in the country’s history, many observers noted that the voting was largely conducted in a free and fair manner. Nearly all polling stations across the country opened on time and had voting go on uninterrupted by violence or intimidation as was the fear of some. Both observers and contestants acknowledged that the elections qualified to be termed as free and fair.

But trouble started when towards the end fishy results started being announced at the election HQs in Nairobi. Most of the anomalies were reported in areas that are known to be pro the incumbent. This fact was aptly demonstrated by the fact that in one constituency in the president’s province, the number of votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters. It therefore came as no surprise that when the same areas started showing results with voter turn outs close to 100% the opposition party got up in arms and started to demand for an explanation as to what was going on.

As this was happening, news reached various parts of the country which inevitably resulted in idle youths and those concerned over the evident rigging taking to the streets in protest. As happens with most political demonstrations against the government in Kenya, police were sent in to disperse the crowds and the resulting chaos led to further violence, confusion and looting of property.

In the end the electoral commission suspended all tallying of votes for the night until tomorrow morning when they will review the results from all 210 constituencies.

It is quite frustrating that after the peaceful campaigning and the very high voter turn out the elections should end on such a sour note. The president’s men should know better than to rig elections, especially this one since it was known to be very close. Now because of Maragwa and other areas the opposition will not accept the outcome if indeed it emerges that the president won. And to some extent their discontent will be justified.

A government victory in this election would not have been eyed with this much suspicion had it not engaged in open rigging as has been observed. In its attempts to assure itself a safe victory, the government has only managed to stoke the fires of suspicion across the nation. This fact has been further exacerbated by the fact that the president’s party won just about a third of the parliamentary seats won by the main opposition party. So even if the government gets away with the irregularities, it is still going to find a hard time passing legislation in parliament because of its lack of a majority.

As Kenya holds its breath one can only hope that the electoral commission will try and be as fair as possible. It is no secret that the integrity of the outcome of this year’s election has already been soiled. What we now hope for is that the ECK will do a great job in damage control so that the final results most accurately approximate the wishes of the Kenyan people.

heckling at KICC

Maragua has registered more votes cast than registered. A very worrying trend. 115% was reported, way above the number of registered voters.

Kivuitu looks very frustrated right now. There still are a number of polling centres that have not yet reported their results – especially in Central province. This is again a very disturbing development. This is a recipe for chaos. The KICC is turning into a shouting arena.

The ECK has suspended all activities until tomorrow morning (Kenyan time). Meanwhile tension is high all over the country. KBC just aired alarmist remarks by people running around causing chaos. KBC should sanitise some of this stuff before it appears on national television. Whoever is edited that report should be fired.

rioters demand for results

News by Nation confirms that rioting has begun in certain parts of the country as voters continue to demand for release of the results of the presidential vote in the just concluded general elections. Official ECK numbers from 159 constituencies show Raila leading with 3.7 vs Kibaki’s 3.4. This still remains a very close race and could go either way depending on the results coming in from the remaining constituencies.

The remaining areas are spread across the country in both ODM and PNU dominated areas. Meru district, parts of coast, Nyanza and Rift valley have not yet sent results and Kivuitu has expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation.

ODM has over 90 confirmed parliamentary seats. PNU has just over 30. Very worrying trend for the Kibaki campaign team since even if they win they are going to have a really hard time in parliament. ODM on the other hand seems to be itching to celebrate what they consider as an historic victory against an incumbent.

The ECK commissioners are having a meeting to chart the way forward. Kivuitu threatened to exclude the areas that had refused to send results by the time he addressed the press conference at about 11.30 am EAT.

I hope this ends well and that the rioting remains isolated in rural towns and does not spread to more populous towns. This was a clean election and the conclusion ought to be just as clean.

tension high in nairobi as eck delays announcement of results

I just called home and my contacts tell me that there is increasing tension in the capital as the ECK continues to delay the announcement of presidential results. This is most acute in Eastlands where many youth have already started taking to the streets to protest what they see as an attempt by the government to rig the polls, especially the numbers coming out of PNU strongholds.

These are all unconfirmed rumors though. The real culprit is the ECK. They have done a great job so far and it is a shame that they are delaying in the tallying of results.

This is a worrying development. The last thing Kenya needs is rioting in the streets of the capital at a time when there is high tension among the members of both PNU and ODM. KBC is saying that Raila Odinga and his running mate Mudavadi are about to make press statements.

Unconfirmed rumors: Moi in hospital? and I also hear that Kibaki was down with fatigue? Any confirmation of this?

More to come soon……

anxiety as kenya awaits election results

It almost 36 hours after the official closing of polling stations across the country but Kenyans still do not know who will be their next president for the next 5 years. As things start the presidential race is still up in the air with Raila leading president Kibaki with just over two hundred thousand votes. Most of the votes in Central province and Rift Valley have been counted. The deciding votes, it seems, will come from Coast, Nairobi and the rest of Nyanza (mostly Luo Nyanza) that have not been counted yet.

The ECK is really underperforming right now. Its been 36 hours! How hard can it be to call Nairobi and inform the commissioners the outcome of results. It is also a shame that most of the delay is happening right under the commission’s nose in Nairobi. There have been allegations of rigging in various constituencies in Nairobi, by both PNU and ODM  candidates.

Mars Group gives Raila a lead of 3.8 m vs. Kibaki’s 3.4. Kalonzo is finally having a decent showing with about 8% of the national vote. This is still too close to call. It’s all wait and see. It’s about 6 am. in Kenya and everyone back there must be quite on edge right now after having waited for so long for the final results. I can only imagine what Kibaki and Raila and their families, friends and respective supporters are going through right now.

parliamentary results

The parliamentary results so far in are overwhelmingly in favor of ODM. PNU has had a very poor show for a president’s party – a further sign of all the weaknesses I kept pointing out (in other fora) during the campaigns. PNU candidates lost to DP, Safina, Ford People, among other parties in central Kenya. ODM has a an almost clean sweep in Nyanza and put up a strong show in Rift Valley and Western – where many of Kibaki’s cabinate ministers lost. Coast is also leaning towards ODM.

This is a worrying phenomenon for those who care about checks and balances. There will definitely be a big void in parliamentary affairs due to the lack of a credible opposition party (if ODM wins, that is). My hope is that ODM-K gets enough votes to be able to form a strong parliamentary opposition party to keep ODM in check.

KANU seems dead and buried. And with PNU having split into a thousand parties it is unlikely that they will remain as a coalition if they find themselves in the opposition by the end of tomorrow.

Kibaki is still showing strongly in the presidential race. But this is not backed by the parliamentary results which are mostly in favor of ODM. Things look bad for the Kibaki tena team and for the spirit of democracy in the country.

All governments, whether good or bad, need a strong opposition to keep them honest and dilligent at their duty to provide public goods to all Kenyans.