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.
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.
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.
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?