A Stolen Election

Sickening scenes of violence being meted out onto Kenyans are now beginning to be broadcast on BBC News24. The incumbent President Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as the returning president on the lawns of State House in front of a coterie of PNU supporters with none of the state pomp and ceremony normally accorded such momentous occasions. “I stand before you humbled and grateful for the opportunity you have given me to serve you again as your president for a second five-year term,” Kibaki said.

While only kilometres away Nairobi was erupting in flames as ODM supporters unleashed their fury as their hopes of change were dashed by the Electoral Commission of Kenya announcing Kibaki as the winner of the 2007 election. Similar angry scenes were repeated around the country. Young men waving machetes could be seen running through towns scraping and sharpening them on the tarmac in a threatening manner.

Incredibly, Kenyans at home and abroad have witnessed over the past three days an event so full of promise turn so quickly into its opposite. Only yesterday Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, had been certain of victory. There he was in the lead with a million votes between him and Kibaki. It looked too good to be true. Although there were claims of vote-rigging, it seemed impossible to reverse or overturn such a margin of victory, or so I thought.

However, Nationmedia had been publishing online official ECK results of the election which showed Odinga to be in the lead and then at 2.30 pm their poll showed the lead falling to 38,000 at this point all reporting on vote tallies stopped. What was also just as extraordinary about the new tally was that Odinga’s total votes had dropped from just over 4 million on the Nationmedia site to 3.8 million, and Kenyans were asked to swallow this, as if the earlier figures had not been official ECK totals.

Nationmedia at 2.00 p.m. (GMT) yesterday:

Kibaki: 4,009,300
Odinga: 4,356,092
Kalonzo: 452,952

Nationmedia at 2.30 p.m. (GMT) yesterday:

Kibaki: 3,842,051
Odinga: 3,880,053
Kalonzo: 452,952

The ECK suspended all further activities in a bid to cool the situation down and plan their next move. It was rumoured that Kibaki would be sworn in the next day in secrecy at 2.30 p.m. The delays in announcing the result triggered angry scenes in which innocent people were attacked, it seemed the violence was being directed at Kikuyus in general. Stories of Kikuyu businesses in Kisumu being looted and burnt to the ground began to circulate.

Today the KICC which was hosting the ECK media circus became the scene of bitter recriminations from ODM supporters who accused the commission of blatant vote-rigging and demanded a recount. GSU were called in to establish calm and some ODM supporters were led out of the building. Kivuite, the chair of the ECK, walked out of the conference room to find another more conducive to announcing the official election results. There was a news blackout at the KICC and all journalists, officials and opposition party members were forced to leave the building. Shortly afterwards, under cover of the media black-out Kivuite announced Mwai Kibaki to be the next president of Kenya. The news spread quickly via the internet and text messaging to the dismay of millions of Kenyans. Kibaki had won by 300,000 votes. That’s 300,000 fraudulent votes that have completely undermined his presidency and wiped out any legitimacy he can lay claim to.

The official ECK Results are as follows:

  • KIBAKI: 4,584,721
  • RAILA: 4,352,993
  • KALONZO: 879,903
  • The ECK chair Kivuite has delivered the election to Kibaki in one of the most cynical moves ever and has thrown down the gauntlet to Odinga and the ODM to challenge his decision in the courts. “The Electoral Commission has no jurisdiction over the issues raised. These
    are matters for the judiciary. We hope the courts would move expeditiously,” Kivuite declared, heartlessly, with no thought for the people who would be killed within 15 minutes of this historic declaration and within a few kilometres of where he made this statement. Hope destroyed.

    Can justice be delivered in courts stuffed full of Kibaki’s men? I doubt it. However, I urge Kenyans to please, please, please practise restraint and to use peaceful means to eject from office this cabal of the corrupt. It can be done. Aside from pulling supporters back from the brink of the abyss and calling for peace and calm, Odinga should push for a motion of no confidence in Kibaki’s government to be passed on the day Parliament reopens. He has the numbers to swing it.

    Kenya’s democratic institutions are too precious to be thrown away in this manner. History has shown that once they are destroyed it will be far too difficult to rebuild them. The moment gone.

    Putsch or push?


    2 Responses to “A Stolen Election”

    1. 1 Kaka Bweha January 1, 2008 at 10:12 am

      Sometimes what is reported in the height of a crisis may not always reflect the truth of the moment. I as any other peace loving Kenyan deplore the violence which continues unabated whatever the perceived grievance. Truth be said, there are very many untruths which have been quoted and repeated even in on this blog regarding the results or of the election.

      So in contrast, I would also like to castigate the opposition leaders for not doing the honorable thing soon enough by not urging their support to shun violence. The sad truth is that most of the violence has affected those within the so called opposition strong holds and at worst the poorest who can least afford to be in this situation.

      Kenyan Patriot.

    2. 2 athenaeum January 1, 2008 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks for your comments Kenyan Patriot. I agree that the violence should be condemned by all sides. The international press are showing scenes in which violence is being carried out against ODM supporters by state security in Nairobi and Kisumu. Elsewhere we are hearing about attacks on Kikuyus which sickens me. I never thought I would witness such scenes. My mother is Kikuyu so I am grieving for these people but also for the others who have got caught up in this.

      This has been caused by the ECK and I will stress that again and again. Clamping down on democracy is not the way to solve this, nor is force going to go very far to healing the rift that has opened up. I am hoping that chanelling our disappointment into discussion will show us all a way out of this abyss.

      I was very careful to only report what had been cited in several independent news sources and so I am interested to know exactly what you think is false.

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