a little on how the election was rigged

PhotobucketKenyans show their dissatisfaction with the election of Kibaki

The finger of blame for the violence that has engulfed Kenya over the past 24 hours is pointing squarely at the Electoral Commission of Kenya. There can be no doubt that their dubious behaviour caused tensions to mount and was the main instigator of the ensuing turmoil that has gripped Kenya since the announcement of Kibaki’s victory.

The ECK should have been seen to be whiter than white in the way it handled the vote tallying but from the start there was much that caused me to wonder at the integrity of the Chair Samuel Kivuite.

Koki Muli the co-chair of the Kenya Election Domestic Observation Forum witnessed the irregularities with her own eyes. Vote tallies from seventy five out of the 210 constitutiencies had raised serious doubts about the transparency of the process and while Kivuite had initially agreed to scrutinise these more closely overnight on Saturday, by Sunday he had changed his mind.

“We regret that it has not been possible to address irregularities about which both the EU EOM (Electoral Observation Mission) and the ECK (Electoral Commission of Kenya) have evidence,” Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, the chief European observer declared and noted that “the presidential elections were flawed”.

ODM politicians found that the ECK tallies did not reflect reality in 48 constituencies where votes in one constituency had been inflated by 20,000 in favour of Kibaki. Like Muli, they found that there were serious questions hanging over the way in which forms were filled because they had not been signed by poll agents, while other results were read from computer printouts without any other documentation to verify them.

For Odinga there was no doubt that the votes had been rigged by the ECK. “In Marakwet East, Rift Valley, I got 30,000 votes but the presidential votes announced here (Nairobi) show I got 19,000 votes. In Juja, near Nairobi, the votes cast were 52,000, but it was altered to show that he (President Kibaki) got 100,000 votes,” he told reporters at a news conference on Sunday.

Even Kivuite acknowledged that voter turnout in central Kenya had been “abnormal” with voters exceeding by a 115% registered voters. At one polling centre a candidate had been seen running off with ballot papers.

Earlier Kivuite complained that he had been unable to contact election clerks at 51 voting centres because their phones were switched off and threatened to announce the results without them. Then the vote tallies started to stream in and it became obvious who the winner of the 2007 election was going to be. Certainly not Odinga, whose million vote lead had evaporated to a mere 38,000 by this time.

Results from Nithii, Eastern Kenya showed Kibaki gaining 95,000 votes, a figure that did not match the 65,000 announced earlier at the polling station.

Another damning account came however from a returning officer, Kipkomei arap Komei, who revealed that “there was shameless, blatant and open alteration of results” by electoral officers once verified tallies had arrived at the commission’s Nairobi headquarters.
“My conscience will not let me see what I have seen and not speak out,” said Mr Komei, as those listening to him cried “hero”. He said that some constituencies had seen their numbers inflated by 20,000 and that officers at the KICC were being asked to massage the numbers until they got the right result.

Given all these anomalies it is incredible that the British and US government ask Kenyans to accept the election results.

UPDATE: US withdraws support for Kibaki’s presidential win.

The US effectively retracted a statement from Washington that had congratulated Mr Kibaki on his victory by releasing a statement from its Nairobi embassy expressing concern about “serious problems experienced during the vote counting process”.


UPDATE:
Kenyan electoral commissioners call for an enquiry and admit irregularities with the vote counting:

Four electoral commissioners have called for an independent inquiry into whether any of their colleagues tampered with presidential election results before they were announced in Nairobi.

They agreed with election observers that there were significant irregularities in some of the results, and described the complaints raised by the Orange Democratic Movement as “weighty.”

The four commissioners – Mr Jack Tumwa, Mr D.A. Ndamburi, Mr Samuel arap Ngeny and Mr Jeremiah Matagaro – addressed the Press as violent protests spread across the country over presidential election results as announced by the Electoral Commission of Kenya.

They said information received from returning officers after results had been announced at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre cast doubt on the figures presented to the public.

The commissioners cited the case of Molo constituency where the presidential figures announced in Nairobi differed from those read at the constituency, some say by up to 20,000 votes.

Asked whether some of their colleagues may have tampered with the results in Nairobi, Mr Tumwa suggested that an independent inquiry could establish the truth. “It is only this way that the truth can come out,” he said.


UPDATE:
Please see latest post for update on ECK chair’s admission of culpabilty here.

UPDATE: 3rd January 2008, 3:54 GMT
New twist: crucial Form 16As kept in a safe at the KICC by some returning officers have disappeared.

There was tension at the ECK operation centre on Wednesday morning after some returning officers openly protested that the Form 16As, which they had kept in a Cabinet at KICC, had gone missing.

“We came here this morning and they told us that the forms had been stolen,” an official told The Standard as tempers flared.

But officers from the General Service Unit immediately ordered journalists to leave.

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