Kivuite admits “We are culprits as a commission”.

Samuel Kivuite, the chair of the Electoral Commission of Kenya, and the man responsible for giving to Mwai Kibaki a second term admitted today that he had got it wrong.

We are culprits as a commission. We have to leave it to an independent group to investigate what actually went wrong,” he admitted to a stunned audience of local and international press.

Earlier rumours had suggested that he was speaking from a hospital bed in pyjamas and that his earlier statement endorsing Kibaki’s presidency had been made with the barrel of a gun pointed at his or the heads of his family. With all the ominous tones that implies, the misinformation that inevitably flows from placing restrictions on the media. Such was the incredulity that greeted his decision to hand Kibaki the presidency under such dubious conditions.

Simply and with devastating effect, Kivuite today admitted that he did not know whether Kibaki had won the Kenyan election or not. This was the man who only hours earlier had declared Mwai Kibaki to be the winner of 2007 election.

He claimed he was under pressure as some individuals had threated to collect the certificate showing who had won the election whether he liked it or not. Kivuite felt it was his duty to deliver this certificate to the State House, “I’m the one mandated by law to do so.” A case of following procedure.

On arrival at State House he found everything in place to swear in Kibaki as returning head of state. He also says that he thought of resigning but did not want to be seen to be cowardly. How sad. I think people would have understood from the word go what his resignation represented and it is particularly sad that he was so disconnected that he was not able to see that or read the mood, or worse – act on the basis of personal principle in that moment. Or was he? Or is saying such things now an attempt to exonerate himself from blame in a climate in which culprits are being sought?

The ECK was meant to be above such personal weakness. Now do we need to establish an independent body to monitor the ECK to make sure such things never blight the electoral process ever again? On it goes! But it is still hopeful because this could never have happened under Moi’s watch.

How honest is Kivuite? He has already allowed Kibaki to take the reins of power claiming that he did not know who won the election. This when people were alerting him to the irregularities of the voting process and which he then promised to scrutinize closely and which he did not, but now he tells us he was under pressure to just declare a winner by both sides.

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