Archive for the 'A Stolen Election' Category

Kipsigis battle Kisiis in Western Kenya

Yesterday Channel 4 aired this footage of Kipsigis in Western Kenya preparing for battle with the Kisii people. The Kipsigi are a sub-group of the Kalenjins. A spokesmen for the Kipsigis told Channel 4 that the International Community should send troups to contain the violence as Kenya’s government can do nothing to stop it now. They said that the fighting started because of the rigged election and now they are angry because of the killing of two Orange Democratic Movement Mps in the past week (see here and here) which have been described as political assassinations.

Today there are reports of Kisiis having fled their homes. The fighting happened in Nyamira district, in the Kisii-Kalenjin tribal border in western Kenya. The death toll brings to 70 the number of those killed since Friday. Channel 4 visited a hospital at Sotik and saw Kisii victims of the violence who explained that that they are being killed because they are seen to have voted for Mwai Kibaki. They are angry with the government for not protecting them.

Pambazuka editor Mukoma wa Ngugi writes that what we are witnessing now is a vicious cycle of ethnic cleansing and counter-ethnic cleansing:

The myth that the violence is a spontaneous reaction to the rigged elections of Dec. 27 has to be debunked because its persistence only gives cover to the perpetrators on both sides.

True, there is strong evidence that President Mwai Kibaki engaged in widespread voter fraud to declare victory, and that he has illegitimately held on to power.

Kibaki has also used a police force that from British colonialism to the present has kept peace at the expense of the people. That police force is racking up a significant body count, now estimated to be in the hundreds.

But it is also true that the opposition, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), led by Raila Odinga, wears a democratic face to mask violent practices. Human Rights Watch says that it has “evidence that ODM politicians and local leaders actively fomented some post-election violence.”

The opposition leadership consists of three parts: the activist-intellectual left, the reactionary followers of former dictator Daniel arap Moi and the populists.

The intellectuals speak a language that the international media understands – and that anti-establishment friends of Africa like to hear. It is this group that has marketed the ODM as a people-power movement, in the process glossing over the ethnic killings by its own side.

To their credit, the intellectual activists favor boycotts, smart sanctions, and peaceful civil disobedience. But they did not adhere to these principles, bending instead to the Moi-ists within ODM, who engaged in ethnic violence in 1992 and 1997 and are at it again.

Their reprehensible tactics have cost the Orange Democratic Movement a lot of political mileage. Now instead of demanding Odinga’s right to the disputed presidency, the opposition has been forced to lower its sights and to urge Odinga and Kibaki to come to a negotiated solution.

For his part, Odinga, the leader of the populist camp, seems to want to draw violence from the state because the consequent anger unites the people and earns his party some political leverage.

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Kenya’s Tin Man

Vigilante Journalist

Photo: The Vigilante Journalist


Observing Mwai Kibaki in Addis Ababa during the African Union Heads of State summit meeting I was reminded of the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man. Every time Kibaki moves I hear the horrible sound of metal grinding on rusting metal, when he speaks he sounds corrosive.

If you recall, the Tin Man explains to Dorothy that a wicked witch placed a curse on his axe. With every swing of the enchanted axe he managed to chop off a piece of his body. A tinsmith refashioned each part with artificial limbs of tin until at last his entire body had been replaced by tin but alas the tinsmith forgot to provide him with a heart. It is a fitting metaphor for Kibaki’s legacy which will always be associated with the images of youths taking machetes to one another, throughout which he has shown himself to be bereft of a heart and incapable of feeling the pain or connecting with the trauma that Kenyans are undergoing. But like the Straw Man he might also need a brain.

Kibaki in need of a heart and a brain

Kibaki needs fixing

Attending the AU summit gave Kibaki an opportunity to stand before African leaders creaking as “the duly elected leader of Kenya” and to stubbornly claim that his re-election represents the “will of the majority” of Kenyans, a position rejected by ODM and the reason for Kofi Annan’s mediation efforts. How can he continue to insist on saying this when Electoral Commission of Kenya’s chairman, Samuel Kivuite, declared that he is not sure who won the election?

He was quick to take a swipe at Raila Odinga, head of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement accusing him of genocide and blaming him for the violence that is sweeping through the country, saying “the ongoing crisis erupted after the opposition … went ahead to instigate a campaign of civil unrest and violence. There is overwhelming evidence to indicate that the violence was premeditated, and systematically directed at particular communities (ethnic groups).”

Somebody ought to remind him that ODM did not start the fire. Kibaki lit a match and set fire to the ballot box on December 30th while subsequently extinguishing the hopes of many disenfranchised Kenyans. Is it clearer now what Kibaki’s game is?

He has simply allowed the violence and bloodshed to reach fever pitch and blamed the ODM for it. Odinga is hostage to this strategy. As long as Kibaki refuses to meet Odinga and talk seriously about where the country goes from here and while he also continues to exhibit his characteristic lack of humility he will continue to fan the flames of the fires searing Kenya. Odinga can do little to put those flames out now. Kibaki is increasingly portrayed as the lesser of two evils in the eyes of the International Community.

Kibaki has kept very quiet throughout The Terror nor has he dared to leave State House while people have been slaughtered and burnt. At the same time he has denied Raila the use of Kenya’s airwaves. He has also sent the Administrative Police into the slums of Nairobi and Kisumu where hundreds of Luos have been killed indiscriminately leading to further outrage. Now the Mungiki gang are said to be terrorising the Luos of Kibera. Some are saying that politicians are funding them.

In Addis Kibaki also said, “Arrangements are also under way to resettle the displaced victims even as we search for a lasting solution to the current political crisis.” Those arrangements include government directives to close down IDP camps such as the A.S.K. show ground and Jamhuri Park where some 75,000 people, mainly women and children are sheltering.

“I am not leaving this place if I don’t have a secure place to relocate to,” Catherine Simba, an IDP from the western Kenyan town of Kakamega, told IRIN on 22 January at Jamhuri Park, the temporary home for at least 3,000 people displaced by post-election violence in parts of the country.

Simba was reacting to a government directive to have the camp closed. District Commissioner Evans Ogwankwa visited the camp on 21 January and said the government’s position was that the IDPs must leave.

“I’m not happy staying here, but I would also not want to go back to my looted and destroyed home near Kakamega town; I want to be relocated to a secure area,” she said.

“How can you take us back to the lion’s mouth, it will swallow us!” Simba exclaimed.

Kibaki also informed the AU summit that “the security situation in the country is under control.”

This statement following hot on the heels of the killing of two Orange Democratic legislators which have been described as political assassinations by the opposition. Three police stations have since been targeted by Kenyans and policemen have been lynched in response to the killing of the MPs. Kenyans continue to be attacked and killed. Vigilante gangs threaten to take the law into their hands and lynch robbers because the police are not doing anything to stop crime.

I found this slideshow extremely harrowing. It’s posted on Paris Match and depicts a lynching that took place on 16th January, in Mathare, Nairobi. Photographer, Enrico Dangnino and his colleague saved a Kamba man from being killed by a crowd of Luos. Nod to Vigilante Journalist a.k.a Anne Holmes.

Kenya’s slum residents are disillusioned with the police who have shot and killed people indiscriminately and refuse to patrol the slums at night when gangs are out in force. One gang member said

“The head officer said, ‘Let them fight each other. We will come in the morning to pick up the bodies’.

He said he called police to report the murder of a Luo friend in the Mathare slum by a group of Kikuyus. “When they didn’t come, we had to go out to protect ourselves.”

The country is lawless and gangs of young emboldened by the breakdown of law and order set up road blocks to demand money and kill people for belonging to the wrong tribe.

My sister, Rozi, called me yesterday trembling with fear. She lives in Western Kenya, on the Eldoret/Kakamega border. They had taken a patient to Moi Referral Hospital Eldoret. On their way back, the ambulance was stopped by youths bearing all forms of crude weapons. They demanded to know which tribes everyone in the ambulance belonged to. The driver was of the local tribe, so he was told to step aside. As the others showed their National Identity cards, my sister realized that all around them were corpses of human beings freshly chopped to death. Her turn came and she said she was Luhya. They told her to speak in Luhya, but my Sister doesn’t know Luhya. “I really can’t speak it because my mother is a Taita!” she pleaded. She had to desperately show a photocopy of my mother’s National Identity card which she had in her purse, a photocopy my mother had given to her the previous week to use as a referee for the bank account she was switching to. That photocopy saved my sister. The only language my sister can speak, apart from English and the National Swahili, is Gikuyu. The tribe the youths were targeting.

In the meantime the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said women and children are being raped in displacement camps, where sexual violence was being used to threaten and intimidate, as reported here.

Many law-abiding citizens are turning to gangs for protection because of the breakdown in law and order.

800 people are dead, 300,000 have been displaced by violence and the security situation is under control! It might look that way on the short journey from State House to Embakasi that Kibaki made under security escort to catch his flight to Addis.

Kofi Annan said that he had suggested to Kibaki on Tuesday that the military might need to be deployed to restore order. While British Foreign Office Minister Mark Malloch Brown agreed that deploying Kenya’s army might be a solution, saying police “at this stage seem to be seen as no longer neutral and behind some of the killings.”

Kumekucha calls the military option “a poisoned chalice.” pointing out emphatically that Kenya’s military barracks are bristling with ethnic competition. He says:

In addition to disenfranchising Kenyan voters forever, it will trash all our democratic credentials and history. And worst or it will be a perpetuation of the present day slavery to HELL-FOR-LEATHER rulership and absolutely no leadership. Two wrongs never made a right.

Kenya is crying for politico-economic justice which the military CANNOT deliver. It is therefore not only suicidal but also reckless and STUPID to entrust such an audacious quest to gun wielders while still smarting from fractures and amputations from machetes. We cannot afford to engage is such an expensive and FATAL gamble.

Kenyan anti-corruption campaigner Richard Leakey said

“I think Kibaki is getting very poor advice. He’s showing no personal leadership in this crisis; I’m not quite sure who around him is making the decisions.

“I think that’s a large part of the problem — the country feels at sea without a captain. But ODM has made some pretty outrageous statements too. Everybody is playing bad guy on this and nobody is trying to play good guy.”

In Addis the 53 member nations of the AU appeared toothless and at first tried to steer clear of addressing the violence that erupted following Kibaki’s private inauguration on the lawns of State House.

“There are divisions between one group who see themselves in Kibaki’s situation and another that has told him in no uncertain terms that this is not acceptable,” said one Western diplomat, adding that South Africa was in the latter group.

In Nairobi the mediation team set up by Kofi Annan had made breakthroughs and come up with a Four Point Plan to resolve the political crisis. Back in Addis Kibaki was describing Annan’s efforts as a “facilitation” mission rather than mediation!

Mr Annan said: “We believe within seven to 15 days, we should be able to tackle the first three agenda items. The first is to take immediate action to stop the violence.

“The second is immediate measures to address the humanitarian crisis, the third is how to overcome the current political crisis.” The fourth point concerned long-term issues such as unemployment, poverty and land reforms.

A document signed by both sides said an agreement might require “adjustments” to the constitution — suggesting a power-sharing arrangement that would give opposition leader Raila Odinga a new position of prime minister.

Finally, Kibaki tells Odinga to allow Kenya’s High Court to arbitrate. Nobody takes this option seriously. Kibaki appointed new judges only a month before the elections were held, further proof if any were needed that the theft was planned in advance. Kenyan Jurist elucidates the problems with the court option clearly:

As I have stated previously, this insistence on challenging the results in court is just a ruse and it ignores the fact that we are dealing with an issue not of legality but legitimacy and justice. How can anyone expect the court to be fair when in Kivuitu states, “I arrived at State House to take the certificate and I found the Chief Justice there, ready to swear-in Kibaki.” What can Kenyans expect from the court?

Hon Martha Karua also repeats the legal redress meme. If the government was bold enough to interfere with the tallying of votes. Just consider what the following;

  • Do we know where the Returning Officers of the disputed polling areas are. Is their security guaranteed? Will they be able to testify without intimidation and inteference? Remember the case sad case of DAVID MUNYAKEI. Is any of these people willing to risk their lives for the greater good of Kenyans.
  • Has the official ECK tally of votes been published in the Kenya Gazette or other media? Will it be interfered with? The longer this takes the greater the risk.
  • Have all the election materials been secured. Remember, in law, the petitioner has the burden of proving that the election was rigged. If the election materials have not been secured or tampered with then this would render the case moot.
  • Now that the Commonwealth Observers, European Union Observers, the Electoral Commissioners and many other have cast doubt on the election result, can Kenyans accept a court verdict that say the Election was proper?
  • Would politicians please spare us the legal mumbo jumbo and go right to resolving the political dispute at hand.

    By now it must be obvious that Kibaki is resistant to any kind of negotiations and neither is he going to step down. It is time for the international community to censure him more forcefully. What can be done? Robert Calderisi writing in the Globe and Mail says that the military coup d’etat option that is gaining currency among some commentators might be too draconian. He suggests the international community can respond by

    “[seizing] the assets of senior officials who, until now, have salted away their loot in Western banks with total impunity.

    “The world can continue to provide direct support to community groups, human rights activists, democratic reformers, and those promoting a free press.

    “And, in a number of cases, the answer may be to make foreign assistance more openly political..

    “Making aid more political does not mean using it as a convenient instrument of foreign policy. But if the goal is to fight poverty, the way a government treats its citizens — including its journalists, entrepreneurs and small farmers — should be central to the level of aid it receives.”

    Letter to Kivuite from Kenyan poet Shailja Patel

    Kivuitu letter

    An Open Letter to Samuel Kivuitu, Chair of the Electoral Commission of Kenya
    Mr. Kivuitu,

    We’ve never met. It’s unlikely we ever will. But, like every other Kenyan, I will remember you for the rest of my life. The nausea I feel at the mention of your name may recede. The bitterness and grief will not.

    You had a mandate, Mr. Kivuitu. To deliver a free, fair and transparent election to the people of Kenya. You and your commission had 5 years to prepare. You had a tremendous pool of resources, skills, technical support, to draw on, including the experience and advice of your peers in the field – leaders and experts in governance, human rights, electoral process and constitutional law. You had the trust of 37 million Kenyans.

    We believed it was going to happen. On December 27th, a record 65% of registered Kenyan voters rose as early as 4am to vote. Stood in lines for up to 10 hours, in the sun, without food, drink, toilet facilities. As the results came in, we cheered when minister after powerful minister lost their parliamentary seats. When the voters of Rift Valley categorically rejected the three sons of Daniel Arap Moi, the despot who looted Kenya for 24 years. The country spoke through the ballot, en masse, against the mindblowing greed, corruption, human rights abuses, callous dismissal of Kenya’s poor, that have characterised the Kibaki administration.

    But Kibaki wasn’t going to go. When it became clear that you were announcing vote tallies that differed from those counted and confirmed in the constituencies, there was a sudden power blackout at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, where the returns were being announced. Hundreds of GSU (General Service Unit) paramilitaries suddenly marched in. Ejected all media except the government mouthpiece Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.

    Fifteen minutes later, we watched, dumbfounded, as you declared Kibaki the winner. 30 minutes later, we watched in sickened disbelief and outrage, as you handed the announcement to Kibaki on the lawns of State House. Where the Chief Justice, strangely enough, had already arrived. Was waiting, fully robed, to hurriedly swear him in.

    You betrayed us. Perhaps we’ll never know when, or why, you made that decision. One rumor claims you were threatened with the execution of your entire family if you did not name Kibaki as presidential victor. When I heard it, I hoped it was true. Because at least then I could understand why you chose instead to plunge our country into civil war.

    I don’t believe that rumor any more. Not since you appeared on TV, looking tormented, sounding confused, contradicting yourself. Saying, among other things, that you did not resign because you “did not want the country to call me a coward”, but you “cannot state with certainty that Kibaki won the election”. Following that with the baffling statement “there are those around him [Kibaki] who should never have been born.” The camera operator had a sense of irony – the camera shifted several times to the scroll on your wall that read: “Help Me, Jesus.”

    As the Kenya Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists rescinds the Jurist of the Year award they bestowed on you, as the Law Society of Kenya strikes you from their Roll of Honour and disbars you, I wonder what goes through your mind these days.

    Do you think of the 300,000 Kenyans displaced from their homes, their lives? Of the thousands still trapped in police stations, churches, any refuge they can find, across the country? Without food, water, toilets, blankets? Of fields ready for harvest, razed to the ground? Of granaries filled with rotting grain, because no one can get to them? Of the Nairobi slum residents of Kibera, Mathare, Huruma, Dandora, ringed by GSU and police, denied exit, or access to medical treatment and emergency relief, for the crime of being poor in Kenya?

    I bet you haven’t made it to Jamhuri Park yet. But I’m sure you saw the news pictures of poor Americans, packed like battery chickens into their stadiums, when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Imagine that here in Nairobi, Mr. Kivuitu. 75,000 Kenyans, crammed into a giant makeshift refugee camp. Our own Hurricane Kivuitu-Kibaki, driven by fire, rather than floods. By organized militia rather than crumbling levees. But the same root cause – the deep, colossal contempt of a tiny ruling class for the rest of humanity. Over 60% of our internal refugees are children. The human collateral damage of your decision.

    And now, imagine grief, Mr. Kivuitu. Grief so fierce, so deep, it shreds the muscle fibres of your heart. Violation so terrible, it grinds down the very organs of your body, forces the remnants through your kidneys, for you to piss out in red water. Multiply that feeling by every Kenyan who has watched a loved one slashed to death in the past week. Every parent whose child lies, killed by police bullets, in the mortuaries of Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret. Everyone who has run sobbing from a burning home or church, hearing the screams of those left behind. Every woman, girl, gang-raped.

    Do you sleep well these days, Mr. Kivuitu? I don’t. I have nightmares. I wake with my heart pounding, slow tears trickling from the corners of my eyes, random phrases running through my head:

    Remember how we felt in 2002? It’s all gone.
    (Muthoni Wanyeki, ED of Kenya Human Rights Commission, on the night of December 30th, 2007, after Kibaki was illegally sworn in as president).

    There is a crime here that goes beyond recrimination. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolise.
    (John Steinbeck, American writer, on the betrayal of internally displaced Americans, in The Grapes of Wrath)

    Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi….kila siku tuwe na shukrani
    (“Justice be our shield and defender….every day filled with thanksgiving” Lines from Kenya’s national anthem)

    I soothe myself back to patchy sleep with my mantra in these days, as our country burns and disintegrates around us:

    Courage.
    Courage comes.
    Courage comes from cultivating.
    Courage comes from cultivating the habit.
    Courage comes from cultivating the habit of refusing.
    Courage comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one’s actions.
    (Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner).

    I wake with a sense of unbearable sadness. Please let it not be true…..

    Meanwhile, the man you named President cowers in the State House, surrounded by a cabal of rapacious power brokers, and a bevy of sycophantic unseated Ministers and MPs, who jostle for position and succession. Who fuel the fires by any means they can, to keep themselves important, powerful, necessary. The smoke continues to rise from the torched swathes of Rift Valley, the gutted city of Kisumu, the slums of Nairobi and Mombasa. The Red Cross warns of an imminent cholera epidemic in Nyanza and Western Kenya, deprived for days now of electricity and water. Containers pile up at the Port of Mombasa, as ships, unable to unload cargo, leave still loaded. Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Southern Sudan, the DRC, all dependent on Kenyan transit for fuel and vital supplies, grind to a halt.

    A repressive regime rolls out its panoply of oppression against legitimate dissent. Who knew our police force had so many sleek, muscled, excellently-trained horses, to mow down protestors? Who guessed that in a city of perennial water shortages, we had high-powered water cannons to terrorize Kenyans off the streets?

    I am among the most fortunate of the fortunate. Not only am I still whole, alive, healthy, mobile; not only do I have food, shelter, transport, the safety of those I love; I have the gift of work. I have the privilege to be in the company of the most brilliant, principled, brave, resilient Kenyans of my generation. To contribute whatever I can as we organize, analyse, strategize, mobilize, draw on everything we know and can do, to save our country. I marvel at the sheer collective volume of trained intelligence, of skill, expertise, experience, in our meetings. At the ability to rise above personal tragedy – families still hostage in war zones, friends killed, homes overflowing with displaced relatives – to focus on the larger picture and envisage a solution.

    I listen to lawyers, social scientists, economists, youth activists, humanitarians; experts on conflict, human rights, governance, disaster relief; to Kenyans across every sector and ethnicity, and I think:

    Is this what we have trained all our lives for? To confront this epic catastrophe, caused by a group of old men who have already sucked everything they possibly can out of Kenya, yet will cling until they die to their absolute power?

    You know these people too, Mr. Kivuitu. The principled, brave, resilient, brilliant Kenyans. The idealists who took seriously the words we sang as schoolchildren, about building the nation. Some of them worked closely with you, right through the election. Some called you friend. You don’t even have the excuse that Kibaki, or his henchmen, might offer – that of inhabiting a world so removed from ours that they cannot fathom the reality of ordinary Kenyans. You know of the decades of struggle, bloodshed, faith and suffering that went into creating this fragile beautiful thing we called the “democratic space in Kenya.” So you can imagine the ways in which we engage with the unimaginable. We coin new similes:

    lie low like a 16A (the electoral tally form returned by each constituency, many of which were altered or missing in the final count)

    We joke about the Kivuitu effect – which turns internationalists, pan-Africanists, fervent advocates for the dissolution of borders, into nationalists who cry at the first verse of the national anthem:

    Ee Mungu nguvu yetu
    Ilete baraka kwetu
    Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi
    Natukae na undugu
    Amani na uhuru
    Raha tupate na ustawi.

    O God of all creation
    Bless this our land and nation
    Justice be our shield and defender
    May we dwell in unity
    Peace and liberty
    Plenty be found within our borders.

    Rarely do we allow ourselves pauses, to absorb the enormity of our country shattered, in 7 days. We cry, I think, in private. At least I do. In public, we mourn through irony, persistent humor, and action. Through the exercise of patience, stamina, fortitude, generosity, that humble me to witness. Through the fierce relentless focus of our best energies towards challenges of stomach-churning magnitude.

    We tell the stories that aren’t making it into the press. The retired general in Rift Valley sheltering 200 displaced families on his farm. The Muslim Medical Professionals offering free treatment to anyone injured in political protest. We challenge, over and over again, with increasing weariness, the international media coverage that presents this as “tribal warfare”, “ethnic conflict”, for an audience that visualises Africa through Hollywood: Hotel Rwanda, The Last King of Scotland, Blood Diamond.

    I wish you’d thought of those people, when you made the choice to betray them. I wish you’d drawn on their courage, their integrity, their clarity, when your own failed you. I wish you’d had the imagination to enter into the lives, the dreams, of 37 million Kenyans.

    But, as you’ve probably guessed by now, Mr. Kivuitu, this isn’t really a letter to you at all. This is an attempt to put words to what cannot be expressed in words. To mourn what is too immense to mourn. A clumsy groping for something beyond the word ‘heartbreak’. A futile attempt to communicate what can only be lived, moment by moment. This is a howl of anguish and rage. This is a love letter to a nation. This is a long low keening for my country.

    Shailja Patel

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    Marende elected speaker of the house

    I am glad that is over! So now ODM have a majority in Kenya’s Parliament and should the centre hold this is going to get very interesting. Attendance in the house promises to be high and not just when MPs are voting themselves huge pay increases. ODM’s Kenneth Marende scooped 105 votes to become Kenya’s next Speaker of the National Assembly; a victory which has been met in Nairobi with much tooting of car horns. PNU’s Kenneth Ole Kaparo lost by 4 votes.

    Odinga has called for three days of demonstrations to begin tomorrow.

    Kenyan Lawyers Demand Kibaki Steps Down

    Chief Justice, Evan Gicheru, is accused by the Law Society of Kenya of taking part in an illegal swearing-in ceremony, which they say lacked the full credibility of the law because it was based on a faulty tallying process.

    President Kibaki was sworn in as a result of a faulty tallying exercise, contrary to Section 7 of the Constitution. The Attorney General has confirmed this finding. President Kibaki should, therefore, step down and fresh presidential elections held.”

    LSK chairman Okong’o O’Mogeni said that a re-run of the presidential elections was the only way to solve the constitutional and legal crisis facing the country. “The crisis we face is there is a very large section of Kenyans who feel they have been robbed of the right to choose their leader, the right to self-determination. Let us go to the root cause of this problem and this can only be done through the re-run,” O’Mogeni said.

    “We reject the belated suggestion for vote re-tallying,” the LSK chief said. “The integrity of the documents cannot be guaranteed,” he said.

    “In view of the reports by the Law Society of Kenya Observers, ECK admission that the results were being tampered with, he could not tell who really won the elections, the AG’s own call for a recount of ballots, independent observers, the European Union and the International Community at large that the Presidential vote tallying was flawed and tampered with, the aw Society of Kenya strongly demands that Honourable Mwai Kibaki steps down and that fresh presidential elections be held,” said O’Mogeni.

    “To allow a heavily compromised and falsified election result to stand is to spell the death of electoral practice and democracy in Kenya forever,” Mr Omogeni added.

    Mr Omogeni said: “Hon Kibaki lacks legitimacy to govern and this is the cause of the problems that we are facing in this country.

    The LSK also asked for Kivuite and the ECK to be held criminally liable for abandoning their consitutional mandate. “The LSK Council has resolved and recalled the honour bestowed upon Samuel Kivuitu in 2006 and demand the immediate return of the award,” said an LSK council member, James Aggrey Mwamu.

    Uhuru Park Rally Called Off

    Odinga has called off the mass action meant to take place today in Uhuru Park. It has now been rescheduled for next Tuesday (according to Kenyan press, but the international media are saying it will take place tomorrow). News in the UK is showing crowds of people still trying to get into the city with GSU firing live rounds into the air, using water cannon and there’s plenty of tear gas around. Riot police were determined to keep the residents of Kibera from leaving the slum and residents played cat and mouse with them. This will all be repeated again tomorrow if the government refuse to allow the rally to take place.

    Attorney General Amos Wako has called for an independent review of the Kenya election. “It is necessary … that a proper tally of the valid certificates returned and confirmed should be undertaken immediately on a priority basis by an agreed and independent person or body.”

    Thomson Holidays is flying planes out to Kenya to airlift tourists. All major tour operators have suspended flights to Kenya.

    In Nairobi mounted police baton charged crowds of supporters. ODM supporters interviewed by a BBC reporter say that they are ready to die for their rights and this is described as their right to be given their President, Raila Odinga. ODM supporters say they voted for change and not to see the corrupt Kibaki government get into power again through a stolen election.

    Thousands of ODM supporters were seen carrying branches symbolizing their peaceful intentions as they tried to get to Uhuru Park. Riot Police are beating the protestors. A witness who described being beaten by the police and had suffered a broken arm described seeing an ODM supporter shot dead and his body removed by the police.

    Other demonstrations have taken place around the country including Mombasa where there have been running battles with police.

    150 cars escorted out of Eldoret under military convoy but with the vigilante road-blocks in the region there are fears that they will not get far. The people had been waiting for 24 hours to leave. Shops have been torched.

    Kisumu, the heartland of Odinga’s support, is facing a humanitarian disaster as food runs out and in Rift Valley Kikuyus who have been displaced by the violence are similarly facing a crisis. The Kenya Red Cross have been handling the situation. A UN representative on BBC Radio 4 says that the road blocks in the Rift Valley were cleared yesterday, so supplies are now starting to reach the region.

    Earlier reports say that the situation is still tense in and around Eldoret…

    At the East African University of Baraton, a seventh-day Adventist college near the Rift Valley town of Kapsabet, terrified Kikuyus were trapped on the campus with close to 200 foreign students and staff.

    Outside the gates, warriors from the Kalenjin tribe, which largely supported Mr Odinga, laid siege.

    “We have no food but if I try to go outside I know they will kill me,” said Julia, a 21-year-old Kikuyu student.

    They have lists with the names of the people they want dead. They have already killed many. If we are not evacuated, God knows what will happen tomorrow.”

    Across the country, food was running out in many places – none more so than in Kisumu, where thousands desperately queued at the handful of shops that dared to open.

    “A big disaster is looming in the next 24 hours,” said the district commissioner. “There will be no food by tomorrow. Kisumu is a food deficit area and we can’t get supplies in because of the security situation.”

    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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