Archive for the 'How The Election Was Stolen' Category

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 A tinsmith refashioned each part with artificial limbs of tin until at last his entire body had been replaced by tin but alas the tinsmith forgot to provide him with a heart.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.”


    More on how the Kenyan election was stolen

    Four Kenyan election observers who witnessed the last phase of the presidential vote tallying, when political parties were verifying the results that had been announced, have recorded their observations in an hour-by-hour log. Their testimonies expose what can only be termed a resolve among electoral officials—including Commissioners and staff—to obtain a pre-determined outcome, whether supported by fact or not.

    Kenyans for Peace with Justice have released a series of documents that record how the election was stolen. This is a minute by minute account of what happened over those two fateful days.

    Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ)
    Kenyan Elections Observers’ Log: December 29-30, 2007

    The following account is drawn from the statements of four of the five domestic election observers allowed into the verification process the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) afforded political party representatives the night before the announcement of the supposed results for the Presidency.

    The account illustrates the list of anomalies, malpractices and illegalities that lay behind those results, raising questions as to the ethics, non-partisanship and professionalism of the ECK commissioners and staff as well as to the validity of the supposed results. The expectation of all concerned was that any findings of the verification process would be addressed by the ECK Commissioners when they met the following morning, but this did not happen.

    Countdown to deception: 30 hours that destroyed Kenya

    On Sunday, December 30, 2007 at 1830, Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as President of the Republic of Kenya at State House in Nairobi. Three forms of violence immediately broke out across the country: disorganised and spontaneous protests; organised militia activity; and disproportionate use of force by the Kenyan police force and General Service Unit (GSU). As a result, over 500 people were killed, 4,000 exiled in Uganda and over 250,000 people internally displaced. Many more are in hospital nursing injuries.Domestic election observers who monitored the final hours of the presidential ballot tallying and announcements noticed transgressions at once brazen and shocking. The following log captures the critical highlights of Kenya’s deviation from democracy.

    Saturday December 29, 2007

    1343: Results for 174 constituencies received and the gap narrows While sitting with Institute of Education in Democracy (IED)’s Executive Director, Koki Muli (observer), and journalist Kiss 100’s Paul Ilado (journalist) on the second floor of Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), the ECK’s Chair, Samuel Kivuitu, receives results that put the gap between the Party of National Unity (PNU)’s Kibaki about 107,779 votes behind the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)’s Raila Odinga— Kibaki has 3,697,768 and Odinga 3,805,547 votes, while ODM Kenya’s Kalonzo Musyoka has 498,361 votes.

    1500: Nail-biting wait

    1 The four domestic election observers were: Julius Melli, Association of Professional Societies of East Africa (APSEA), Koki Muli, Institute for Education in Democracy (IED) and co-Chair of the Kenya Domestic Observers Forum (KEDOF); Dr Bernard Sihanya, Faculty of Law, University of Nairobi; Hussein Mohammed Yusuf, Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims (SUPKEM). Their statements were recorded by hand, on computer and audiotape recording by Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) and are also being turned into affidavits for the filing of criminal complaints against the ECK and,if necessary, private prosecutions against the ECK.

    Some ECK Commissioners express concerns to Muli about the long delays and remark that, since the gap between the two front-runners is narrowing, the ECK may have to await results from all the constituencies before announcing the final tally. This, it is feared, will heighten tensions and anxiety among political parties, their candidates and supporters. No one seems to understand why the delays were so long, especially as the ECK had been better prepared than in 2002, when such delays were not experienced.

    1600: Ballots scrutiny

    Kivuitu becomes more suspicious of discrepancies and begins to contemplate a reexamination
    of results. Most results are not available as they have only been telephoned in. Kivuitu yields to pressure from ODM and PNU to scrutinise the tallying of presidential ballots in all the 210 constituencies after party agents point out that votes being announced by the ECK’s tallying centre in KICC do not agree with those announced at the constituency tallying centres. He agrees to have two political party agents each for every presidential candidate and five domestic election observers verify the results. Kivuitu says he wants the findings in a report to be discussed by all ECK Commissioners the following morning.

    1800: The night shift begins

    The atmosphere inside the ECK is tense. The day teams leave without properly handing over to the night teams. Kipkemoi Kirui, deputy leader for Team II (night), notes that although results for Lamu East, Lamu West, Wundanyi and Dujis have come in, they do not have the statutory documents, Forms 16A, 16 and 17A, accompanying them. The day team leaders responsible have therefore not signed for them. Kirui also refuses to receive them without the necessary documents because there are doubts about the verity of the data. Word goes round that his team is not accepting results without the accompanying Form 16As. For most of the night, he and his team repeatedly call the returning officers for results together with statutory documents. Statutory documents for Ijara, Galole, Wundanyi and Dujis are not received even though the results are phoned in.

    1900: Setting up for verification

    The tallying centre at KICC is set up for ten teams, each sitting around a table to receive, verify and forward constituency results to the internet technology (IT) team to prepare for announcement. The teams are managed by a team leader and a deputy leader. Most of the teams consist of returning officers and ECK staff. Each team is working on about 21 constituencies shared according to ECK’s own plan so that, for example, Team I deals with Mombasa and Nairobi.

    In addition to tables for the ten teams, more are reserved for use by ECK Commissioners and senior staff as well as filing clerks, spread out strategically in the room to enable any of the above mentioned people to operate from a station. There are also waiting chairs reserved for returning officers, security staff and other people allowed inside the rooms.

    2000-2100: Initial hitches

    Observers are denied access to the tallying room at KICC. They get the ECK Chair and Secretary to intervene and are finally let in. ECK Deputy Secretary, Suleiman Chege, who receives them congenially, insists that they be accorded all the help they need. Observers are conducted on a tour of ECK’s offices enthusiastically.

    2237: Verification begins

    After arguments about how and where to begin the verification, work finally begins. James Orengo for ODM insists that results for all 210 constituencies be reviewed while Martha Karua for PNU wants scrutiny to be limited to Forms 16A of only contested constituencies, which she insists they have to identify and agree on since the discrepancies and problems associated with tallying are not only in constituencies that the ODM identified in the afternoon, mostly in Central and central Eastern Provinces, but were in Nyanza and the Rift Valley. Julius Melli, Association of Professional Societies in East Africa (APSEA) (observer) encounters a hostile reception at the verifying tables. Karua complains about there being too many observers, prompting a domestic observer to move from the table where agents of political parties are seated to another table where he is not noticeable.

    2247: Extent of the problem

    All results for the presidential election are in except for 14 constituencies. Observers immediately notice discrepancies in the results transmitted from the constituencies to the ECK’s headquarters at KICC. They also notice that a number of the statutory documents for the constituencies’ returns have serious anomalies:

    a) they are not signed by the returning officers;

    b) they are not countersigned by agents;

    c) in some cases, only photocopies of these forms are available even though the law requires that the originals be filed;

    d) although all these forms (Form 16A, 16 and 17A) require an ECK stamp to stamp to validate them, those that have a stamp are the exception rather than the rule;

    e) ECK Commissioners have thus announced constituency results without verifying their authenticity with the necessary statutory documentation. For example, provisional results were telephoned in and even though the ECK called back the returning officers to ensure the results indeed came from them, most returning officers phoned in different results from what they delivered in person to KICC. Yet the ECK Commissioners accepted and included these results in the final tally;

    f) Although the ECK Regulations (Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act, Cap 7 of 2007) clearly states that the ECK shall not accept for results that showed voter turnout of 100 per cent and above, the ECK Commissioners allowed returning officers who had returns over 100 per cent to “correct them.” They subsequently accepted and included such results for tallying without any explanation, for example, Maragwa constituency had given results amounting to a 115 per cent voter turnout but the returning officer was allowed to reduce them to 85.24 per cent at KICC and these results were accepted for the final tally!

    g) It is unusual for ECK senior staff and Commissioners to accept results from constituencies without proper documentation and to allow returning officers to prepare the documentation at the ECK headquarters as they did at KICC. Most returning officers did not arrive with proper documentation yet were allowed to prepare their documents at KICC. This was the case for Kipipiri, Starehe, Kinangop, Garsen, Turkana Central and Turkana North and Kajiado North.

    Observer inquiries establish that agents were unable to sign Form 16A in areas of Central and Eastern provinces because they were not allowed to do so or they were sent out of the counting halls altogether. In some areas, the returning officers inform the observers that agents did not feel secure enough to stay through the counting. This apparently happened in the Meru districts, in Central, Nyanza and parts of the Rift Valley.

    The agents of PNU, ODM and ODM-K settle on 44 constituencies found to have filed results, already announced by ECK Commissioners, without any primary or original evidence for example, original signed, countersigned and stamped Forms 16A, 16 and 17A. These constituencies include the following: Gatundu South, Makadara, Likoni, Kaloleni, Galole, Lamu East, Wundanyi, Malindi, Voi, Ijara, Dujis, Igembe South, South Imenti, Nithi, Kitui West, Kitui South, Mwala, Kinangop, Ol Kalou, Mukurweini, Juja, Githunguri, Kiambaa, Lari, Eldoret East, Baringo East, Baringo Central, Laikipia West, Nakuru Town, Naivasha, Kuresoi, Rongai, Kimilili, Bumula, Alego, Bondo, Kisumu, Rural, Kasipul-Kabondo, Ndhiwa, Migori, Kuria, Bomachoge, Bobasi, Nyaribaru Chache and Kitutu Masaba.

    Results for these constituencies were thus announced in contravention of the law. In addition, results for Dagoretti constituency were found to have been announced while vote tallying was still in progress.

    Documents for Kinangop, Kipipiri, Ol Kalou, Ndaragwa, Tetu, Kieni, Mathira, Othaya and Ndaragwa had no ECK stamp.

    Many constituency results were received and announced by Commissioners without the zignatures of ECK officials and all party agents. Indeed, some of the documents conveying the results contained only the results without the presiding officers’ signature, ECK stamp or any agent’s signature. For example, there were no signatures and stamps in most Forms 16A, 16, and 17 A from Nithi, Kitui West, Kitui South, Mwala, Kinangop, Ol Kalou, Mukurweini, Gichugu, Lari, Mathioya, Eldoret East, Mosop, Aldai, Baringo East, Baringo Central, Laikipia West, Naivasha, Nakuru, Kuresoi, Kajiado North, and Kajiado South yet the Commissioners had already announced the results from these constituencies.

    Some constituencies had only a few statutory forms, but their total votes were still announced. These included Ndaragwa, which had 25 Forms 16A not signed by party agents.

    There were 34 Forms 16A not signed for Mathira. There was one Form 16A that had a double entry, and two returns for parliamentary results were entered in the presidential file. The total presidential tally of 16A returns was actually 77,442 votes after additions were verified by a Commissioner, ECK Deputy Secretary and observers against the 80,024 announced by the ECK.

    The ECK’s legal officer, Jemimah Keli, is notified of these discrepancies by Melli, but she takes away the file and hands it to the ECK’s head of research, […] Laichena, for storage. She says rechecking numbers would slow everyone down. The focus of the scrutiny, she adds, should be limited to whether or not there are Forms 16 and 16A, and not stretch to calculations or checking for consistency in the figures. She says that she and other ECK staff had not slept for many days and wished they could do voluntary work like the observers. She asks if Melli is being paid to observe the elections.

    When answers in the negative, she asks why he is paying so much attention to detail. She is taking notes but seems more preoccupied with justifying every concern raised than addressing it. There are questions about the accuracy of her record of the goings-on. 16 Forms 16A for Othaya have not been signed by party agents.

    Results for the following constituencies were announced without some statutory documents including Forms 16A, 16 and 17A Makadara, Starehe, Likoni, Malindi, Galole, Wundanyi, Ijara, Lamu East, Voi, Dujis and Igembe South.

    Some results were also faxed as provisional tallies, as in Kirinyaga Central. In other cases, results were announced when there was no documentation to support the announcement, for example, Kimilili, Bumula Alego, Kitutu Masaba, Nyaribari Chache, Bomachoge and Kuria constituencies.

    In some cases, the returning officers’ files available at ECK’s tallying centre are in duplicate and ECK senior staff claim they cannot find the original files for scrutiny. Examples include Kieni, Ol Kalou and North Imenti. Indeed, most photocopies of Forms 16A were neither signed by the presiding officers nor by party agents, yet the results on such forms were included in the tally of results.

    In some cases there were disparities between the total votes cast for parliamentary and civic elections on one part and those cast for the presidential election on the other.

    2300: Results without documents

    Work slows to a near-stop until around midnight when a sleepy-looking fellow is ushered in. He is the returning officer from Moyale. He does not have Forms 16A, 16, 17 or 17A. He slips into a doze as Kirui consults. Hours later, Kivuitu announces the Moyale results—without any documentation.

    After Moyale, results for Saku and Laisamis follow. They are not supported by any of the statutory documents and Kirui refuses to receive them. His Team Leader goes ahead to receive them nonetheless. The ECK Chair announces the results. The figures are, in a number of instances, overstated. Kirui feels perturbed because there is no reason for the returning officers’ failure to bring in the statutory documents three days after the vote tallying at the constituency level.

    Disparities between provisional results phoned in earlier and those relayed to KICC were also noted for Kipipiri, Kieni, Maragua, Juja and Dagoretti constituencies

    2300: Slippery returning officers

    Observers Melli and Muli meet the returning officer for Starehe and ask about the constituency. He says the people who had been causing trouble wanted to disrupt the electoral process. They had wanted him to announce results that favoured their candidate and had been threatening him and pushing him forward but he says he had insisted on doing what the ECK had sent him to do.

    He says that he first called for police reinforcements and then announced the winner because they had recounted the vote twice. There had been an anomaly in one of the stations, he says, and when it was rectified, the winner was known. He does not, however, let observers examine the file for the constituency. Observers never got to examine the file.

    The Kipipiri results reported on the telephone give 36,470 votes to Kibaki against the 37,315 announced by the ECK. The final tally on file shows 37,279 votes.

    Sunday, December 30, 2007

    0100: Insider information

    One ECK senior staff member calls Muli outside the hall and asks her if she is aware that something terrible is happening. The ECK senior staff member points out that it is important for observers to scrutinise all returning officers’ returns especially of Mombasa, Central, Eastern, North Eastern, Rift Valley and Nyanza. The senior staff member also cautions her that the discrepancies have been planned systematically and are not accidental. She says the scheme involves most Commissioners, who have organised how the tallying will be carried out. There is also the concern that Commissioners were in charge of their regions—which had not been the practice in the past—and most of the Commissioners engaged returning officers who owed them loyalty, in some cases, replacing returning officers who had experience, having worked with the ECK in the past.

    0200: Missing returns

    The only constituencies without results are Kibwezi and Emuhaya. In the case of Kibwezi, the returning officer had reportedly been threatened with dire consequences by one of the candidates if he released the results. Although he was assured of transport by helicopter and additional paramilitary police escort, he still would not come in. Emuhaya was bogged down by logistical problems. The ECK Chair announced the results the following day.

    Electoral official quits

    Kirui’s colleagues tell him that results are being reduced or suppressed for certain constituencies. He raises the alarm. He takes his Team Leader, […] Njuguna, aside and starts saying: “My brother, this is an important national exercise. I am concerned that we are not following the law and we are letting down Kenyans …” Njuguna tells him he would be recommending Kirui’s removal because he was proving difficult. He goes ahead to report him to Daniel Koech, who asks Njuguna to cooperate with Kirui.

    Njuguna goes back to their work station. Kirui follows him and tells the team that he regards their work as an important national exercise that demands patriotism and neutrality. Kirui also demands respect and cooperation from Njuguna, who says that if he wishes to, he could leave. Kirui leaves the ECK offices for the last time.

    0400: Fatigue and irritation set in

    Melli says, “I started noticing general irritation and resistance from ECK officials. I asked for the Nithi constituency file, but the returning officer grabbed it and held it close to his chest. The same was the case for the Starehe constituency file. The returning officer for Nithi went outside and carried all his documents with him wherever he went.” ECK Commissioners who are asked to intervene defend their staff, saying they had not completed work on the files.

    0500: Invented figures show up

    Molo constituency returning officer provides results showing that Kibaki has 50,145 votes at completion of counting but ECK prepares to announce 75,261 votes for him and provides a computer print out of the increased results. ECK Commission staff deny observers the opportunity to verify information on file, saying the result had not been announced.

    Observers at the ECK tallying centre at KICC who take a break from the tallying room to freshen up are denied re-entry. Those who come in to relieve their colleagues on night duty are also barred from entering. Police presence is strong and the atmosphere tense.

    0930: Agents ordered out

    A message goes out on the public address system asking all agents to leave the premises. Observers are also ordered out and evicted.

    1000: ECK goes underground

    A media briefing scheduled for 1000 to announce presidential results is put off indefinitely.

    1100: Odinga press conference

    The ODM presidential candidate claims he has won the election according to results from his call centre.

    1300: Trial balloon

    Word goes round that the ECK could announce the results of the presidential election at any time.

    1421: ODM press conference

    ODM holds a press briefing at KICC and discloses rigging by the ECK in 48 constituencies after a joint parties and ECK audit of all the 210 constituencies. William Ruto discloses that all 48 constituencies lacked supporting documents and inflated Kibaki’s figures. The ECK does not provide any evidence to the contrary.

    1620: Protests on the floor

    The ECK Chair attempts to announce the final results of the presidential election. He, however, begun with announcing the results of Molo which were inflated, 75,261 instead of the 50,145 votes announced at the constituency tallying centre. Kivuitu is shouted down by ODM which insists that the contested results need to be resolved, including those of Molo, and also insist the delayed results from Eastern and Central provinces had been inflated. The ECK Commissioners leave the briefing centre under police escort.

    1642: Bombshell

    An ECK staff member, Kipkemoi Kirui, tells an ODM-convened press conference that the poll results and documents are being manipulated at the KICC, and that he and many other people had deserted their work stations in frustration.

    1700: Dogged determination

    A signal goes out to the diplomatic corps that the ECK is about to announce the results.

    1739: The Final announcement

    Paramilitary police clear KICC as the ECK Chair announces Kibaki winner of the presidential election in a sealed room. The news is relayed via the public Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) and picked up by other networks.

    1824: Swift swearing-in

    Kibaki is sworn in as President at State House in Nairobi as protests erupt all over Kenya. A live press conference by ODM is pulled off air as the Minister for Internal Security suspends live broadcasts.

    more documents here

    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 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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    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.

    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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    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”.

    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.

    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.

    A Political Mugging

    Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Milliband has expressed his concerns over the voting “irregularities” noted by EU and other observers, many of whom were manhandled by the GSU earlier today when the KICC was cleared so that Kivuite could furtively declare Kibaki the presidential winner.

    While the editorial in Britain’s Times describes the current leadership as a “pampered, self-perpetuating political elite dominated since independence by the Kikuyu tribe”, clearly signalling the UK elite’s exasperation with the shabby events which transpired in Kenya today and in surprisingly strong and emotive language not usually seen in this paper; it does not bode well for Kibaki or for the Kikuyu.

    There are Kikuyu who comprise the elite, just as there are Kalenjin, Luo, Luyia and so on. These elites have more in common with each other than with the poor. Similarly, there are millions of Kikuyu who like the rest are impoverished BUT tonight it is the Kikuyu who will be dragged from their homes and killed while Kibaki sits in State House growing more soporific on beer and the whisperings of his advisors who tell him all is well.

    Is this what we want? This blot on our national conscience? That reference in the Times to the self-perpetuating elite which slyly slipped in mention of the Kikuyu without drawing attention to the contradiction that for over 20 years Moi, a Kalenjin, stuffed every political post he could with Kalenjins or the fact that others like Odinga, a Luo, became a millionaire businessman is almost an endorsement, an acceptance that Kikuyu blood must be spilled to create this new Republic.

    Much rests now on how Odinga carries himself.

    Can he lead a genuine Orange Revolution? From where I am sitting, many of Kenya’s middle-class are outraged by the events unfolding and are not going to turn a blind eye to the massacres taking place tonight. I hear from Kumekucha that Kibera is under fire tonight with gunshots being heard there – GSU brutality in action. Those bullets are being fired at Luos.

    Odinga can pull this off but how different is he from Kibaki?

    It is not only the poor and disenfranchised that are enraged. Every successful revolution of the past has depended on middle-class support.

    I do see the logic in what Odinga is doing but I do not see the logic in splitting a country along tribal lines and I fear the ensuing bloodshed will not be healed easily if it becomes tribal warfare, it’s a wound that should never be opened. This is a political battle in that the democratic process was aborted by the blatant vote-rigging it is also, more importantly, an economic one and many have not seen trickle down theories put food on their tables or clothe their kids; it is not a tribal battle and Odinga needs to spell that out to the entire country, especially as nobody else is prepared to do so.

    Odinga needs to also spell out where he is planning to take the country, map out the big idea. NOW! If he fails to do this, we’ll just descend into senseless killing and anarchy. If Odinga is a true patriot he must take this moment and clarify his vision, his mission. Make a commitment to reducing poverty straight away. Give a time-table for reducing poverty, explain how it will be done, if you are serious Odinga. Under Kibaki poverty was reduced, people are hungry for a better life and if you want to lead this country Odinga, remember it’s the poor of ALL ethnicities who voted for you yesterday. Addendum: The vote was more anti-Kibaki and the corrupt old guard (the mzees (old men) of Kenyan politics) than pro-opposition. “The president was seen as doing a bad job in terms of ethnic balance.”

    Watching the election from the moment that it was clear the ECK were working hand in glove to overturn Odinga’s majority has been like watching a deja-vu nightmare. A friend from Kenya reminded me of Rwanda. Do Kenyans really want to go there? It is the predictability that makes me mad, any 10 year old could have seen this coming and so WHY did Kibaki play along with this madness? Don’t lives and peace count for that “pampered, self-perpetuating elite”?

    The following reaction of Muthoni Wanyeki of the Human Rights Commission to the stolen election was relayed to me earlier. She said, “They did it. Through attempts to disenfranchise Luo voters in Nairobi and finally through manipulating figures. We need a detailed, rigorous response, collectively, to express our anger and pain at how voters have been betrayed, and Kenya diminished, shamed before the rest of Africa and the world. Remember how we felt iin 2003? It’s all gone.”

    So how to explain the dead-eyed reaction of a US state department official calling Kibaki to congratulate him on his victory and asking Kenyans to accept the decision of the ECK, declaring that it is up to them to investigate claims of vote-rigging. Don’t they realize what has happened? You don’t ask a thief to account for the goods he has stolen.

    As my wise Kenyan friend said it’s “a political mugging”.