Kenyan elections happened yesterday – and people keep asking “Oh i hope you are safe” etc … that is much appreciated but just to put things straight:
Kenya saw a bit of rioting and battles with police, but it was constrained to 4-5 specific small areas, nobody in 99,9% of Kenya were in any danger from anything beyond overeating goat-bbq´s 🙂
All the international journalists are of course stationed at these trouble spots and as such you will see pretty wild pictures in newspapers around the world – but only a tiny fraction of Kenyans could actually take such a photo … here in Kahawa Sukari there are more cows grazing and students dancing to reggea than rioters (indeed we havent had a single one of the latter, just like almost everywhere else)
Tomorrow new reports of riots and fights with police will be in the headlines. That is because postponed elections are held in exactly those areas where there were trouble yesterday. But again, it will be in those 4-5 areas
The political situation? Well. The August 8 election had an 80% turnout and president Uhuru won re-election with around 54% of the vote. The Supreme Court annulled the election due to irregularities – however, those irregularities represented what looked like less than 100.000 voters maximum, and the president won by 1,5million votes. The main reason for annulment seems to have been the electoral commission, the IEBC, going to court trying to battle the petitioners as enemies rather than actually acting like an electoral body with an election to have verified. So, the IEBC refused to adhere to the Supreme Court order to let the election servers be examined and results verified, they made ridiculous claims like “We cant contact server support as Europe is sleeping and some servers are in France” (time difference is 1 hour). So, IEBC made it look very much like they had something to hide – even though the election itself looked credible … and thus the court ruled to annul the election.
That led to the new election yesterday which by every measure was much less credible than the August 8 one. The main opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrew prior to elections and called for a boycott, thus basically cancelling any credible race (but also shortfusing the process without giving any alternative) and:
– Electoral commisioners resigned prior to the election
– The supreme court failed to rule on the 26th election due to one of the supreme court justices being shot at the night before the ruling
– 5000+ polling stations failed to open (often due to harassment)
– Only about 30% of voters turned out
– The president won by 98%, as he was the only active candidate
– Voters in some areas were harassed for voting or into not voting
So. Now we have a much less credible election, lending little legitimacy to a president-elect presumably with almost 100% of the vote – but based on a turnout of only 30% (the head of the electoral commission bizarrely claimed that 6,5mio votes out of 19mio registered voters equalled 48%…it makes one wonder more about his competence than about the actual turnout number).
Right now it is all posturing, fist-fights between members of parliaments and outragious statements from leaders on both sides (An opposition leader just compared Kenyan police to nazis committing genocide and intending a holocaust … 3 people died in running street battles which was tragic, but comparing it to 7mio people deliberately killed because of who they were is simply idiotic)
Anyway. The likely way forward is back to the Supreme Court and maybe a negotiated coalition government with representatives from both sides. The alternatives? The Supreme Court could validate yesterdays election, but itd look severely strange to validate an election much inferior to August 8 – or they could call yet another election … lets hope for a negotiated solution.
PS: Below is a photo from elections in Lake Naivasha.