Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga (right) and co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka (left), Moses Wetangula (center back) have prepared cases against 60 IEBC officials who were complicit in the bungled election. PHOTO FILE | NATION
Here are some local headlines from the Standard online newspaper: “Jubilee fell into our trap, Raila Odinga now tells supporters.” “Jubilee: We will take Raila to the Hague [i.e., the International Criminal Court] if he causes chaos after October 26.” The news is full of threats and counter-threats, hate speech continues, and social media is filled with fake news.
The major recent event is that the IEBC has postponed the repeat election by nine days from October 17 to October 26. That is fine with me since I am out of Kenya on October 17 but will return on October 22 in time to observe the repeat election. I will then be able to give you my take on the repeat election and its aftermath. In my last September 12th report on Kenya election, I wrote, “Since the IEBC is going to be hard-pressed to conduct a credible election even in 60 days, it is questionable why they would agree to cut off 14 days for preparation.” With the added days, it is still going to be difficult for them to make sufficient changes in procedures and personnel to conduct a free and fair election.
The opposition, NASA, has demanded that at least 10 people (including the three top IT people) be removed and replaced before the election. They want a different company to print the ballots; they want numerous changes in procedures; they demand transparency. If their demands are not met, they will boycott the election as they will not consider the election creditable. Is this just a threat or will they really withdraw?
The Jubilee Party has attacked the IEBC and the four judges that voted to annul the first election, calling them “crooks.” Chief Justice David Maraga and the other three judges have been threatened with violence. Nonetheless Maraga has stated that, if there are no improvements in the October 26 election, the Supreme Court will annul this coming election also.
A law suit for misconduct was filed against Chief Justice David Maraga and then, after howls of protest, withdrawn. Another suit was filed against two of the other judges, claiming that they met secretly with the opposition which the opposition of course denies. The opposition on its side has revived a law suit against one of the two judges who voted to sustain the first election. NASA has demanded that the top officials at the electoral commission be investigated and prosecuted. The Director of Public Prosecution has ordered the police and anti-corruption to investigate, but, if Kenyan history is any precedent except for a few “small fries” no one will be charged, let alone convicted.
The annulment of the presidential election has opened a major can of worms. Citing the flaws in the presidential election as evidence for other irregularities, there are 330 petitions to annul local elections. I predict that only a few of these will succeed.
Cartoon from yesterday’s Daily Nation.
This repeat election is again putting the Kenyan economy on hold. When Uhuru was announced as the winner by the IEBC, the economy which had been in the doldrums started to pick up again as business people were relieved that the politics was finished and the country could return to normal. When the election was annulled business people again returned to a “wait and see” attitude before they would purchase replacement goods or make new investments. The Kenyan stock market is down considerably while the shilling lost some value.
The re-election will be on a Thursday. Will masses of people again travel upcountry to vote in their home area or will many of them plan just to sit it out in Nairobi and other major towns thereby losing their vote? One of our nephews who works in Thika, north of Nairobi, but is registered in Mbale in Kakamega County, told me that, since the bus fares upcountry before the first election doubled or tripled, he did not have sufficient funds to return home to vote. I doubt he will be able to vote on October 26.
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From 1998 to 2016, David Zarembka was the Coordinator of the African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams. He continues his peacemaking work in East Africa with Transforming Communities for Social Change (TCSC) and Friends Church Peace Team (FCPT). He has been involved with East and Central Africa since 1964 when he taught Rwandan refugees in Tanzania. David is married to Gladys Kamonya and lives in western Kenya. David is the author of A Peace of Africa: Reflections on Life in the Great Lakes Region.
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