Things look bad in Kenya.
There was a general election on thursday. Huge turn-out for the first post-KANU election. Friday, results started to be anounced. The early trends were:
– a bunch of incumbent MPs lost their seats including most ministers
– Raila, the opposition candidate and ODM, his party were leading.
But then a lot of these results were not coming from Kibaki’s strongholds so a reversal was possible. And that happened saturday, at least as far as the presidential race. As it was getting very very close, the Electoral Commission (ECK) announced saturday evening that they won’t announce any further results until the next day. That cause some minor rioting in a few places.
And then sunday.. A fight almost erupted at the ECK when they announced a result in one of the remaining consistuencies. ODM’s officials claimed to have different result. Announcement interrupted and a few hours later, ECK announced incumbent Kibaki’s victory on the state TV with no journalists around. Kibabki was quickly sworn the same day in a private ceremony.
What’s so bad ?
Well, things look fishy:
– ODM won the parliamentary election and by a large margin and that makes a presidential lost hard to swallow (it’s not impossible with single-constutiencies and FPTP. All it takes is for the Kibaki/PNU vote to have been a close second in a bunch of them).
– The saturday evening to sunday morning “pause” looks way too convinient (but then again, one can think that ECK knew saturday evening that Kibaki had won but expected riots and paused to give security forces time to prepare).
– The bedroom swearing-in ceremony screams “stolen election”. I doubt it’s possible to legally reverse that ceremony (but then, the presidential term was expiring on that date and Kenya would have been without a legal president had the swearing in been delayed. I don’t know what kind of reasonning was behind the decision to have 3 days between the election and the end of the term ).
– The officials at some polling stations couldn’t be reached at all during that 16 hours pause (rain has been the official explanation).
– It seems like the late constituencies were not random at all. It’s hard to explain why results from remote places came quickly while results in easily accessible Kibaki strong-holds didn’t. The theory is that they were adjusted to narrow the gap.
– It also seems like in some constituencies, legislative and local results were announced and presidential results delayed, even if presidential results are supposed to be counted first. Those constituencies also went for the incumbent.
So all in all, it looks rigged. And with a tense ethnic climate and tense politics, the opposition’s predictable reaction, claiming victory and taking it to the streets, will make Kenya get ugly, very ugly. As a matter of fact, it has started. A media black-out has been announced, riotting is taking place, Kikuyus (Kibaki’s ethnic group), their houses, their businesses been attacked.