We demand credible election results in Kenya
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KENYA: ELECTORAL FRAUD SUPPORTED BY INTERNATIONAL ELECTION OBSERVERS
Kenya has just gone through a general election cycle that comes every five years. This is our sixth election after we made a major change in our old constitution that ushered in multi-party democracy, some 25 years ago. We can now say that we have sound experience in running our elections.
This is a great break from the past. However, though our paths to democracy have been marred with challenges, death as well as state-orchestrated terror and propaganda, we have remained consistent in this journey. We are now at a better placed than we were 25 years back.
These gains were forced by Kenyans themselves from the hands of government, and innumerable numbers of them lost their lives and property, and families shattered, predominantly in the hands of Kenya Police. And, looking back at the amount of help we received from our neighbors and international community along this treacherous path, we saw some Nordic countries, EU members and occasionally, US picking our hands and walking with us, stabilizing our weak steps and breathless lives. We can never forget them. They birthed our democracy. They listened to us, and embraced our story, saw our bigger picture and the promise we were chasing, gave us a home when our governments sent us away, shed a tear with us, and encouraged us along this path. They of course, could take the easy path, to reject us and support the government, like the other community of nations did. They willingly chose to stick out, at the risk of international isolation. They absolutely had no reason to support us in the promise we chased.
We now consider these painful experiences of our liberation fathers to have been sacrifices necessary to liberate us. They opened the democratic space that we enjoy today. They are long gone, or in their twilight years, and some of our young citizens may not know much about them. We are truly grateful to them. To their families from whom they were painfully extracted, even if not spoken, this land will forever be sincerely grateful.
Our reasons for rising against the government then, was because we wanted a democratic governance system that would spur trust and togetherness among the people of our country. We were fighting corruption, ethnic profiling, nepotism, inequality in our national development, politically-instigated murder, detention and torture of political leaders, and the limitations of the rights and free will of our people to elect their leaders through the ballot. Knowing the wealth of our land and the industry of our people, we wanted our government to work alongside its people to provide equal opportunity to all its citizens without discrimination. We pursued this more peacefully compared to many nations in Africa.
Today, our challenges are different and similar – a mix of both. We have a more robust, people-friendly constitution that protects our democracy. The devolution of national resources from the national to county governments provides us with assurance of some equitable development. Our citizens now experience the freedom borne of these sacrifices wherever in the country they live. One can appreciate the upward pace of development across the country, arising from devolution.
We are equally aware of the missed opportunities. The counties still suffer inadequate funding, thus slowing down their developments. The level of official corruption at both the national and county governments is massive. The practice of tribalism in state appointments tears the country apart as it makes others feel they are outsiders.
One of the biggest setbacks is our electoral system. Since 2002, many Kenyans believe that no other election has been conducted in a credible manner. No doubt, 2002 election was the only credible election. 2007 was not credible, and led to wide-spread inter-ethnic violence in Kenya pitting communities against each other and extreme state brutality, with the loss of over 1000 lives and many internally displaced citizens. 2013 was contested in the courts of Kenya. The judgement, though respected by the litigant, is perceived by many Kenyans and legal experts as shallow and leaning to support the rigged election. In the 2017 elections, despite many improvements in the electoral laws and processes, the outcome is clearly rigged in favor of Uhuru Kenyatta in blatant disregard to the law.
In these three elections, it is clear that the incumbents have maintained a tight control of all arms of government, and used them to advance their selfish re-election, acting in total disregard to our constitution, and disrespecting the rights of Kenyans to elect their leaders through the ballot. In all of them, and particularly the 2017 elections, the government of Kenya has used the security agencies, especially the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS), the Kenya Police Service, and the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) to rig Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta back into office. Since 2007, the use of Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) then, and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) now, to manipulate elections in favor of sitting presidents is very clear, and cannot be over-stated. The threats by government ministries and agencies to curtail media freedom to inform the public, the killing of IEBC officials, the attacks on the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) centers and infrastructure, the proclamation of the courts on some matters in the last two weeks preceding the elections, the inability of the IEBC to exercise control over its returning and presiding officers to return the electoral forms, the mishandling of election materials, the lack of efforts by IEBC to investigate the claims of hacking of its servers, the refusal of IEBC to allow NASA access to its servers, the curious 54%:44% ratio between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga from the start of counting, etc. This list is long.
From the foregoing, it is clear that this election has been rigged in favor of Uhuru Kenyatta, and was pre-designed as such. It was truly pointless for Kenyans to be made to waste both their taxes and time lining up to cast their ballots in the morning of 8/8/2017. Until the concerns and demands by NASA are met, the declared results from this election cannot be accepted.
But more worrying to Kenyans are two things: the fact that rigging of elections in Kenya has become a well formed habit being the third time in a row, and the unfortunate behavior and illogical attitude of international community and observers in supporting this vice. The international election observation groups that came in to observe the election represented hope to the people of Kenya, that they will help in stemming official electoral malpractices even if only by pointing them out. We welcomed all of them, to walk with us throughout this process. In this election, three phases were important: the ballot casting, the counting and tallying of results, and the results reporting and announcement. Prior to these, the initial phase of campaigning was equally important as it distilled the issues that were important to Kenyans in making their election choices, and defined how the campaign process was carried out. It is however, necessary to audit the use of state resources by Jubilee in its campaigns, and how NASA coalition was denied access to resources, the threats and intimidation directed at the opposition camps, etc. By looking holistically at all the four phases, it ought to be evident to all stakeholders and observers that this election was planned to be rigged in favor of Uhuru Kenyatta.
Sadly, the lack of understanding of local political issues on the part of the observers, their lack of depth on the four phases of our 2017 elections, their inability to understand the detailed process and make judgement on them, their eagerness to write quick reports indicate their incapacity or deliberate disinterest to deal with the problems and the issues. Instead, they gloss over it, and now have joined the government machinery to ask Rt. Hon. Raila to concede defeat, accept and move on, or to go to court, because ‘this country needs peace’.
We want to remind them that Kenya is ours, not theirs. That we are sovereign. We want to remind them of our genuine desire to maintain peace. But it must be peace founded on justice. We also want to remind them of our unending desire to express our inalienable rights to freely elect our leaders, and that our voices must be heard. These are rights that we cherish, and for which, if necessary, we are prepared to die. We are committed to isolating all issues that affect our people, pointing them out clearly, and curing them at the earliest instance. Only this way can we assure peaceful future for our country. Anything else is a facade. Nobody should attempt whatsoever to cover our eyes. We must identify our maladies and cure them.
Against this background, we would want to unequivocally rebuke the international observers, especially John Kerry of the Carter Centre and the Africa Union whose reports indicate that this election was free, fair and credible. Casting the ballots has never been a problem in Kenya since our independence in 1963. We surely are not monkeys who cannot queue and cast a ballot. Any casual observer would know that the problem has perennially been at counting, tallying and reporting the results. Therefore for anyone to proclaim the credibility of the elections when the counting and tallying is still underway, is not only a dereliction of duty, but great disservice to humanity; unless you are also as compromised as the IEBC election officials. As typical of 2007 and 2013, the critical phase of counting, transmission and tallying is where the 2017 election was bungled. This process was not credible, and its design was meant to subvert the free will of the people of Kenya as expressed when they cast their ballots. This final phase was opaque, poorly carried out and a sham, geared imminently to force a pre-determined outcome on our people. The people of Kenya are not stupid as not to detect this anomaly. How the observers chose to ignore this is mind boggling, and casts doubt on their personal credibility and capability to carry out this electoral observation mandate. They closed their eyes from an obvious criminal act for their convenience. Predictably so, by asking the NASA candidate, The Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga to concede defeat or go to court, they mean to maintain the status quo of rigging and everything poor leadership that our people are fighting. They clearly have no history of the struggle by our citizens for fundamental freedom and progress in Kenya, and how previous and current governments have fought this struggle.
By so doing, this team of so called international observers has annihilated our consistent quest to improve our democracy, and particularly, our free will to chose our leaders and hold them accountable through a peaceful civil process. They have failed to help us deal with the complex rigging process that has taken root in our country. They have set us up for a brutal fight. They have motioned us to go down this treacherous route. This path is dangerous, and as Kenyans we are clear that we don’t want to go down that route. Therefore, we reject anyone purporting to be our partner who does not want to help us cure our disease and cool down the flames. They are not genuine friends. They are enemies of our people. They trade our friendship for their business and personal interests.
As a people, and on the basis of the above, we state that we do not see any value that international observers add to our democratic process through observing our elections. We therefore ask that the global democratic community must distance itself from these reckless reports and views, especially of John Kerry and the African Union, or any other institution. We consequently ask them to keep off our elections. The UN must as a matter of great urgency, enquire into and audit the credibility of the announced results.
To the genuine friends of Kenya, who believe that a stable Kenya is founded firmly on solid tenets of democracy, we welcome you to our country, and stretch our hands out to you. We would like to borrow best practice from you, on how free, fair and credible elections are held.
As a country, we have come a long way down this path, and we are almost there. What is left is to ensure that election data is never compromised so as to overthrow the people’s will to elect their leaders. We call upon all our citizens and friends to be extremely vigilant in guarding our democratic gains, more so at this time. We must, nevertheless, be aware that in doing this, a lot of pain will be exerted on us, including death, to deter us from pressing on. If we remove our feet from the pedal, this boat will sink. We will have no country. It is in our collective interest to rise from the ashes and force our rights to be respected and our voices to be heard.
Long live Kenya. May God bless Kenya.
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