Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"Free and fair presidential elections"

That's the motto of the Electoral Commission of Kenya. Unfortunately, in their most recent election, it seems they have failed to live up to it. Rather than being free and fair, Kenya's presidential election was fixed by the ruling party. Here's what the EU observation mission had to say:

The General Elections in the Republic of Kenya have fallen short of key international and regional standards for democratic elections. They were marred by a lack of transparency in the processing and tallying of presidential results, which raises concerns about the accuracy of the final result.
"Concerns" being diplomatic-speak for the following:
EU observers reported tallying results from the Kieni and Molo constituencies which contained a significantly lower number of votes for one of the candidates [President Mwai Kibaki] than the ones announced at ECK headquarters
The fix was so blatant that it was immediately challenged, resulting in a suspension in the announcement of results, then a media blackout, then rioting as outraged Kenyans took to the streets in anger. Now over 100 people are dead, and the toll looks set to rise despite the opposition's calls for calm. The opposition is now looking at using people power tactics, as seen in Ukraine, Georgia, and the Philippines, but they rely on the government having a sense of shame. Unfortunately, Kenya's government and security services don't, so I doubt they'll be successful.

The EU observation mission's preliminary report is here [PDF].