Sunday, 17 March 2013

The courts will decide

Riot police opened fire on Saturday, as Raila Odinga presented his papers to the court.

Hundreds of Odinga supporters in white shirts bearing the slogan Democracy on Trial gathered by the court in Nairobi to support the petition. The situation grew tense as Kenyan security forces turned up on horseback and in riot gear. Just before 10.30am, they fired teargas at the protesters and shot bullets into the air. The Observer saw one demonstrator and a bystander bloodied by security forces armed with batons and rifles.
Josiah Augo, 25, a student at Kenyatta University who joined the demonstration, said: "We were here peacefully and the police come with teargas. People started running, then one officer shot a student."
Odinga's running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, appealed for calm. "I want to call on the police to exercise restraint," he said. Kenya's police inspector general said through a spokesman that further public political demonstrations and prayer gatherings would be banned. After Odinga's lawyers filed their petition, demonstrators returned to the streets, taunting security officers with blood-stained T-shirts. Odinga lawyer Dalmas Otieno addressed the crowd. "We have got enough information to show that our victory was stolen," he shouted to cheers.
Some questions and answers on why they are fighting the announced results

james Brownsell: Why are you bringing this case to the Supreme Court? What are the merits of the case?
Rahema Abdul-Rahman: We want to end the culture of election rigging in Kenya and restore confidence in our democratic processes. Our case is well merited. We have evidence of the violation of statutory provisions relating to the conduct of elections, as well as falsified figures and outright ballot box stuffing.
We will, through our petition, test the pedigree of our judicial institutions in restoring electoral integrity in Kenya.
JB: Why not just accept defeat?
RA-R: Accepting defeat in the face of massive electoral irregularities is tantamount to legitimising impunity. We are taking this action on behalf of Kenya. We have an opportunity to clean up our electoral system and we will not let it pass - lest history condemns us harshly.
The people of Kenya deserve to be led by legitimate, elected leaders. We must put to an end the culture of letting those who tally our votes determine the outcome.
Elections should only be determined by Kenyans through a fair process.
JB: What actual, physical evidence do you have of rigging or tally tampering?
RA-R: We have massive evidence of electoral irregularities that render the entire presidential election a fraud.
We will be moving to court shortly, where we will lay bare the evidence for the world to see.
At this moment I don't wish to delve into the contents of our evidence, lest it prejudices our case.
Follow our in-depth spotlight coverage of the vote
JB: Do you worry that contesting the result in court will negatively affect the unity of the Kenyan people?
RA-R: There is no threat whatsoever to national unity. If anything, Kenyans are hurting from the inside. Long term peace and unity will be founded on justice and equity - where every Kenyan is satisfied with the outcome of the election.
And most importantly, we have fidelity to the rule of law, and that is why we are going to court to contest the results of the election.
JB: What next? If the court upholds the IEBC declaration, will ODM/CORD accept their ruling?
RA-R: We have made a commitment to abide by the decision of the Supreme Court - and we are challenging Uhuru [Kenyatta] and his team to make a similar commitment.
JB: If the court rules in your favour, will there be a head-to-head run-off?
RA-R: If the Supreme Court rules in our favour, then we will have a repeat of the presidential election within 60 days - and only the eight candidates who participated in the March 4 election will be eligible to contest.
[However,] we have only anticipated this being a contest between our candidate and Uhuru Kenyatta... In my view, I do not expect the other candidates to compete.
JB: What makes you think you have a better chance of winning in a straight run-off against Kenyatta?
RA-R: We have no doubt in our mind that we enjoy massive support from all Kenyans, and if the election is conducted in a free and fair manner and in accordance with the law, we will emerge victorious.
JB: What’s next for the ODM if Raila retires?
RA-R: ODM is bigger than any individual, it is a mass movement of all Kenyans, and we surely have no shortage of leaders in our party ranks. We will have plenty to pick from and I am sure Raila will still have a great role to play in shepherding the party.
Our court petition is not about Raila as a person. It is about Kenya, it is about building and strengthening our democractic institutions.
In pursuit of a better, reformed Kenya, we will not relent.

The Coalition for Reform and Democracy, known as CORD, Mr Odinga’s electoral alliance and a handful of civil-society activists have complained that the election commission’s sums seem off. Monitors found that, whereas 12.3m votes were cast for president, only 10.6m were recorded for the 47 governors—though ballots in both races were cast at the same time.
Activists also point out that election officials evicted observers from the tallying centre a day into the count. The commission said party agents were getting in the way of the count. Yet independent poll monitors, including representatives for the Carter Center, an American institute that monitors human rights, were chucked out, too. Maina Kiai, a former head of Kenya’s National Human Rights Commission, criticised what he called a “peace at all cost” agenda, which may have drawn attention away from vote-tampering. “The IEBC failed so remarkably it cannot be a cock-up,” he asserted.
In any event, many Kenyans trust that the supreme court will rule fairly on the matter. The chief justice, Willy Mutunga, is viewed as his own man. Along with a panel of five other judges he will decide whether Kenyans need to vote again.

The chief justice has said the proceedings will be held live. Just hope there are no power cuts, but in Kenya you can't be sure.

In the meantime, a Kenyatta is back in charge.

Uhuru Kenyatta must convince Kenyans he is his own man, as he is seen as a chip off the Kikuyu block by some.

A NOVELTY of Kenya’s first televised presidential debate was the sight of awkward questions being put to Uhuru Kenyatta. How would he run the country from the dock at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he faces a charge of crimes against humanity perpetrated during the previous election? And just how much land did he own? In the calm transatlantic tones acquired at Amherst, a private college in America, he said he would use video-conferencing if necessary and that he was not quite sure of the extent of his acres. Despite such vague replies, most opinion polls said that his performance in the debate gave him a modest lift.

He had run for president before, but only after being handpicked as successor to Kenya’s strongman, Daniel arap Moi, in a multiparty election in 2002. He lost that race to his godfather, Mwai Kibaki, now the outgoing president.
He then served under Mr Kibaki in various posts, including as finance minister, earning a reputation for headline-grabbing initiatives that often failed. He ordered Kenya’s legion of government ministers to surrender their Mercedes cars for more modest brands. But after a handful of auctions most senior officials climbed back into their limos

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