Kenya Seeking Peaceful Way To Resolve Election Dispute

There is a lull in the violence which has wracked Kenya since President Kibaki claimed victory in the recent race for the presidency. Members of the Kenya Electoral Commission are considering asking the courts to organize an independent audit of election tallies in order to ascertain if Kibaki was actually the winner. At least two members of the commission already have had their homes burned to the ground in rural areas of the country where violence still has not completely abated. The Kenya constitution allows any citizen to seek judicial review of an issue, but some experts claim it may not be feasible for the Electoral Commission to be the agent seeking a recount. Raila Odinga of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement fears it may be too late to undertake an audit since key documents may have been “doctored.”

The international community is upset and concerned at events that occurred in Kenya. There is little doubt the final tally for the presidential race is not accurate. Most foreign observers like Britain’s Foreign Minister David Miliband are urging mediation. So far, President Kibaki has ruled out an interim coalition government which is desired by the ODM opposition and insists only the courts can over rule election results. But, is that possible if key documents have already been altered?

  • Mwene kalamu

    The actual election results are no longer the issue. With all due respect – because I am sure this is not your position – it is at best naïve and at worst irresponsible to assume that the unrest is a reaction only to the rigged elections. They are not the first and sadly I doubt they will be the last in the so-called democratic world. What is happening in Kenya is incredibly dangerous. The complexities of the tribal skirmishes pre-date independence. The roots of this malaise and the history of Kenya’s egomaniacal kleptocrats are bound-up with the design and collapse of empire as well as the aspirations of neo-colonialism.

    Having said this, 45 years after independence Kenyans have to take responsibility for tolerating self-serving leaders and for destroying 45 years of hard work in 10 days – 5 years of hard graft every 24 hours.

    I am certainly not blaming colonialism, the new-colonialism of the pre-1998 al’qaeda bombings in Nairobi or the era that followed during which Europe and the Us have propped-up an illusion of democracy. That’s the past.

    What I fear most is that if Kenya is unable to contain this unrest it will spiral not into a revolution for the sake of democracy but into a civil war in which the country is compromised as an intelligence gathering post for containing the
    al’Qaeda; that the Asian interest in this region (namely China) will mean that the politicians will not be discouraged in their tendencies to sack their won country and eradicate democracy.

  • Fred Stopsky

    Your comments are perceptive, analytical, and reflect your honesty to evaluate the factors operating in Kenya. Thanks for your ideas

  • Gandhi

    Kenya becomes important to the issue of democratic transition in Africa. One has to look at the goings on and ask the question whether we are going the right way in effecting transition to democracy in Africa. Nationalists thrived on usrpation of national institutions and polarisation of the masses. What is becoming apparent is that it is important to address the issue of freeing national institutions from the distortions of the previous system so that the foundation of the old authoritarian order does not keep rearing its ugly head time and again.

  • Fred Stopsky

    The tragedy of Africa is not having enough Nelson Mandelas to go around.