Monday, January 21, 2008

The Great Divide

Michael Holman & Greg Mills


The unfolding catastrophe in Kenya, where elections have triggered the country’s worst crisis and violence since independence, raises questions that go to the heart of Africa’s development challenge.

Kenya, along with Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Africa, are four African countries which are regarded not only as encouraging examples of political reform and economic progress, but as states with wider potential.

Not only could they turn their respective regions in West, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa around, but in so doing drive the continent forward. Together they total more than one-third of sub-Saharan Africa’s 750 million people and over half of its combined economy. 

But elections in each over the past 18 months have not gone quite to plan, raising doubts not only about the path of these countries, but the impact on their regions and the role that external actors might play in ensuring stability.

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Posted by Firoze Manji on 01/21 at 08:58 PM

Moderate majority must defeat ethnic hawks

By KARIM ANJARWALLA

Kenya is being held captive by two groups of people. Those whose primary objective was to rig the presidential elections — call them the ethnic riggers — and those who inflame ethnic hatred and cause death, destruction and displacement — call them the ethnic warriors.

The ethnic riggers do not believe that the Kenyan people have a right to freely and fairly elect their own leaders. They believe that the Kenyan people are inherently too stupid to do so. Crucially, they also believe that their own interests may not be best served by the results of a free and fair election.

Ethnic riggers were to be found on both sides of the political divide. However, the ethnic riggers who favoured President Mwai Kibaki were obviously more successful and creative than the ethnic riggers who favoured Raila Odinga.

The ethnic warriors on the other hand believe that killing and maiming people and destroying Kenyans’ property because these Kenyans belong to the “other tribe” is a valid method of enhancing their negotiating position in the current political dispute.

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Posted by Firoze Manji on 01/21 at 08:58 PM

The December 2007 Kenya presidential election: where did fraud occur?

Dr. David Ndii
and
Dr. Karuti Kanyinga

Electoral fraud is hard to prove. This is one of the reasons as to why political operatives frequently engage in it the world over, though not always successfully. The predicted closeness of the presidential race before the election may have contributed to an irresistible temptation on all sides to participate in fraud—or at least predict its occurrence. Since the counting began, members of political parties, accredited observers, both domestic and international, as well as civil society organisations and wananchi have lodged allegations of rigging. Commissioners of the ECK including its chairman have also cast aspersions on the results.

But what truth is there to these claims? There are two opposing claims. There are those who contend that it is still possible to get to the truth, that is, to know who Kenyans elected president of the republic on the 27th of December. The other view is that the records have been compromised to the extent that the true outcome will never be known. In this article we provide some preliminary analysis of the official presidential election results released by ECK which provides statistical evidence consistent with the claims that significant fraud may have taken place. Our analysis entails showing the discrepancies between parliamentary and presidential vote tallies. We use the 2002 results as a benchmark to arrive at an estimate of the magnitude of fraud that could have taken place. Numbers by themselves do not “prove” every instance fraud, but they are highly suggestive and allow us to provide information on whether realistic attempts at fraud might have swung the result of the presidential election. Our analysis suggests that the magnitude of fraud would have been sufficient to affect the outcome.

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Posted by Firoze Manji on 01/21 at 08:56 PM

News Roundup 21 January (2)

Todays roundup:

The British are yet to decide whether to recognise Kibaki’s regime as ligitimate, and Kibaki regime protests at the debate in the UK parliament on the Kenya elections.

Europe suspends aid.

Kenyans for Peace through Truth and Justice analysis of the electoral rigging gets circulated widely. Anglican bishops express concern about the ‘present, painful and damaging crisis’.

ODM pursues its policy of economic boycott of target companies linked to Kibaki. Assesments are that there is no short term resolution of the crisis. In response, Kibaki’s regime threatens to ‘crack down’ on the opposition. ODM responds that they will continue to struggle however long it takes. Video clips of Odinga saying he’s ready to talk. Police in Kisumu have apparently licenced a funeral service for victis of police in mass protests. Meanwhile, 5000 police recruits have been put on duty as reinforcement. PazaSauti explains why Raila should prepare for his day in court.

ODM welcomes President Museveni of Uganda in mediation. Ghanaian President Kufuor will brief the AU Summit on the Kenya crisis. Wangari Maathai has dismissed the mediation team led by Musyoka saying it will not solve the impasses.

People continue to be killed, homes set on fire, and police continue their extrajudicial killings. The number of people forced out of their homes escalates

The economy - Kenyan and East African - is suffering as a result of the crisis, with the sale of Safaricom going back to the drawing board, organised dumping taking place on a wide scals; losses in the real estate market; piling up of cargo at the ports; and disruption of cargo transit by rail to Uganda.

Schools and health facilities continue to be disrupted.

Meanwhile two young stowaways survive an 8-hour journey.

Also in Pambazuka News Action Alerts: Signs in Kenya That Killings Were Planned/ Karim Anjarwalla on why the ‘moderate majority’ must defeat the ethnic hawks/Michael Holman & Greg Mills on the unfolding catastrophe in Kenya/Dr. David Ndii and Dr. Karuti Kanyinga on where the fraud in the elections occurred.

... and much more.

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Posted by Firoze Manji on 01/21 at 08:54 PM

Signs in Kenya That Killings Were Planned

By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

KERINGET, Kenya — At first the violence seemed as spontaneous as it was shocking, with machete-wielding mobs hacking people to death and burning women and children alive in a country that was celebrated as one of Africa’s most stable.

But a closer look at what has unfolded in the past three weeks, since a deeply flawed election plunged Kenya into chaos, shows that some of the bloodletting that has left more than 650 people dead may have been premeditated and organized.

Leaflets calling for ethnic killings mysteriously appeared before the voting. Politicians with both the government and opposition parties gave speeches that stoked long-standing hatred among ethnic groups. And local tribal chiefs held meetings to plot attacks on rivals, according to some of them and their followers.

As soon as the election results were announced, handing a suspiciously thin margin of victory to Kenya’s president, Mwai Kibaki — whose policies of favoring his own ethnic group have marginalized about half the country — all the elements lined up for the violence to explode.

Thousands of young men swept the countryside, burning homes and attacking members of rival ethnic groups. The killings go on. On Friday, six bodies arrived at a morgue in the town of Narok, northwest of Nairobi, some with deep spear wounds. On a strip of white medical tape affixed to the victims’ foreheads was written their names, dates of death and the cause: “Post-elections violence.”

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Posted by Firoze Manji on 01/21 at 03:01 PM

News Roundup 21 January

Kenya: More Killed as Rivals Differ Over Peace Talks: “Ten more people were killed in different parts of the country as the Government and ODM continued to differ over the way forward in the search for a peaceful settlement to the current political crisis.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Latest.)

How Heroic Woman Died in Inferno: “A disabled woman who was a source of hope and inspiration in a village ravaged by poverty and despair was among 35 people killed in the single worst mass killing episode in post-election violence in Eldoret.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Kenya.)

Kenya government condemns ‘sabotage’ plan: “The Kenyan government condemned as ‘illegal sabotage’ on Monday a plan by the opposition to widen its protests against President Mwai Kibaki’s re-election to a boycott of companies linked to his allies. After a bloody weekend that added to the death toll of around 650 since the December 27 vote, the Orange Democratic Movement vowed to continue street rallies.”
(Via Mail & Guardian Online.)

Kenya: Justice Commission is the Way to Peace: “Not too long after the Kibaki government came to power, we spurned the opportunity to establish a kind of truth, justice and reconciliation commission.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Latest.)

Kenya: State Dismisses UK Remark: “The Government Sunday dismissed a remark by a British deputy minister that the European country does not recognise President Kibaki’s government.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Latest.)

Kenya: UN Agency Opposes Plan to Close Camps: “The UN Children’s agency, Unicef, Sunday expressed concerns over Government’s plan to close all camps and send the displaced back to their homes.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Latest.)

Kenya: More Killed as Rivals Differ Over Peace Talks: “Ten more people were killed in different parts of the country as the Government and ODM continued to differ over the way forward in the search for a peaceful settlement to the current political crisis.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Latest.)

Kenya suffers setback in democratic freedom: “Kenyas political freedom index has moved from free to partly free due to the events surrounding last years polls, an international rights body has reported.”

(Via Nationmedia.com - Politics.)

Civil society calls for aid freeze: “The civil society Sunday called on western donors to freeze aid to Kenya.”

(Via Nationmedia.com - Politics.)

Restore public faith in courts, CJ told: “The International Commission of Jurists has appealed to the Chief Justice to urgently restore public confidence in the Judiciary as the custodian of the law.”

(Via Nationmedia.com - Politics.)

Families Return Home to Start Life Afresh: “Displaced families in the Rift Valley are slowly returning to their farms to start life afresh.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Kenya.)

Varsity Recalls First Batch of Students: “Moi University in Eldoret opens its doors to the first group of students Monday after the December holidays were extended due to violence over the disputed presidential election.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Kenya.)

Policeman Killed As He Tries to Prevent Robbery: “A police officer was killed by gangsters Sunday as he tried to foil a robbery at a shop in Nairobi’s Ronald Ngala Street.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Kenya.)

Long-Serving Magistrate Takes ‘Christmas Gift’ in Her Stride: “She had just arrived in Nakuru Town three days to Christmas and was ready to join her husband and two children for the festivities.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Kenya.)

Kalonzo-Led Team to Start Work Monday: “The team appointed by President Kibaki last week to spearhead dialogue and reconciliation towards quelling political violence sparked by his controversial swearing-in is expected to begin work Monday.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Kenya.)

We May Never Know His Name, But He Will Not Be Forgotten: “As the daughter of a professional photographer, I learned to appreciate the power of images at a very young age. My father always carried a camera, even when he was not working, because, as he told me, ‘some of the best and most memorable photos are taken when you least expect to take them’.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Kenya.)

Country Suffers Setback in Democratic Freedom: “Kenya’s political freedom index has moved from ‘free’ to ‘partly free’ due to the events surrounding last year’s polls, an international rights body has reported.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Kenya.)

Justice Commission is the Way to Peace: “Not too long after the Kibaki government came to power, we spurned the opportunity to establish a kind of truth, justice and reconciliation commission.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Kenya.)

Editorial: Police Decision to Arrest William Ruto A Wrong Path: “We elect leaders in Kenya; the season might have changed that selfish crooks in politics of yesterday decide against the will of the people and handpick their own choices-the unpopular! The Kibaki!

Power dictates greedy unidirectional leaders to eliminate not by good cause, but disregard of other communities. So a former chief commander of the armed [...]”

(Via Public Eye Group.)

What lies ahead for Kibaki Presidency? (Posted 1/20/2008): “With the apparent transformation of inter-ethnic relations and the hardened positions adopted by the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement, it seems the break-up of the political alliance between Kenyas two largest communities has happened again. Will the President have the authority and international recognition to govern? DN”

(Via AfricaFiles InfoServ: Recent Postings.)

Kenya: Let’s free our children from bondage of ethnic bigotry (Posted 1/20/2008): “A Psychiatrist describes some of the situations faced by children and youths in Kenya following the ritos after the results of the December election, and suggests what needs to happen now - not later.  JDN”

(Via AfricaFiles InfoServ: Recent Postings.)

Kenya: "How will we feed the children?" (Posted 1/20/2008): “The market in Nyanza Province where they bought food for the orphans was burnt down, and their income-generating activies have also been destroyed.  JDN”

(Via AfricaFiles InfoServ: Recent Postings.)

Kenyan Crisis - Living Through Death And Violence: “Florence Radull-Goroba took leave from her hectic schedule at Mmegi to visit friends and relatives in her home country, Kenya during the festive season. She was looking forward to a rewarding rest and to exercise her constitutional right to vote in the general elections. But what awaited her and the rest of the Kenyan population was not what she bargained for. She narrates her shocking Kenyan experience.”

(Via AllAfrica News: Kenya.)

Posted by Firoze Manji on 01/21 at 08:56 AM
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