When President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the controversial Election Laws (Amendment) Bill into law in January this year and allowed the use of a manual back-up in case the electronic system failed, the Opposition threatened to call for mass action. The law allowed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to use “a complementary mechanism for identification of voters and transmission of election results” in case the gadgets failed. Although the commission’s CEO Ezra Chiloba said voters would be identified electronically, and that the manual system would only be used in the event that the former failed, the Opposition claimed that a manual voting system would allow ghost voters to participate in the elections, and termed the laws a plot by Jubilee to rig. The circus on the kind of electoral system that Kenya should embrace has been windy and controversial. The Nasa presidential candidate wanted only an electronic system, with no manual back-up, and his lawyer Paul Mwangi went to court to compel IEBC to stop the plan.
A majority of Kenyans are worried that cyberattacks will increase elections tampering and national security threats in future, according to a new survey. A study carried out by American-based Pew Research Centre showed 73 percent of Kenyans believe that sensitive national security information will be leaked from cyberattacks, while 72 percent said such attacks are a recipe for election interference. The research which was carried out in 26 countries globally, whose report was released over the weekend, also surveyed possibilities of cyberattacks on crucial public infrastructure such as power grids and telecommunication services.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is considering introducing an online voting system for Kenyans living in the Diaspora. Through his Twitter account, Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati stated that the system will enable the electoral body cut costs incurred during elections. He however emphasized the need for such a system to be secure and verifiable to avoid being compromised and manipulated. “IEBC is considering online voting for Diaspora to cut costs – but must be secure and verifiable.” Chebukati further said the Commission will engage various stakeholders including Parliament, before rolling out the system.
Elections are expensive, hotly contested affairs, and political consultants who appear to offer a candidate any edge are in high demand across the world. At the heart of the recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica are the unethical lengths to which such organizations will go to secure that edge, particularly in African countries like Kenya and Nigeria where there are fewer safeguards against such manipulation, and where the effects aren’t limited to the election of an unsavory candidate but include matters of life and death. Until recently, the impact of manipulations in electoral process by Western political consultants in Africa has been largely ignored, but in the past three years the consequences have become clear. The tactics that now have the United States and the United Kingdom in a panic resemble the election tinkering elsewhere.
An undercover investigation has blown the lid off the workings of Cambridge Analytica, the British data company that was suspected and now boasts of influencing Kenya’s 2017 presidential election. In a three-part series titled ‘Data, Democracy and Dirty Tricks’, Britain’s Channel 4 News exposes how the right-leaning digital marketing firm targets voters with propaganda to influence their voting decisions. In the investigation, the company’s bosses, including chief executive Alexander Nix, are secretly filmed saying they discreetly campaign in elections across the world through a web of shadowy front companies or by using sub-contractors.eny
Kenya: Political crisis grows, as opposition holds mock inauguration and government shuts down TV and radio stations | Los Angeles Times
Kenyan authorities shut down independent television and radio stations Tuesday as opposition leader Raila Odinga was “sworn in” as rival president in a mock inauguration that came after disputed elections last year. Shortly before 3 p.m., Odinga, clad in white, raised a green Bible in his right hand and swore an oath to assume the office of “People’s President,” promising to defend the constitution and to protect the sovereignty and dignity of the people of Kenya. “Today is a historic day in the history of Kenya. For the first time in our history people have gathered here in [the] hundreds of thousands to say enough is enough on election rigging,” Odinga said. “This step is one step away from doing away with electoral autocracy and establishing proper democracy in our country.”
The European Union’s chief observer for Kenya’s 2017 elections says the process was far from perfect, singling out, in particular, the country’s politicians. The EU mission is calling for Kenya to undertake reforms that will strengthen democracy. Speaking Tuesday at the European Parliament, the EU chief election observer in Kenya, Marietje Schaake, blamed politicians for problems with the country’s 2017 election. “The Kenyan people, including five million young people able to vote for the first time, did not fully enjoy their democratic rights as legally foreseen for all Kenyans,” said Schaake. “The electoral process was damaged by political leaders attacking independent institutions, and by a lack of dialogue between the opposing sides with escalating disputes and violence.”
In the run-up to Kenya’s August presidential election, the ruling party used divisive social media campaigns created by a U.S. company whose previous clients include President Donald Trump, a Britain-based privacy advocacy group said on Thursday. Two websites – one detailing the accomplishments of President Uhuru Kenyatta and the other attacking opposition leader Raila Odinga – share an IP address with Texas-based Harris Media LLC, according to Privacy International’s report.
Swearing in an alternative president of Kenya would be an act of treason, the country’s attorney general said on Thursday, days before an opposition leader expects to be inaugurated by an unofficial people’s assembly. Such an inauguration would worsen the rifts opened by an acrimonious election season, when more than 70 people died in political violence. The extended campaigns eventually led to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election. Attorney General Githu Muigai did not name anyone, but opposition leader Raila Odinga said last month that he would be inaugurated by a people’s assembly on Dec. 12 – Kenya’s Independence Day. Unless a candidate was declared the victor in an election by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the swearing-in was conducted by the Kenyan chief justice, Muigai told a news conference, such a inauguration is “a process wholly unanticipated by the constitution and is null and void”.
Kenya’s supreme court has upheld the victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta in last month’s controversial re-run of presidential elections, clearing the way for the 55-year-old leader to be sworn in for a second and final term next week. After hearing two days of arguments, a six-judge bench said two petitions demanding the cancellation of the polls were “without merit”. The ruling is unlikely to end the worst political crisis in a decade in east Africa’s richest and most developed economy, which has seen more than 60 people killed in political violence in three months. Opposition leaders immediately rejected the decision, while government supporters celebrated outside the court in central Nairobi.
Kenya’s Supreme Court is in its last day of hearing arguments on two petitions contesting results of the October 26 presidential election. Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner by a landslide after challenger Raila Odinga urged his supporters to boycott the poll, which was a re-run of the August election the court declared invalid. The two petitions were filed by a former lawmaker, Harun Mwau, and two human rights defenders, Njonjo Mue and Khalef Khalifa. The petitioners argued the electoral commission committed illegalities by going ahead with the election in spite of opposition leader Raila Odinga pulling out of the race.
Kenya’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the participation of the main opposition coalition in petitions challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in last month’s presidential election, in what may be the last chance for legal scrutiny of the vote. The ruling, on the first day of the court’s review of the petitions, is a setback for opposition leader Raila Odinga’s NASA coalition, which hopes to overturn President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the Oct. 26 poll. The court has until Nov. 20 to rule on the petitions, the latest chapter in a protracted political crisis that has stirred fears for the stability of the east African nation, a regional hub for trade, diplomacy and security. If the election result is upheld, Kenyatta will be sworn in on Nov. 28.
Kenya’s Supreme Court prepared on Tuesday to review petitions challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in last month’s presidential election, in what may be the last chance for legal scrutiny of the vote. Security was tight outside the courtroom, which has been center stage for Kenyan politics since it nullified the results of August’s presidential election. That decision led to the re-run election on Oct. 26. The court has not convened since the day before last month’s election, when it had been due to deliberate on a last-minute request to delay the vote. But that hearing was canceled because not enough judges showed up to make a quorum.
A former lawmaker filed a petition at Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in last month’s presidential election in a last minute move that opens the door to legal scrutiny of the vote. Harun Mwau filed the petition hours before a Monday deadline set by the constitution expired. Earlier in the day, a coalition of civil society groups said they were being targeted by the government in an effort to head off potential legal cases. The Supreme Court has until Nov. 14 to rule on election petitions. If it upholds the result, Kenyatta will be sworn in on Nov. 28.
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga told an audience in Washington Thursday that Kenyans are so upset over the presidential election that they are considering secession. Odinga, whose speech was broadcast on Kenyan television, told his audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that exclusion is the biggest problem in Kenyan politics today. He said unless that problem is addressed, it could tear the country apart. Odinga said all four of Kenya’s presidents since independence in 1963 have been from the Kikuyu or Kalenjin communities, despite the fact that the country is home to 44 recognized ethnic groups. President Uhuru Kenyatta is Kikuyu, and his deputy, who is expected to run in the next election, is Kalenjin. Odinga refused to compete in the recent presidential election, calling it a sham. Kenyatta won with 98 percent of the vote.
Just when many Kenyans thought they had seen the end of the country’s long election season, three petitions to contest the process were filed with the Supreme Court ahead of a Monday night deadline. The petitions target all sides in the presidential election controversy — the electoral commission, opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta. Former lawmaker Harun Mwau filed a petition against the electoral commission, known as the IEBC, as well as its chairman and President Kenyatta. Mwau is challenging the validity of the October 26 re-run presidential election, which he argues was held in violation of Supreme Court directions, the Constitution and relevant electoral laws.
Kenya’s key western trading partners and political allies urged talks to resolve a deadlock over the country’s presidential elections, as the nation’s top court began considering petitions challenging the outcome of last month’s vote rerun. The Oct. 26 rerun of an annulled vote two months earlier has polarized the East African nation and exposed “deep tribal and ethnic rifts” that have characterized Kenyan politics in the past, the Atlanta-based Carter Center said Wednesday in an emailed statement. Its appeal for negotiations echoed similar calls by the European Union and the U.S. last week. “Kenya is in dire need of dialogue and reconciliation,” the Carter Center said. “Though both President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga have made calls for peaceful co-existence, it is also important for the politicians to engage in dialogue to resolve this protracted political standoff.”
Kenyan activist Boniface Mwangi is calling out his country’s leaders as “tribal kingpins” that he says are taking the country to the brink of disaster. He and thousands of others have taken to the streets to protest corruption and what they say is an electoral system that exacerbates Kenya’s ethnic divisions. “I went to protest against police violence and got shot with a tear gas canister,” notes Mwangi, with more than a touch of irony. Tensions are especially high in Kenya after last week’s presidential election re-run. President Uhuru Kenyatta has now been declared the winner, with 98 percent of the vote. Challenger Raila Odinga boycotted the balloting, arguing it would not be free and fair. He said that about the original vote, too.
Kenya’s main opposition alliance said it won’t challenge the results that gave President Uhuru Kenyatta a landslide victory in last week’s disputed election rerun in court and instead vowed to mobilize its supporters to press for a another vote. “This election must not stand,” opposition leader Raila Odinga told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. “If allowed to stand, it will make a complete mockery of elections and might well be the end of the ballot as a means of instituting government in Kenya.” Musalia Mudavadi, a senior leader of Odinga’s four-party National Super Alliance, said that while private citizens may challenge the election in court, the coalition won’t take legal action against the vote. Kenyatta, 56, secured 98.3 percent of the vote in an Oct. 26 election that the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission said was free and fair, but was boycotted by Odinga, who described it as a sham. The electoral agency said the turnout dropped to 38.8 percent from 79 percent in the Aug. 8 contest, which the Supreme Court nullified after the electoral agency failed to disprove opposition claims of rigging.
Kenya’s incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta won 98 percent of the vote in a repeated election in which an opposition boycott helped lower turnout to 39 percent, the electoral commission said on Monday. The announcement touched off small protests in a few opposition strongholds but also celebrations in pro-Kenyatta areas. Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga said the Oct. 26 election was a farce. Civil society groups also cited problems with the vote. The violence has for the most part seen protesters clash with police but some Kenyans fear it is starting to take on ethnic overtones after two deaths in clashes between rival groups at the weekend. At least 66 people have died in overall election violence. On Monday, the U.S. ambassador said Washington was “profoundly concerned” by the outbreaks of violence since the re-run. Kenya is east Africa’s richest economy and a key security ally of the West against militant Islam. It also a key regional trade, logistics and trade hub.
Tensions were on the rise in western Kenya and parts of Nairobi amid confusion and discrepancies surrounding the country’s repeated presidential election this past week, with deadly violence breaking out in some areas. Shops were burned Friday night in Kawangware, a neighborhood in central Nairobi, and a civil society group reported that six people had been injured, including three with machete wounds. The neighborhood is a stronghold of the opposition leader Raila Odinga, who withdrew from the presidential race two weeks before the second vote. In western Kenya, where Mr. Odinga enjoys strong support, demonstrators clashed with the police. Six people were killed, 13 injured and 86 arrested in election-related unrest nationally, the police said late Friday.
It took the police the better part of two hours to haul away the bricks that had been stacked, at some point in the night, in front of the polling station at the Olympic Primary School. But few people in the sprawling Nairobi neighborhood of Kibera — as in many other places across Kenya — wanted anything to do with Thursday’s historic vote for president. Some Kibera residents spent the day lobbing stones at the police, while the police spent the day firing tear gas back. “This vote is a massive flop, whichever way you cut it,” said Maina Kiai, a leader of a Kenyan civil society coalition and a former United Nations special rapporteur. For decades, Kenya has been struggling to move from the shadow of dictatorship to a truly inclusive democracy, and the country has sacrificed much on that journey. Ten years ago, more than 1,100 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced after an election many thought was stolen.
Kenya’s presidential election rerun is set to go ahead on Thursday after the country’s supreme court failed to consider a petition to postpone the highly contentious vote. Amid high tension and fears of violence, only two supreme court judges attended a hearing on Wednesday morning – three short of the five judges needed for a quorum. “This matter cannot be heard this morning,” David Maraga, the chief justice, told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. Elections will now proceed, an election board lawyer said afterwards. Thursday’s disputed election was called after the supreme court annulled an election held in August due to procedural irregularities. The August presidential election was won by the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, by a margin of nine percentage points. Opposition leaders have said they do not believe the rerun will be fair and have called on supporters to stay at home, while Kenyatta has repeatedly said voting should go ahead.
Kenyans have begun voting in an election rerun that has polarised the country and is likely to be fiercely disputed in the absence of the opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is boycotting the poll. In stark contrast to the first election, which the supreme court annulled last month, many polling stations in Odinga strongholds saw only a trickle of voters. In Nairobi’s Kibera slum, tangled wire and charred streets marked the spots where there had been sporadic outbreaks of violence overnight. Police fired teargas at opposition supporters who tried to set up barricades in front of a polling station, prompting them to lob stones at the officers. Similar scenes were repeated in the western towns of Migori, Siaya and Homa Bay.
Kenyan opposition supporters clashed with police and threw up burning barricades on Thursday to challenge the legitimacy of an election rerun likely to return Uhuru Kenyatta as president of East Africa’s chief economic and political powerhouse. In the western city of Kisumu, stone-throwing youths heeding opposition leader Raila Odinga’s call for a voter boycott were met by live rounds, tear gas and water cannon. There were no immediate reports of casualties and Reuters found no polling stations open. In Kibera and Mathare, two volatile Nairobi slums, riot police patrolled. Protesters set fires in Kibera early in the morning. Nearly 50 people have been killed by security forces since the original August vote that Kenyatta won but which was annulled by the Supreme Court due to procedural irregularities.
Kenya stood on Tuesday at dangerous crossroads two days ahead of presidential elections, with deep divisions between rival leaders, publicly-voiced doubt over the vote’s credibility and a last-ditch legal bid to delay the poll. The opposition staged further protests, pursuing its vow to keep up the pressure from the street but also fuelling anxiety over potential violence on polling day and beyond. And in a further twist to the saga, the Supreme Court announced it would meet on the eve of voting to hear a petition to delay the election. Thursday’s drama is rooted in a decision by the same court to overturn the result of the first presidential election, which took place on August 8.
Ballot papers for Kenya’s presidential election next week have begun arriving in the country, in a sign that the troubled poll will probably go ahead. The final batch of papers is scheduled to arrive from Dubai on Tuesday, less than 48 hours before Kenyans vote for a second time in less than three months to elect a president. There have been widespread doubts that the Kenyan election officials could overcome huge logistical obstacles to organise the election, taking place after the supreme court annulled the result of an election in August won by the incumbent president, Uhuru Kenyatta. That the ballot papers have had to be printed overseas – candidates and parties were unwilling to trust local firms – is evidence of the acrimony and mutual suspicion that characterises politics in Kenya.
After his fellow commissioner fled the country, citing threats to her life, Kenya’s top election official on Wednesday accused the nation’s political parties of undermining the country’s stability and warned that he was not confident that next week’s presidential election would be credible. Kenyans are scheduled to vote — again — for president on Oct. 26. The nation’s current president, Uhuru Kenyatta, handily won the first election in August, beating the veteran opposition leader, Raila Odinga, by 1.4 million votes. But Mr. Odinga turned to Kenya’s Supreme Court, arguing that the vote had been manipulated to assure the president’s victory. To the nation’s surprise, the court ruled that the vote was flawed and, in a first for Africa, annulled the results, paving the way for a new election. Still, Mr. Odinga said he would withdraw from the race anyway, insisting that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission was deeply biased against him and would not be able to fix its underlying problems by election day.
An appeal against the decision to allow more presidential candidates in next week’s repeat election was withdrawn on Thursday after dramatic court proceedings. Claims of bribery and a last-minute change of lawyers representing Abraham Kiplagat, who had appealed the High Court decision that opened the door for five other presidential candidates for the October 26 poll, rocked the hearing at the Court of Appeal. The case was an appeal against a judgement that allowed Thirdway Alliance candidate Ekuru Aukot’s name to be included on the ballot for the October 26 poll.
The chief executive of Kenya’s election board, who the opposition has demanded must be fired before a repeat presidential election scheduled for Oct. 26, said on Friday he was taking three weeks of leave. Ezra Chiloba said he had taken a personal decision to take leave in light of the opposition’s demands, without giving more details. He said all arrangements were in place for the election, as ordered by the Supreme Court. “This is the first time I‘m taking leave since my son was born. He turns two years (old) in two weeks’ time,” he told Reuters. The court annulled the first election, held in August and in which incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner, over procedural irregularities.