Africa: After Nigeria, could voters boot other African leaders? | Public Radio International

In becoming the first Nigerian to defeat a sitting president through the ballot box yesterday, Muhammadu Buhari’s victory turned into a political flashpoint for African hopefuls determined to set the same precedent in their country. In Kenya, five democratic elections have yet to see an opposition candidate successfully unseat a sitting president. But Raila Odinga, who lost in 2007 and 2013, said the outcome of Nigeria’s election gives him hope. Buhari, who is 72 years old, lost elections three times before his successful campaign. Odinga will be the same age when Kenya holds its sixth presidential elections in 2017. In Tanzania, a young presidential hopeful, January Makamba, hopes to unseat his country’s ruling party candidate in October. The incumbent president, Jakaya Kikwete, is ineligible to run for a third term. In the lead up to a hotly contested race, and in a climate of escalating sectarian tensions between Christian and Muslim communities in Tanzania, Makamba commended the importance of a ruling party concession.

Voting Blogs: Kenya 2013 elections: reflections on the Supreme Court ruling and the role of the judiciary in democratisation | openDemocracy

If the peaceful conduct of Kenya’s recent presidential elections was any kind of test of the development of the country’s new democratic culture, what happened in its aftermath bears even greater testimony to the fact that the culture of rule of law, democracy and constitutionalism may finally be taking root in Kenya as a nation and Kenyans as a people. After Kenya’s election body – the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya – declared Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s first President, the winner of the March 4 presidential elections by a slim margin (50.07%), his main rival, Raila Odinga, seized the Supreme Court, contesting the results. Considering promises by all sides during the campaigns to respect the outcome of the process, Odinga’s unexpected volte face not only froze the electoral process; it also upped anxieties and fears – as people were reminded of the violent experience of the 2007 elections – on what this might mean in the event of a ruling confirming, or voiding, the IEBC results.

Kenya: Peace restored in stronghold of Kenya’s election loser Odinga | Reuters

Calm returned to the western Kenyan stronghold of defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga on Monday after two days of running battles with police following the Supreme Court’s confirmation of his rival Uhuru Kenyatta as president-elect. Two people were shot dead in the unrest, but the violence was on a much smaller scale than the nationwide bloodshed that followed the 2007 election when the western city of Kisumu was one of the places worst affected places by deadly riots. This year there was little sign of any violence beyond Kisumu, which strongly backs Odinga, reflecting a desire by Kenyans to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed that badly damaged their economy, east Africa’s biggest, five years ago. A busy bus station that had been deserted since the rioting began on Saturday was once again bustling as passengers scrambled to board minibuses as they disgorged dozens returning from rural areas where they had fled for fear of violence. “Business is booming today. The demand has gone up and fares doubled since many are returning from home and others leaving for various places,” said Bonny Otieno, 32, transporter. “Politics is over and we’ve embarked on nation building.”

Kenya: Court to Recount Ballots, Scrutinize Forms in Vote Case | Businessweek

Kenya’s Supreme Court ordered a recount of ballots at 22 polling stations in this month’s presidential election and said it will analyze return forms as it decides on a challenge to the outcome of the vote. Raila Odinga, the outgoing prime minister, filed a petition in the nation’s highest court after he lost the March 4 election to Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president. Odinga has asked the court to overturn the result, saying the balloting was riddled with fraud and irregularities. “The re-tally shall aim at establishing whether the number of votes cast in each of these 22 polling stations exceeds the number of registered voters,” Justice Smokin Wanjala said at a pretrial hearing today in Nairobi, the capital. Turnout was a record 86 percent of 14.3 million registered voters across about 31,000 polling stations.

Kenya: Vote Commission Cites Bush V Gore in Defense | ABC News

A lawyer for Kenya’s election commission cited the U.S. Supreme Court case Bush vs. Gore on Thursday during arguments before a Kenya Supreme Court that must now rule on the outcome of this East African country’s presidential election. Ahmednasir Abdullahi told Kenya’s highest court Thursday it should adhere to judicial restraint and uphold the March 4 result from Kenya’s election commission showing that Uhuru Kenyatta won with 50.07 percent of the March 4 vote. Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the runner-up with 43 percent, and civil society groups are asking the court to order a new election because it wasn’t free and fair. The court is expected to rule by Saturday. Abdullahi quoted U.S. Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote after hearing the 2000 case that decided that U.S. presidential election, that the appearance of a split court on a highly politicized case risks undermining public confidence in the court.

Kenya: IEBC breached the law – Oraro | The Star

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has come under increased criticism for the manner in which it handled the March 4 poll. Counsel George Oraro acting for the Cord coalition and presidential candidate Raila Odinga said that the IEBC failed in three areas: the voter registration process, the actual voting process with regards to form 34 and form 36, and the failure by the IEBC to transmit the votes electronically. Oraro said that the process of voter registration was improperly done and that it is still not clear how many people were registered last October. He alleged that with the lack of a principal register, the number of number of registered voters was as yet unknown. Oraro further argued that the unsigned form 34 meant that the actual number of voters could not be verified.

Kenya: Petition challenging Kenyatta’s vote win to be heard | Reuters

Kenya’s Supreme Court hears a petition on Wednesday challenging the victory by Uhuru Kenyatta in this month’s presidential election, a case that will test Kenyan democracy five years after a disputed vote ignited tribal violence. Peaceful voting on March 4 went a long way to restoring Kenya’s reputation as one of Africa’s more stable democracies, reinforced when losing candidate Raila Odinga took his challenge to court rather than letting it play out on the streets. But the final test will come on Saturday, the deadline for the court to announce its ruling after petition hearings on Wednesday and Thursday. That is when the court will decide whether to uphold Kenyatta’s win or order another vote.

Kenya: Odinga Says Technology Failures Led to Vote Fraud | ThisDay

Lawyers challenging Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the Kenyan presidential election said on Wednesday new technology meant to counter fraud had broken down, leading to a manipulated vote count. Losing candidate Raila Odinga is contesting the result in court and both sides have agreed to accept the outcome. A disputed vote five years ago ignited tribal violence that dented Kenya’s reputation as a stable democracy but the presidential election on March 4 took place without bloodshed, reports Reuters. Lawyers for Odinga told the Supreme Court that the failure of an electronic system to transmit numbers from polling stations to a tallying centre and the breakdown of other equipment had undermined the chances of a transparent vote. “The voting system was prone to manipulation in the absence of electronic voter identification,” said Odinga’s lead counsel, George Oraro. “Tallying was manipulated to achieve certain results.”

Kenya: Court orders a partial recount of presidential votes | Reuters

Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday ordered a partial recount of ballots from the March 4 presidential election after losing candidate Raila Odinga alleged there were more votes cast at some polling stations than there were registered voters. A swift and transparent resolution of the dispute that has unnerved the stock market is seen as critical to restoring the reputation of Kenya as a stable democracy after violence following the 2007 election left more than 1,200 dead. This year’s election passed peacefully though and went a long way to restoring Kenya’s image. International observers said the voting was broadly credible, but the count then went for five days and monitors did not follow the entire process. Odinga has said there was “rampant illegality” in the first-round victory of his long-term rival Uhuru Kenyatta. The son of Kenya’s founding president, Kenyatta said the voting was “free and fair”. Adjudicating between the two political heavyweights is seen as a major test for the country’s reformed judiciary.

Kenya: Prime Minister Filing Election Challenge Saturday | VoA News

The runner-up in Kenya’s presidential election is filing a petition with the Supreme Court Saturday challenging the results.  The party of Prime Minister Raila Odinga says it will present to the court evidence of electoral fraud. Odinga’s CORD alliance has refused to accept the first-round victory of Jubilee candidate Uhuru Kenyatta. Results released last week by the country’s electoral commission, the IEBC, declared Mr. Kenyatta had won 50.07 percent of the vote, just enough to avoid a run-off with Mr. Odinga. The vote counting was delayed by a breakdown in an electronic transmission system. CORD has raised concerns about other alleged irregularities, including mismatched numbers coming from polling stations and cases where the number of votes cast in some areas exceeded the number of registered voters.

Kenya: Odinga seeks evidence from electoral commission | Reuters

Allies of Kenya’s defeated presidential contender Raila Odinga filed a petition on Tuesday asking the High Court to compel the electoral commission and mobile operator Safaricom to release documents to bolster their claim the vote was stolen. Uhuru Kenyatta, indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was declared the winner in a tightly contested election, which passed largely peacefully without a repeat of the violence that erupted after the last election in 2007, in which at least 1,200 people were killed. Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister, has so far refused to concede defeat. He says he will appeal to nullify Kenyatta’s victory on grounds of fraud, in what will be the first major substantive case for a new Supreme Court formed under a constitution adopted in 2010 referendum. Safaricom ran a mobile network that was used to transmit provisional results, until the election commission’s servers seized up and the commission switched to manual transmission.

Voting Blogs: Post Election Report: Kenyan Elections 2013 | The Monkey Cage

On March 4th Kenyans went to the polls to elect the country’s 4th president, among other officials. Most polling stations opened on time at 6 AM. Some, however, opened late due to late arrival of voting materials or the failure of the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits that were used to identify voters before they cast their ballots. It was the first time that Kenya had implemented an electronic voter register, the previous manual register having had hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of ghost voters. It was also the first election following the enactment of a new constitution in 2010, which doubled the number of elective contests in the general election. With the botched 2007 general election still fresh on everyone’s mind, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was keen on guarding the credibility of the process. The actual voting went relatively well. Besides a night attack on the eve of the election by a separatist group in the former Coast Province, there were no major incidents. Most polling stations closed at 5 PM and those that opened late were allowed to extend voting until 10 PM.

Kenya: Chief justice pledges fair hearing for election challenge | The Star Online

Kenya’s Supreme Court will handle any challenge to the result of last week’s presidential election in a fair and speedy manner, the chief justice said on Monday, two days after defeated candidate Raila Odinga threatened legal action over the outcome. Uhuru Kenyatta, indicted for crimes against humanity, was declared the winner on Saturday. Odinga refused to concede, although he urged his supporters to avoid any repeat of the violence that erupted after the last election in 2007. Chief justice Willy Mutunga, appointed in 2011 to reform a legal system accused of serving the interests of the elite, said politicians and political parties had confidence in the judiciary to handle all electoral disputes. A swift and transparent resolution of the dispute is seen as critical to restoring Kenya’s reputation as a stable democracy, something that was helped by last week’s largely peaceful vote.

Kenya: Audit after ‘count errors’ | BBC News

Kenya’s electoral commission has said it is auditing election results so far tallied to iron out discrepancies that have been detected. With 87% of constituencies declared from Monday’s vote, Uhuru Kenyatta retains a significant lead over his rival Prime Minister Raila Odinga. He has 50% of the vote, against 43.3% for Mr Odinga. A candidate needs more than 50% to avoid a run-off. Officials had said the results would be finalised on Friday. “There may have been errors and discrepancies here and there. Some we have already detected and we are working on them,” Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper quotes James Oswago, chief executive of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), as saying. … Mr Oswago’s announcement came after Mr Odinga’s Cord alliance had complained that the votes from 11 constituencies were missing from the 254 officially tallied so far, the Daily Nation reports. This meant that Mr Odinga was missing 281,611 votes compared to 25,863 for Mr Kenyatta for those constituencies, Cord said.

Kenya: Kenyatta Leads in Kenyan Election as Opponent Urges Recount | Bloomberg

Uhuru Kenyatta, facing crimes against humanity charges, led Kenya’s presidential vote as the electoral commission rejected his opponent’s call to stop tallying because of flaws and alleged manipulation. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said it had found no cases where votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters, as Prime Minister Raila Odinga’sCoalition for Reform and Democracy, or CORD, alleged earlier in the day, Chairman Issack Hassan said. “With the rigorous verification in place, there is no room to doctor the results whatsoever by any election official,” he told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. “We cannot stop tallying. This is a legal process.” Kenyatta, a deputy prime minister, received 3.13 million votes and Odinga got 2.56 million of the ballots declared from 45 percent of constituencies, according to the commission. Accusations by Odinga that he was robbed of victory in the last presidential election in December 2007 sparked two months of clashes that left more than 1,100 people dead and another 350,000 homeless.

Kenya: Fear stalks Kenya as Odinga partner calls for recount | BDlive

The political temperature rose sharply in Kenya on Thursday after one of the two camps competing for the presidency alleged the race had been rigged and that the laborious counting of votes should start again from zero. Hopes for a punctual outcome from Monday’s poll were dashed as arguments about the reasons for the failure of costly electronic voting intensified. Partial results from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission slowed to a trickle again on Thursday, with votes from little more than a third of the 291 constituencies tallied by nightfall. Even those results are almost certain to face legal challenges, prolonging the tension in Kenya. East Africa’s biggest and most hi-tech economy is barely moving and the country is stuck in a dangerous ethnic gridlock after most voters opted for their tribal choices. Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president, was still in the lead on Thursday but the electoral commission’s numbers were bluntly rejected by the coalition backing former prime minister Raila Odinga. “We have evidence that the results we have received have been doctored,” Mr Odinga’s running mate, outgoing Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, said.

Kenya: Election Body Rejects Recount as Kenyatta Lead Narrows | Bloomberg

Uhuru Kenyatta, facing charges of crimes against humanity, saw his lead in Kenya’s presidential vote narrow, after the electoral body rejected his opponent’s call for a recount because of flaws and alleged manipulation. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission found no cases where votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters, as Prime Minister Raila Odinga’sCoalition for Reform and Democracy alleged yesterday, Chairman Issack Hassan said. Kenyatta, a deputy prime minister, received 4.42 million votes to Odinga’s 3.94 million out of the ballots declared from 68 percent of constituencies, according to the commission. “With the rigorous verification in place, there is no room to doctor the results whatsoever by any election official,” Hassan told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. “We cannot stop tallying. This is a legal process.”

Kenya: Anxiety mounts in Kenya as vote results delayed after electronic voting system breaks down | The Globe and Mail

Election officials in Kenya began counting ballots by hand on Wednesday after the electronic voting system broke down, while a top presidential candidate levied charges that Britain is meddling in the vote. The party of Deputy Prime Minster Uhuru Kenyatta – the candidate who faces charges at the International Criminal Court and is the son of Kenya’s founding president – accused the British high commissioner of “shadowy, suspicious and rather animated involvement” in efforts to get the election commission to make a decision on how rejected ballots should be counted in the overall vote total. Mr. Kenyatta’s party also asked the high commissioner, Christian Turner, to explain what it called “the sudden upsurge of British military personnel” in Kenya. British troops attend a six-week training course near Mount Kenya before deploying to Afghanistan. A new battle group arrived the week before Kenyans voted.

Kenya: Uhuru Kenyatta takes early lead as Kenyan election results trickle in |

Uhuru Kenyatta, indicted for alleged crimes against humanity and the son of Kenya’s founding father, had an early lead Wednesday in the presidential election. With a little more than 40% of the vote counted, Kenyatta was ahead at 53% to 42% over his main rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, according to the election commission website. If Kenyatta wins, he will find himself in an unusual quandary. He has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for allegedly inciting a local militia to conduct reprisal attacks in the last election. His running mate, William Ruto, also faces ICC charges at The Hague. Both have denied the charges.

Kenya: Electronic system slows count | BBC

Counting of Kenyan election results has slowed down because of problems with the electronic systems. Returning officers were ordered to physically deliver paper copies of their constituency’s tallies to the counting centre in the capital. Election officials have urged patience. Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces trial at the International Criminal Court, has been leading in early presidential results declared from Monday’s tightly contested election. He is due to stand trial at The Hague next month for allegedly fuelling violence after the disputed 2007 election. He denies the charge. His closest rival is outgoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga. With provisional results in from more than 40% of polling stations earlier on Wednesday, Mr Odinga had 42% of the vote compared with Mr Kenyatta’s 53%.

Kenya: Elections marred by Mombasa violence |

Violence has flared on election day in Kenya, with at least 13 people killed in co-ordinated attacks on the coast. A group of 200 Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) secessionists armed with guns, machetes and bows and arrows set a trap for police before dawn, killing five officers, the Kenyan police inspector general, David Kimaiyo, said. One attacker also died. A second attack by secessionists in nearby Kilifi killed one police officer and five attackers, Kimaiyo said. A Kilifi police official, Clemence Wangai, said seven people had died in that assault, including an election official. The separatist group denied any responsibility for the attacks, however. “We are not responsible for any attacks anywhere in this region,” the MRC spokesman Mohammed Rashid Mraja told the Reuters news agency, adding that the group only sought change through peaceful means. Kenya is facing a huge test as it seeks to avoid a repeat of the ethnic violence left more than 1,100 people dead and 600,000 displaced following the 2007 election. Officials, candidates and media have made impassioned pleas for peace this time.

Kenya: Kenya beefs up security on eve of election | Al Jazeera

Kenya has deployed tens of thousands of police to ensure peaceful elections, a police spokesman said. Charles Owino said on Sunday that 99,000 police were out on the streets of major cities and towns on the eve of presidential and parliamentary elections in the East African nation. The authorities hope the move will help avert a repeat of deadly violence that engulfed the country after disputed elections in December 2007. Voters on Monday will cast six ballots for the president, parliament, governors, senators, councillors and a special women’s list. Some 23,000 observers, including 2,600 international monitors, will be deployed, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). But watchdogs such as Human Rights Watch have warned that the risk of renewed political violence is “perilously high”.

Kenya: Can Kenya’s judiciary and electoral commission pull it off? | Africa Report

The judiciary and electoral commission say they are prepared for the 4 March vote and will not repeat the mistakes of the contested December 2007 polls. What happens in Kenya’s 4 March election stretches far beyond the fortunes of the rival parties to the fate of the new institutions and political order established during the last four years. “The judiciary – not just the Supreme Court – faces a very, very serious test in these elections,” the chief justice Willy Mutunga tells The Africa Report. “Because in 2007 we were rejected, we were seen to be partisan. We’ve been building confidence in the institutions, the entire judiciary.” Mutunga explains that there are clear legal rules that will have to be followed on any of the electoral disputes. One of the rival presidential candidates, Raila Odinga, has already said that he regards the reformed judiciary as reliably impartial. In the 2007 elections Odinga told his party not to bother contesting the result because of the pervasive political bias of the judiciary. On the coming elections, Mutunga takes a fairly apocalyptic view: “We all realise that if our judiciary is rejected yet again then the institution will never survive.” But he is optimistic that the political reforms and the new constitution have changed the climate.

Editorials: Kenya, between hope and fear | openDemocracy

Many Kenyans will go to the polls on 4 March 2013 with a sense of trepidation. Three of the country’s four elections since 1992 have been accompanied by significant violence, with 2002 the exception. On each occasion politicians used local grievances over land and inequality to label supporters of rival candidates as ethnic “outsiders”. Militias were then used to force those same voters from their homes. Thousands of people were killed in violence around the 1992, 1997 and 2007 elections and tens of thousands more fled. Some of these supposed “outsiders” never returned to places where their families had lived for decades. No wonder, then, that many Kenyans see elections as something to endure rather than to celebrate. In light of this history, anyone of a nervous disposition might have hoped that this would be a straightforward election with a clear result. That looks unlikely, as on the eve of the vote the final result is too close to call. President Mwai Kibaki is retiring after two terms in office, and prime minister Raila Odinga is the frontrunner. But Odinga’s lead in the opinion polls is narrow, and he will almost certainly be denied an outright majority; in that case a run-off will be held in a few weeks’ time.

Editorials: Kenya’s Election Campaign Is Being Run On Amnesia |

I was negotiating one of Nairobi’s terrifying traffic circles — a maneuver that requires jumping over a lattice of open sewers while playing chicken with a line of trucks snorting their way toward Uganda and Congo — when I was confronted with a vision to chill the heart and drop the jaw. Twenty young Kenyan volunteers in T-shirts and caps printed with the candidate’s face were jiving and chanting on the back of a campaign truck as it trundled toward the Sarit Center shopping mall in Westlands: “Vote for Brother Paul!” It was my first day back in the city that was once my home, and I’d just caught a glimpse of what must surely be the overriding characteristic of this East African country’s forthcoming general elections: shamelessness. For Brother Paul, as he is known since he found God, was once plain Kamlesh Pattni, the smirking, mustachioed brains behind Goldenberg, the biggest financial scandal in Kenyan history. The scam, in which top officials looted public coffers by claiming compensation for phantom gold exports, sent the economy into a nose dive that cost Kenya at least 10 percent of G.D.P. in the 1990s. Yet Pattni clearly sees no reason why that awkward fact should bar him from office.

Kenya: Landlocked neighbours worried by possible Kenya poll violence | Reuters

Kenya’s landlocked neighbours are stocking up on fuel and food to prevent the kind of disruption they suffered after being cut off from the port of Mombasa by angry rioters following a disputed election five years ago. About 200 million people in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and eastern Congo could be affected if Kenya goes through a fresh bout of fighting when it holds presidential and parliamentary elections on March 4. The port of Mombasa serves its wide hinterland with imports that include oil, clinker which is used to make cement, steel, bitumen for road construction and second-hand cars, while the main exports include tea, coffee, and horticultural products. Some 95 percent of all the cargo coming in through the port is trucked by road. Truck drivers at a weigh bridge in the small town of Athi River on the fringes of the capital Nairobi said there were already fears of violence.

Kenya: Kenya high court delays elections to March 2013 | Reuters

Kenya’s High Court ruled on Friday that the next presidential and parliamentary elections should be held in March 2013 and not this August, unless the ruling coalition collapsed, forcing an earlier poll. The east African country’s next election will come under intense scrutiny because it will be the first under a new constitution, and the first since the 2007 poll that gave rise to fighting in which more than 1,220 people were killed. The government had proposed amending the constitution to delay the vote to December because of logistical problems, prompting petitioners to ask the High Court for a ruling.

Kenya: Kibaki and Odinga to set up new Electoral Commission – no electronic voting in Kenya in 2012 |

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have just two days to set in motion the mechanism that will give the country a new Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

… Mr Hassan said the commission is working on rules and regulations that will require political parties to reserve some seats for women candidates only during nominations. This will help attain the gender ratios set by the new Constitution.

He also said the commission will use a manual voting system in 2012 elections. This ends speculations that Kenya could have electronic voting in next year’s elections.