Living in Kenya these days often feels like an alternate reality far removed from the year and such alien concepts as the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and democratic freedoms. First, the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA, not to be confused with the space agency) carried out a mock swearing-in of its leader, Raila Odinga, as “the people’s president,” despite protests from the government, foreign envoys and some opinion leaders in the country.
The overreaction from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s embattled administration was swift and relentless, starting with a week-long illegal shutdown of four television stations, including the three largest independent TV stations, NTV, KTN News and Citizen TV, which collectively control 70 percent of total viewership.… Seguir leyendo »
In Nairobi on Tuesday, 2017 Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga swore himself in as the “people’s president” in front of a crowd of thousands of his supporters, but noticeably without the support of his opposition political coalition. Odinga’s ceremonial move to establish a parallel “people’s” government was the latest twist following months of electoral uncertainty and a repeat election in October, which the opposition boycotted.
Until shortly before the swearing-in ceremony, the police had vowed to arrest anyone who attempted to enter the park where the ceremony would be held. That didn’t happen. Instead, the police allowed the ceremony to go ahead peacefully, watching from a distance on horseback. … Seguir leyendo »
Like President Trump, Kenya’s opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has a nuclear button, one that he now says he is not afraid to use. He has refused to recognize President Uhuru Kenyatta’s controversial reelection and has vowed to have himself sworn in as president by the end of the month. This has drawn a predictably alarmed reaction from within the government with Attorney General Githu Muigai having warned Odinga that he risks being put to death for treason if he goes ahead.
The standoff over the presidency — now into its sixth month — has witnessed the first annulment of a presidential election in the continent’s history and has taken a terrible toll.… Seguir leyendo »
Seven years after enacting radical new constitutional provisions to tackle the marginalization and under-representation of women, the fight for equality in Kenya remains far from won. Although small but significant gains by women have been made – including the election of Kenya’s first female senators and governors – the constitution still requires that not more than two-thirds of elective or appointed public bodies be of the same gender. This is commonly referred to as the “two-thirds gender rule”.
In 2017, just 23 women were elected to the National Assembly (from 290 contested seats) and three women were to the Senate (from 47 contested seats).… Seguir leyendo »
Crisis Group’s recent publications on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including our 4 December 2017 report, examine the crisis provoked by President Joseph Kabila’s determination to hold onto power and repeatedly delayed elections. The DRC is only one of three African countries we cover whose future course could depend in part on the holding of credible elections: one vote past, in Kenya; one future, Zimbabwe’s 2018 polls; and one deferred, in the DRC.
These polls have had – or will have – important implications for democracy and stability not only in the three countries themselves but for the region as a whole.… Seguir leyendo »
This week Kenyans are going through a replay of their disastrous 2007 election, only in super-slow motion. A decade ago, the country endured a disputed election in which the incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki, was running for re-election against opposition leader Raila Odinga. Under intense pressure from the state and surrounded by armed paramilitary police, the head of the electoral commission declared Kibaki the president-elect. (The commissioner would later say that he did not know who had won.)
Within half an hour, as the sun was setting and darkness fell over the grounds of State House, Kibaki was hurriedly sworn in. “With the election now behind us,” he declared, “it’s time for healing and reconciliation.”… Seguir leyendo »
Kenya’s presidential election of 8 August was annulled by the Supreme Court, which ruled it unconstitutional – a historic first for the country, and for Africa. The election was repeated on 26 October. Turnout fell from 79.5 per cent to 38.8 per cent as the effects of opposition leader Raila Odinga’s boycott, broader public disenchantment with the credibility of the process and political fatigue made themselves felt. Even in areas supportive of the incumbent, President Uhuru Kenyatta, participation dropped sharply. On Monday 30 October, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared Kenyatta the winner, with 98 per cent of the vote.… Seguir leyendo »
Kenya held a rerun of its presidential election on Thursday, and Uhuru Kenyatta, the incumbent, will undoubtedly get the most votes. Under the circumstances, though, that hardly is a crowning achievement.
hursday’s vote was supposed to be a corrective for the election held in August, which was invalidated by the Supreme Court after the opposition leader Raila Odinga called it fraudulent and questioned its constitutionality. But earlier this month, citing the failure to fix the systematic flaws he had denounced, Mr. Odinga announced that he was withdrawing from the latest race and called on his supporters to boycott the voting on Thursday.… Seguir leyendo »
Kenyan voters are at the polls again today for the second time in three months. In September, the country’s Supreme Court annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Aug. 8 election victory over opposition leader Raila Odinga after allegations of fraud. The ruling, the first of its kind in Africa, has been hailed as a victory for the rule of law both in Kenya and across the continent.
But however pathbreaking the court’s ruling may be, the country’s electoral institutions are in crisis. In the weeks since the court’s ruling, Odinga has withdrawn from the race, citing a lack of confidence in the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IEBC) and calling on his supporters to boycott today’s voting.… Seguir leyendo »
On September 1, after Kenya’s Supreme Court became the first in Africa to nullify a flawed presidential election, Kenyans danced in the streets and some revelers pledged to convert to Seventh Day Adventism, the religion of Kenya’s somber chief justice, David Maraga. Then the mood darkened. President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose dubious victory had been overturned, told supporters that the judges were “crooks” and threatened to “fix” them. Chief Justice Maraga revealed that he and his bench colleagues had received numerous threats; when nearly $5 million mysteriously appeared in his bank account, he instructed the bank to return it at once.
A rerun was scheduled for October 26.… Seguir leyendo »
“La grandeza de una nación reside en su fidelidad a la Constitución y a la adherencia estricta al imperio de la la ley”. Estas palabras fueron pronunciadas el 1 de septiembre por David Maraga, presidente del Tribunal Supremo (TS) de Kenya, al anunciar la anulación de las elecciones presidenciales celebradas en el país el pasado 8 de agosto. El fallo de la máxima corte afirmaba que la declaración de Uhuru Kenyatta como vencedor de las mismas es “inválida y nula”, añadiendo que la junta electoral “falló, descuidó o rechazó conducir el proceso electoral de acuerdo a los dictámenes de la Constitución”.… Seguir leyendo »
Peace means so much more after you’ve experienced violence. Less than a month ago, my country, Kenya, held a hotly contested presidential election. On the morning the polls opened, my heart raced — I come from and work in the Kibera slums, and it is often said, “When Kibera burns, so does Kenya.” But not this time.
During my childhood, campaign season was the only time we ate rice. My mother would come home with a small portion of rice, a handout from a politician. “Where did the rice come from?” I would ask her, and she would say from someone campaigning, the name unimportant, her vote equally unassured.… Seguir leyendo »
In a ruling that shocked the world, the Kenyan Supreme Court on Friday annulled the Aug. 8 reelection of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ordered a fresh election — which will be held on Oct. 17.
Four of the six justices found that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) did not conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with law, and that it committed “irregularities and illegalities.”
On Aug. 11, Kenyatta was declared the winner with 54 percent of the vote against opposition candidate Raila Odinga’s 44 percent. International poll observers had endorsed the outcome, which appeared to be corroborated by a parallel vote tabulation.… Seguir leyendo »
On August 8, millions of Kenyans formed long, orderly lines outside polling stations across the country to vote in presidential and local elections. Kenya is notorious for corruption, and virtually all prior elections had been marred by rigging. This time, however, the US and Kenya’s other donors had invested $24 million in an electronic vote-tallying system designed to prevent interference. When Kenya’s electoral commission announced on August 11 that President Uhuru Kenyatta had won another five-year term with over 54 percent of the vote, observer teams from the African Union, the European Union, and the highly respected US-based Carter Center, led by former Secretary of State John Kerry, commended the electoral process and said they’d seen no evidence of significant fraud.… Seguir leyendo »
Despite claims of irregularity and the continuing risk of unrest, Kenya’s pivotal national and local elections on 8 August passed off in a largely peaceful manner. Millions of voters braved the elements and long queues, turning out to elect their representatives in an orderly fashion and, in so doing, demonstrating faith in their democratic system. This is an achievement that now must be protected and fortified.
The vote in one of Africa’s major democracies was fraught with danger, as Crisis Group has documented. A history of election-related violence, ethnic divisions and high stakes made for a potentially explosive combination. The world was watching closely, sending more than 5,000 foreign observers, drawn from all major regional and international organisations. … Seguir leyendo »
Raila Odinga is refusing to accept his likely loss in the 8 August presidential election, as he did in 1997, 2007 and 2013, because he claims the vote has been rigged against him.
While at the time of writing there seems to be less evidence that supports his assertions than in 2007 and 2013, the murder of the head of IT at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), and the IEBC’s decision to announce unofficial results, has created doubts in the mind of voters about the integrity of this election.
In a speech at Chatham House in 2016, Odinga emphasised that Kenya’s electoral body must be transparent in order to enable elections that are not only peaceful, but credible.… Seguir leyendo »
Kenyan voters will choose their next president Tuesday in one of Africa’s few competitive elections. Election outcomes in Africa are typically known well in advance because incumbents rarely lose: Sitting presidents and their designated successors have won 80 percent of elections since 1990.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was reelected last year after defeating his closest rival by more than 20 percentage points. In Tanzania, John Magufuli, the candidate of the country’s only ruling party since independence, beat his main opponent by more than 15 percentage points in 2015. Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, was just reelected this past weekend with more than 98 percent of the vote.… Seguir leyendo »
This city’s traffic jams may be the stuff of legend, but it’s surprisingly easy to get around these days. Journeys that usually involve hours stuck at gridlocked roundabouts, with police officers facing down honking matatu buses, now take a snappy half-hour. Kenya’s capital is gearing up for elections on Tuesday and for many residents, that means getting out of town.
Ever since 2007-8, when more than 1,100 people died in election-related violence and the country hovered on the brink of civil war, this jittery exodus has become a routine. In the run-up to each ballot, the interwoven strands that make up this diverse nation’s ethnic fabric are carefully unpicked, and residents head for the safety of their ancestral homelands.… Seguir leyendo »
On Aug. 8, Kenyans will cast their ballots for about 1,880 positions, including president and vice president. Over the past year, the electoral process has been marred by violence perpetrated by politicians, party agents, protesters and security forces. Will this affect voters’ decisions to turn up at the polls?
Surprisingly, violence before an election doesn’t drive down the vote overall
As one of us, Stephanie Burchard, found, election violence occurs in roughly 50 to 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s elections. Most incidents tend to be violent harassment and intimidation of voters and candidates, although about 20 to 30 percent of elections experience politically motivated assassinations.… Seguir leyendo »
Dear friends of Crisis Group,
On 8 August 2017, Kenyans will vote in eagerly anticipated local and presidential elections. The country’s strategic role as East Africa’s transport and commercial hub, the fact that it is one of the continent’s major democracies, and a history of election-related violence explain why these polls are so important and why they will be closely watched. As in past electoral cycles, the 2017 election is hard to call, the campaign has been vigorously fought and there is concern that voting could be marred by violence.
Since the start of the year, Crisis Group has been following the political campaigns and monitoring preparations for next Tuesday’s poll.… Seguir leyendo »