US congratulates Kenyan president on re-election
(AFP) – Dec 30, 2007
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US State Department Sunday congratulated Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on his re-election, and called on all sides to accept the results despite opposition allegations of ballot fraud.
“We obviously congratulate the president on his election,” department spokesman Rob McInturff told AFP.
“Again we would call on the people of Kenya to accept the results of the election and to move forward with the democratic process,” he said.
Kibaki was sworn in Sunday less than an hour after Kenya’s electoral commission announced he had defeated opposition leader Raila Odinga, who has accused Kibaki of stealing the election by rigging the tallying process.
The result’s announcement triggered riots in bastions of Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement in the capital Nairobi and western Kenya.
“I think the electoral commission in Kenya and the commissioner there would be the ultimate authority, and we would look to them to investigate any claims of fraud or mismanagement,” McInturff said.
“That said we would also, given that the results are out, congratulate and support the president and look forward to working with the people of Kenya in the coming years.”
[British] Government voices ‘real concerns’ over Kenya election ‘irregularities’
AFP, London, 30 December 2007
Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Sunday expressed “real concerns” at “irregularities” reported in the Kenyan presidential elections.
Miliband urged leaders in Nairobi to work together to address the irregularities noted by European Union observers and others, in a joint statement with International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.
The pair said deaths in election-related violence – in which 18 people have died since Thursday’s ballot – had marred the election in the former British colony, which became independent in 1963.
“This is a pivotal moment for Kenya, a time when the democratic process and election outcome has to be seen to be fair in the eyes of the Kenyan people,” they said.
“We congratulate Kenyan voters for conducting their vote in an orderly and dignified manner.
“But we have real concerns at the irregularities reported by the EU observers and others.” …
EU election observers in Kenya said Sunday that the country’s electoral commission had failed to ensure the vote’s credibility.
US questions Kenya poll ‘anomalies’
NAIROBI (Thomson Financial, 31 Dec 2007)
The US voiced concern today about ‘anomalies’ in Kenya’s disputed presidential election, noting that some constituencies had declared bizarrely high turnout figures.
‘The United States is however concerned by serious problems experienced during the vote-counting process,’ said a US government statement released by its embassy in Nairobi.
‘These included various anomalies with respect to unrealistically high voter turnout rates, close to 100 percent in some constituencies, discrepancies in the number of votes reported for the respective candidates, apparent manipulation of some election reporting documents, and long delays in reporting results.’…
Kibaki was hastily sworn on Sunday and appealed to the opposition to work with him in restoring stability across the east African nation, home to around 37 million people.
‘It is important that the rule of law be respected. Those alleging vote tampering may pursue legal remedies and should be able, consistent with respect for freedom of speech, to make their case publicly,’ Kibaki said.
Disputed Vote Plunges Kenya Into Bloodshed
Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times, 31 Dec 2007 Nairobi, page 1
…It took all of about 15 minutes on Sunday, after Kenya’s president was declared… for the country to explode.
“It’s war,” said Hudson Chate, a mechanic here, “tribal war.”… As the riots spread… the government banned all live media broadcasts. Western observers said Kenya’s election commission ignored unmistakable evidence of vote rigging to keep the government in power. Now, one of the most developed stable nations in Africa, which has a powerhouse economy and $1 billion/year tourism industry, has plunged into intense uncertainty, losing its sheen as an exemplary democracy and quickly descending into tribal bloodletting…
In Mathare… Luo gangs burned more than 100 homes… the only figures in downtown Nairobi, the capital which is usually choked with traffic, are helmeted soldiers hunched behind shields…
The European Union said its observers witnesed election officials in one constituency announce on election night that President Kibaki had won 50,145 votes. On Sunday… those same results were 75,261 votes.
Koki Muli, co-chairwoman of the Kenya Election Domestic Observation Forum, said she was in the room on Sunday when the EC was present with dozens of suspicious tally sheets – some missing signatures, others stamps – most from the President’s stronghold in central Kenya. In some areas more people voted for president than were registered to vote. “I saw this with my own eyes,” she said.
Ms. Muli said 75 of the 210 constituencies… more than one-third of the vote… had serious question marks… but [after initially saying it would] the EC refused to investigate… the commission then reconvened in front of reporters chosen by government officials and declared Kibaki the winner [by a 2% margin]… Kenya’s courts are notoriously corrupt… the first batch of results showed a sweeping victory for [Odinga]… ahead by over a million votes on Friday… Ms. Muli said it was clear the government had rigged the election….