Kenyan Election: KPTJ challenges IEBC and Registrar of Parties; Police remain unready; “Minefield” for Women

From the Sunday press conference of Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice, the released statement below warrants a careful reading.  Leading Kenyan civil society groups make it clear that:

the institutions charged with the regulation of political affairs have displayed a disturbing reluctance to enforce their respective mandates with regard to regulating political competition and ensuring adherence to electoral laws. The IEBC has displayed, within the last week, a tendency to buckle under to political pressure by repeatedly shifting timelines relating to the submission of nomination lists at the whim of the stronger political parties. This reinforces concerns around the independence of the IEBC, which were already raised in connection with the intervention by the executive in procurement of biometric voter registration (BVR) equipment.
The IEBC has also displayed a ‘hands off’ policy with regard to its regulatory mandate in respect of the nominations exercise. This is of particular concern because the IEBC will have to make bold decisions and interventions at the March 4th general elections if the country is to observe a credible, peaceful, free and fair election. Of further concern is the huge delay in rolling out civic education. This is despite the forthcoming elections being of an unprecedented nature in the history of elections in the country.

. . . .

The IEBC is required to regulate and monitor the process by which political parties nominate their candidates. The Commission only monitored that process and did not in any way regulate it. It was left to political parties to regulate themselves with disastrous consequences.
The Registrar of Political Parties has displayed an unwillingness to enforce her mandate and powers conferred upon her office by the Political Parties Act to rein in rogue political actors. . . .

KPTJ Statement on Political Party Nominations and mandate of IEBC 27.1.13

“Are Kenyan Police Ready for Elections?:  Force still under-resourced and poorly equipped as March polls approach”, from the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, iwpr.net:

As a result of the bloodshed, the government launched a programme of reforms to turn the police into a more accountable and professional force. Although the appointment of an inspector-general in December is seen as an important step forward, experts warn that the force still lacks the skills and equipment to contain outbreaks of violence around the April elections.

“Kenyans should not expect much difference in terms of capacity and professionalism from the police because they have not acquired much [since 2008],” Simiyu Werunga, a security consultant who heads the African Centre for Security and Strategic Studies, told IWPR.

“Women Navigate a Political Minefield in Kenya,” IPS, Inter Press Service:

Blatant discrimination, threats and intimidations, an uneven playing field and a largely unsympathetic public have turned electoral politics into a veritable minefield for women hoping to secure top government posts.

Despite adopting a more gender sensitive constitution back in 2010, in which Article 81(b) stipulates that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender, male-dominated parties continue to make a farce of the little political space offered to women.

“The Long Road to Internal Party Democracy” from The Star via AllAfrica.com.

Some Notes from Kenya (updated)

As Kenyans and Kenya watchers in the U.S. are recognizing the increasing number of challenges in the political system in preparing for next year’s critical transition election, another key driver of frustration and instability among the wananchi has been high inflation at a time of slower growth.  There is some positive news in that inflation has continued to arc downward after peaking at over 20% last November.  From The Standard, “Cost of living eases as inflation falls to 5.3%”:

But even as the economy continues to paint a grim outlook, the cost of living dropped with the overall month-on-month inflation falling   to 5.32 per cent in September from 6.09 per cent in August.

According to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the economy expanded by 3.3 per cent compared to a growth of 3.5 per cent in a similar period last year.

Agriculture and forestry slowed substantially growing by 1.6 per cent compared to a growth of 4.2 per cent in the second quarter of last year.

The decline in performance of agriculture was mainly an outcome of a decrease in exports of cut flowers, fruits, vegetables and tea.

Although job prospects for young Kenyans will remain extremely problematic, some relief from the escalation of staple food prices in particular, if it continues, will help reduce pressure on the poor.

Meanwhile, Members of Parliament took care of themselves by amending the Elections Act to allow “party hopping” as reported by The Star:

The MPs approved the  Election (Amendment) (No 2) Bill and effectively changed Section 34(8) of the Elections Act which required that a member should be in the party list on which to contest the election three months before the list is submitted to the Registrar of Political Parties.

Now the parties are required to submit their lists not later than January 4. Only those on these lists will be allowed to vie or be nominated to the National Assembly or Senate. Those vying as independent candidates however are guided by a different regulation.

The original Act required that members belong to the party through which they will vie for seats by yesterday, which was three months to January 4.

The changes made yesterday mean that the over 100 MPs who want to leave parties which sponsored them to Parliament will serve their full term without any legal challenge.

According to this story from IRIN, the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture reports that 90% of the food consumed in Kenya comes from smallholder farms. The number of smallholders practicing irrigation has increased from 400,000 to an estimated 700,000 over the past two years, according to the Ministry. Stil just 1.7 percent of the country’s arable land is irrigated, while the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates it has 300,000 hectares with irrigation potential.

On the healthcare front, doctors in Kenya’s public hospitals agreed to end their strike in it’s third week as reported by Capital FM from allafrica.com:

Nairobi — The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) on Thursday called off its three-week strike after the government pledged to address all the grievances that had been raised by the medics.

After talks with the union officials, Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o announced that he had revoked all disciplinary measures that the government had taken on the medics for taking part in the strike.

At a joint press conference with union officials at Afya House on Thursday evening, Nyong’o said the government would also release the salaries that had been withheld from the striking doctors.

The meeting agreed to set up a committee that would address the doctors’ grievances, which included demands for fastracking of a return-to-work formula that had been signed to end a similar strike late last year. . . .

While Parliament had continued to fail to prepare to implement the legislative “gender sharing” requirements of the new constitution for the next Parliament, the National Council of Churches of Kenya has selected its first female chairman:

Canon Rosemary Mbogo, the Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Church of Kenya has been elected the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Chair.

The position is significant as the Rev. Rosemary is the first woman chair person elected in that capacity since the history of NCCK. Rev. Rosemary will serve in the post for three years. Archbishop TImothy Ndambuki of Africa Brotherhood Church was elected as the Vice Chair. The elections took place during the 61st General Assembly at the Jumuia Conference and Beach Resort, Kanamai in Mombasa. Hundred of delegates from all over the country represented their respective member churches. Currently, NCCK has 26 member churches, among them Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church of East Africa, Africa Brotherhood Church, Episcopal Church of Africa and Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya.

Kenya to begin biometric voter registration Oct. 11

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission announced today that it will open a thirty-day voter registration period on October 11. iEBC Chairman Hassan said the Kenyan government was ready to sign the contract for biometric voter registration kits and an initial shipment would be available to begin by that date. The IEBC expects to register roughly 18 million voters before the March 4 election date. Here is the story from CapitalFM.

 

State Department to Kabila on DRC Presidential Election: “Nevermind”?

The State Department issued a Valentines evening statement on the “ongoing” electoral “process” in the DRC.  Hard to know what the point of this is.  Perhaps it is simply an example of the maxim “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”  Maybe it means:  “since we are looking the other way on the presidential election, we do expect that surely you can do a bit of something on some of these parliamentary races, please.”  I’ll have to defer to the “Congo Watchers” and be interested to hear more from the various election observations over time.

Ongoing Electoral Process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 14, 2012

The United States continues to closely monitor the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the hundreds of legal disputes against some legislative election results. We urge Congolese authorities to conduct a full, thorough, and transparent investigation into these disputes, and to release vote tabulation and other records related to the elections and their outcome.

We remain deeply concerned about multiple allegations of human rights abuses by security forces, including illegal and arbitrary detentions throughout the electoral process. The Congolese government should fully investigate such reports, hold anyone found responsible fully accountable, and take concrete steps to ensure that security forces exercise restraint and respect people’s rights of assembly and of peaceful protest. We call on all Congolese leaders and their supporters to act responsibly and to publicly renounce violence.

Despite these concerns, we encourage all political parties to participate fully when the National Assembly is seated in order to preserve and protect the basic democratic principle of representative government in the Congo. The United States remains steadfast in its support of the Congolese people as they work to build a brighter, more democratic future for the DRC.

PRN: 2012/220

 

Related:  U.S. and other Western donors support review of election irregularities in DRC–offer technical assistance

Carter Center calls it as they see it in DRC

DRC: “We have to debunk the idea that it is peace versus transparent elections. The idea that lousy elections are going to bring peace is madness.”

 

U.S. and other Western donors support review of election irregularities in DRC–offer technical assistance

The U.S. appears to have paid attention and avoided the pitfall of glossing over the questions about the election.

BBC reports on remarks by the U.S. Ambassador:

But the results’ credibility has been criticised by the EU, the Carter Center and other election monitors.

The US ambassador to the country said there had been several “irregularities”.

“The United States believes that the management and technical execution of these elections were seriously flawed,” Ambassador James Entwistle said in a statement to Reuters news agency.

“[They] lacked transparency and did not measure up to the positive democratic gains we have seen in recent African elections,” he said.

Mr Entwistle said that the US and other Western donors were offering technical assistance to the Congolese to review irregularities identified by observer missions, an offer which has already been welcomed by the country’s prime minister, he said.

The country’s Supreme Court must decide by 17 December whether or not to validate provisional results.

.  .  .  .

And the VOA reports on official comments from the State Department in Washington:

In a statement Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. assessment is based on reports from observation teams fielded by the U.S. and other embassies, as well as by independent election monitoring groups.

Nuland said it was not clear, however, whether the irregularities and lack of transparency were enough to change the outcome of the election.

She calls on Congolese authorities to conduct a “rapid technical review” of the electoral process which she says will help determine whether the irregularities resulted from poor organization or outright fraud. She said the U.S. is ready to give its “technical assistance,” for the review.

Part Six–What did the U.S. Ambassador report to Washington the day after the Kenyan election?

See the previous posts in this series:  Part One, Two , Three , Four and Five.

There were additional machinations with the Ambassador’s approach to IRI up through election day that I think raised legitimate concern about what his objectives and intentions were in regard to the election, as reflected in my complaint to USAID, but for present purposes, I will skip ahead to the next cable I have received, a report by the Ambassador to the Secretary of State and others on December 28, 2007 entitled “Kenya’s Elections – A Positive Process Thus Far”  [Ed.  Note:  the group of cables I have been discussing is limited to five items from the Central Foreign Policy files in Washington,  whereas the Africa Bureau has made no response to the Department FOIA office as to its records on the same FOIA request, including those kept at the embassy in Nairobi.  Follow up: In October 2011, two years after my request was filed, my status inquiry finally indicated that documents from the Africa Bureau were under review for release.]

So what did the Ambassador say on the day after election?  Here is his summary:

“The relatively smooth and peaceful way in which the elections were carried out on December 27 represents a victory first and foremost for the Kenyan people and their democracy.  Herculean efforts by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), the responsible statements made by the leaders of the main parties, the constructive role played by the media, and strong U.S. support and observation all contributed to this positive outcome.  All observers share a relatively positive view of how the election process was carried  out.  I have made an informal positive statement to the Kenyan media.  It is, however, too early to make final pronouncements.  Septel will provide text of a proposed draft statement that can be issued by Washington on December 29 .  The vote counting will not be completed until the 29th.  The potential for last minute fraud cannot be ruled out.  The electoral process in some areas was characterized by delays and problems with voting procedures and electoral registers, but these were largely resolved in a way that did not disenfranchise voters, who turned out in record numbers.  Initial informal results show opposition candidate Raila Odinga leading President Kibaki by between 3 and 8 points, but this reporting is uneven and not systematic.  The election is still, in our view, too early to call.”

. . .  The most striking impressions from all observers about election day are the peacefulness and orderliness of the process.  Even the most problematic and contentious constituencies completed voting in an acceptable fashion.

For example, I observed the opening of the polls in the Kibera slum, which is a key part of Langata constituency, where presidential candidate Raila Odinga was a candidate for Parliament.  This race was ground zero in the election process given widespread fears that extra-legal efforts would be made to defeat Odinga there, thus making him ineligible to become President (since whoever is elected President must also be an elected member of Parliament).  At 0600 there was already over 5,000 people lined up to vote at the largest polling station in Langata, which is Olympic School in the Kibera slum.  The bigger problem was confusion over voting procedures.  People had begun lining up since just after midnight.  [Ed. Note:  Why?  According to one account I have been provided this was done in the context of the exposure of organized efforts to bus in large numbers of people to disrupt the voting.]  . . . Calls from us to ECK were instrumental in getting senior ECK officials to act quickly to resolve the issues [the need for more full copies of the electoral register for the polling station], and I was able to make some reassuring statements to the media.  ECK Chairman Kivuitu went to Kibera himself to calm people.  In another remarkable testament to the professionalism of ECK officials, all those waiting to vote were eventually processed, and by late evening Kibera was quiet (a truck standing by with riot police was not needed).  .  .  .

“One embarrassing stumble by the ECK actually became on the the day’s best examples of Kenya’s maturing commitment to a responsible democratic process.  The ECK inexplicably failed to include Raila Odinga’s name in the voting register in his own polling station in his Langata constituency, resulting in a potential crisis when Odinga was turned away.  Instead of inflaming the Kibera slum, Odinga simply drove to ECK headquarters and officially protested the omission.  The ECK offered no excuses and acted immediately to amend the register to include Odinga’s name.  There were a few quick press conferences and the situation ended peacefully with Odinga casting his vote.

That the voting process was so relatively smooth and peaceful despite delays and organizational problems testifies to the commitment of the Kenyan people to democratic values.  The leadership of the President and the opposition candidates in calling for peaceful elections and respect for the results was also crucial to this positive outcome.

The other remarkable aspect of the elections was the unprecedented high turnout (which will average somewhere between 65 and 80 percent).  Not surprisingly, Kibaki’s team produced a record turnout of around 85% in his home area of Central Province, and Odinga produced a high turnout in his home area of Nyanza Province.  Many people waited in line for six hours or more.  Some of the turnout was clearly the result of increased participation by youth.  It appears that Odinga will profit from youths’ perception that he represents a younger generation (though he is 63 to Kibaki’s 76, and both are from the same political class) and that he will be more decisive against corruption.

The electoral process thus far deserves a strong statement of support, and clearly meets a high standard for credible, transparent, free and fair elections.  I made an informal statement last night that was carried extensively on Kenyan television.  It is, however, too early to make definitive pronouncements.  The ECK will likely not announce final results until December 29.  The EU and Kenyan domestic observation missions will make statements on the 29th.  By COB Washington time on the 29th we will send a proposed draft for a statement by Washington.  IRI will make a largely positive statement the afternoon of the 28th.

The ballot counting process is carried out in three stages, each fraught with the potential for fraud.  First, the ballots are counted at each polling station in front of party agents.  Party agents were given copies of the results and they were also posted publicly at each station.  My observations and those of our observers indicate that this counting process was generally transparent and efficient.  Second, the ballots were taken to central tally stations in each of the 210 constituencies.  Observations indicate that this process has also been carried out well.  Finaly, the ballots and results of the tally stations are, where possible, being called or sent by e-mail to the ECK and then physically carried to ECK headquarters.  This process, which will be carried out during the course of today and this evening, is where the potential for trouble is currently greatest.  Ballots can be lost, burned, or otherwise destroyed.  Even though results will have been posted at polling stations, any interference with the final phase of the count would raise serious issues that the ECK would have to address (especially if the ballots delivered to the ECK in any way differed from results tabulated at polling stations).  During this period tensions will rise as inevitable rumors circulate (given the history of extensive fraud in all previous elections except the one in 2002).  We have received, unconfirmed reports that the police had to fire into the air at several tally centers to disperse unruly crowds worried that ballots were being tampered with.   Commissioner of Police Ali gave a press conference this morning and said all the rights things to assure people of his commitment to ensure protection for ballots and to highlight the non-political role of the police.

As a result of its generally responsible, extensive, and timely reporting, the media also deserves credit for how well the process has proceeded thus far.   Since before the polls closed the media has been reporting on a 24-hour basis.  They are reporting vote totals based on the results posted at polling stations, but making clear that only the ECK can announce official results.  The results that the media are reporting reflect uneven inputs from around the country, but so far show Odinga leading Kibaki by about almost 10 points.  Two exit polls (with uncertain methodology) also show Odinga winning by 3 -8 points.  The race is, in our view still to [sic] early to call.   It appears, as expected, that these elections will result in a sea change in Parliament, with up to 70 percent of incumbents replaced.  This may in part be due to a wave of ODM support, but is even more the result of dissatisfaction with the incumbents’ perceived inattention to their constituencies and to the exorbitant pay raise that they awarded themselves.  Initial reports indicate that some of the most corrupt incumbents have been defeated.

“Advancing U.S. Interests”

We will keep the Department closely informed as results become clearer.  At this point, there are sound reasons to believe that this election process will be a very positive example for the continent and for the developing world, that it will represent a watershed in the consolidation of Kenyan democracy, and that it will, therefore, significantly advance U.S. interests.  The Kenyan people will view the U.S. as having played an important and neutral role in encouraging a positive election process” [End]

All told, a smashing success then, reports the Ambassador.

No particular security concerns.  Kudos to the ECK, kudos to the police, kudos to the media and kudos to the State Department.  “And that exit poll I commissioned through USAID to ‘provide an independent source of verification of electoral outcomes’ as I described it in my December 14 cable (and to provide ‘early intelligence’ for me as the USAID officer said on the afternoon of election day)?   Its methodology is ‘uncertain’ ” (even though it was developed by experts, at the expense of USAID and UCSD, with open consultation with USAID all along). [Ed. Note:  The other exit poll Ranneberger referred to in the cable is apparently one conducted by the Institute for Education in Democracy in Nairobi with funding from the British Westminster foundation as I was told.  I was told that the IED, unlike IRI, was not able to obtain complete results from the field in the context of the violence and was not able to publish final results.  I could, arguably, say that its methodology is “uncertain” because I don’t personally know anything about it.]

IRI was criticized by members of the EU Observation Mission for releasing its “largely positive” statement of that day, the 28th, while all the other observation delegations waited.  Ironically, the U.S. was the largest and lead donor for the UNDP election coordination effort, through which other delegations cooperated in waiting to make preliminary statements for the ECK to announce results.

[See Part Seven–One Last FOIA Cable on the 2007 exit poll.]

Part Five–Lessons from the Kenyan 2007 elections and the new FOIA cables

Getting back to the narrative, I also remember Tuesday, December 18, 2007, the date that Ranneberger wrote the second of the cables that I received recently through a 2009 FOIA request.

That morning’s Standard featured a big, full page exclusive interview with Ambassador Ranneberger, nine days before the election.  For me this article was something of a benchmark in terms of my “no more b.s.” from the Ambassador instructions.  There are several reasons I found the article troubling, part related directly to the independence of  our IRI election observation mission, and part related to the Kenyan campaign itself,  in particular the corruption issue.  On corruption:

[From “Envoy Predicts Free and Fair Election”, The Standard, December 18, 2007–an interview with U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger nine days before the Kenyan election]

Q: What are your views on corruption?

A: Lots of people look at Kenya and say lots of big cases have not been resolved because of Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg. I always point out that we have lots of corruption even in the US. These cases take a lot of time to bring to justice. We had the famous Enron case. It took over four years to resolve in a system that works efficiently, yet only a couple of people were convicted. These things take a long time.

There has been substantial effort to fight corruption in Kenya and the award the country won for Civil Service reform [from the World Bank] is a pointer to that effect. The fact that the Civil Service is more professional than ever before is progress as are the new procurement laws recently put in place and the freedom of the Press to investigate and expose corruption. More, of course, needs to be done.

The economy has grown by 7 per cent. How much of that has actually trickled down to the people will again be determined by time.

A career diplomat, Ranneberger has been in Kenya for close to one-and-a-half years, and has served in Europe, Latin America and Africa.

This was a full page “exclusive” feature interview in The Standard nine days before the 2007 Kenyan election.

During previous days The Standard had been running new revelations about corruption in the Kibaki administration from documents from exiled former Permanent Secretary for Ethics and Governance  John Githongo. Rumor had it that Githongo wanted to be able to return to Kenya and might want to be able to return to government after the election, although I had no knowledge one way or the other about whether that was true. Githongo’s personal adventure trying to address corruption in the Kibaki administration is the subject of Michela Wrong’s It’s Our Turn to Eat. Wrong rightly noted in her book that stealing the election was the ultimate corruption.

Githongo had previously alleged that the Anglo Leasing scandal that Ranneberger referred to was intended to fund the campaign to re-elect Kibaki. See this from BBC News, January 26, 2006, “Kenya ‘safe’ for anti-graft czar”:

On Wednesday, the World Bank urged Kenya’s president to take tough action against any cabinet ministers found to be corrupt.

The warning came as the World Bank approved a new $25m loan to help fight corruption – a decision slammed by former UK Kenya envoy Sir Edward Clay.

Sir Edward, who has condemned Kenya for not tackling graft, said the new loan would feed the “pig of corruption”.

‘Insensitive’

“The Anglo-Leasing cases represent an excellent opportunity for the authorities to invoke the disciplinary provisions of the code of conduct signed by the new cabinet weeks ago,” said World Bank Kenya director Colin Bruce.

“I believe that this is an historic moment for the government to signal where it stands on the issue of political accountability,” he said.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki

President Kibaki is under increasing pressure over corruption

President Kibaki was elected in 2002 on a pledge to fight corruption.

Some donors, including the UK, have suspended some aid to Kenya over concerns about corruption and Sir Edward, who retired last year, thought the World Bank should have sent out a tough message.

“How can the World Bank be so insensitive and hapless to announce new loans to Kenya?” reports the Guardian newspaper.

“They have added insult to injury by feeding the pig of corruption in Kenya when many Kenyans were beginning to hope they might smell the bacon beginning to fry.”

Over the weekend, Mr Githongo’s leaked report said his attempts to investigate the Anglo-Leasing scandal were blocked by four top ministers – Vice-President Moody Awori, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, Finance Minister David Mwiraria and sacked Transport Minister Chris Murungaru.

Mr Murungi and Mr Awori have publicly denied the claims.

Mr Murungi said the report was “untrue” and an attempt to bring down the government.

Mr Githongo resigned last year amid reports that his life had been threatened.

The money raised by the alleged scam was to be used to fund the ruling Narc coalition’s campaign in elections due next year, Mr Githongo said.

Following the leaking of the 31-page report, the opposition has urged President Kibaki to dissolve cabinet.

Opposition Orange Democratic Movement leader Uhuru Kenyatta said: “This is clear evidence that the government can no longer be trusted to conduct detailed and honest investigations into this saga.”

Other diplomats were maintaining effective “radio silence” in the sensitive closing days of the 2007 campaign, while Ranneberger was speaking out to defend the Kibaki administration’s corruption record. In the meantime, after my December 15 experience at the Embassy residence I was quietly preparing the new last-minute pre-election Langata survey, along with all the other work for the exit poll and Election Observation Mission.

After reading the Standard article, I e-mailed my local USAID officer on the Election Observation and Exit Poll to complain, noting my opinion about the article and where things seemed to be going in regard to my obligation to supervise an objective and independent Observation Mission and the Ambassador’s alternative approach.

Part One;   Part Two;    Part Three;    Part Four;    Part Six;    Part Seven;   Part EightPart NinePart Ten

Re-match in Ikolomani by-election Monday tests current state of Kenya’s politics (updated)

Party Office--New  Ford Kenya

Update–follow local coverage at West FM here.  With some exceptions, voting seems to have proceeded peacefully.

Monday’s by-election in Ikolomani, Western Province, will be a key test for both the election authorities and for law enforcement, as well as for future political stature in Western heading into the 2012 campaign.

“Security beefed up in Ikolomani”

Security officers have been directed to deal firmly with reported cases of bribery and voter intimidation as voters in Ikolomani pick their new MP on Monday.

The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) said voters in the constituency should be left to pick their next MP freely.

Commissioner Hamara Ibrahim Aden said it would be up to officers on the ground to ensure those involved in violence and voter bribery were arrested.

There will be two police officers deployed at each polling station during voting.
. . . .
ODM and New Ford Kenya have been involved in intense campaigns for the Ikolomani seat.

Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi pitched camp at the constituency to ensure the ODM candidate emerged the winner.

Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa and Housing minister Soita Shitanda have been pushing for voters to re-elect Dr Khalwale.

A victory for the ODM candidate will be a big boost to Mr Mudavadi, who is trying to ward off competition from the Saboti MP for the region’s political supremacy.

Mr Wamalwa, who has declared he will vie for the presidency in the next general election, hopes to consolidate support in the region should Dr Khalwale be re-elected to complete his term.
. . . .
Presiding officers in Ikolomani have been equipped with laptops and mobile phones to transmit the results from respective polling stations after completing the tallying process.

Commissioner Aden said the officials had been trained on the use of the gadgets and no delays were expected in release of the results.
.  .  .  .
Dr Boni Khalwale was first elected to Parliament on a Narc ticket in 2002 and went in for a second term in 2007 on New Ford Kenya ticket.

But his term was cut short after the High Court nullified his election citing irregularities in the tallying of votes.

The petition was filed by Mr Shinali, who in the previous election, narrowly lost to Dr Khalwale.

In the meantime, the other big showdown, for the Kamukunji seat in Nairobi, has instead turned into a battle between the courts and the electoral commission. The IIEC acted wisely, in my opinion, in postponing the election to recognize a High Court injunction, although taking great umbrage at what the commission sees as interference with their prerogatives and in the face of encouragement from elected officials and party leaders to go ahead in spite of the court.

On Friday High Court judge Daniel Musinga temporarily halted the by-election scheduled for tomorrow until a petition filed by an aggrieved aspirant is heard and determined.

The applicant, Paul Waweru Mwangi of the National Vision Party challenged the legality of nominations conducted by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission and the returning officer Joseph Masindet on April 27 and 28.

Mr Mwangi complained that his nomination papers were rejected by the returning officer.

In his ruling Justice Musinga said the IIEC violated the aspirant’s constitutional right to be a candidate in the by-election.

From The Star, here is criticism of the Court decision from ODM, and here from NARC-Kenya.

Sudan Updates

Here is the “Sudan Vote Monitor”

Sudan VoteMonitor is a project led by the Sudan Institute for Research and Policy (SIRP) http://www.sudaninstitute.org and Asmaa Society for Development http://asmaasociety.org, in collaboration with other Sudanese civil society organizations, and supported by eMoksha.org, Ushahidi.com and the Standby Taskforce.

The purpose of this initiative is to utilize information and communication technology (ICT) to support the independent monitoring and reporting of the referendum by Civil Society Organizations, the media and the general public. Sudan Vote Monitor will receive reports via text message, email and through its website. All reports will be mapped by our volunteers and posted to our website in real time. We will also produce a daily summary blog post of the reports we have received.

One report for Tuesday voting says the Nairobi Railway Station polling centre is overwhelmed.

The United States’ Africa Center for Strategic Studies has an extensive listing of press coverage of the Southern Sudan voting.

 

Election Day in Tanzania [updated Nov. 1-“the best in Africa”]

Uchaguzi citizen monitoring/mapping is up and running.

EU Election Observation Mission Tanzania

Update–Nov. 1: “EU Interim Observers’ Report Ready Tuesday” at AllAfrica.com from the Tanzanian Daily News

Arusha — THE European Union Election Observation Mission will release an interim report on the 2010 Tanzanian General Elections, next Tuesday.

“The preliminary statement on the mission’s findings will be issued on Tuesday from 11.00 am during a press conference that I am to conduct at the Movenpick Hotel in Dar-es- Salaam,” said the Chief Observer, Mr David Martin.

Speaking in Arusha, Mr Martin who was accompanied by long term observer Mr Andreas Jordan said his team has met local party leaders here, community members and have even visited rural villages but he intends to observe the actual voting process in Dar es Salaam before compiling the initial report.

“The provisional report is expected to be a seven-page manual whose final details are to be added on Monday after the polls,but the real and ultimate comprehensive election report is due to be ready in two months time, possibly early 2011,” he said.

“And don’t expect the term ‘Free and Fair’ anywhere within the soon to be publicized EU-EOM reports. We usually do not use such words,” said Mr Martin, adding that the way they conduct their mission is extremely different from other international observers.

However, the EU Chief Observer said from what his team has seen so far, Tanzania’s poll conduct should be the best in Africa.

“Tanzania must go down the record as an exemplary country compared to other states on the continent in the way her people, political parties and politicians conduct their campaigns as well as how they brace themselves for the national elections in general,” praised Mr Martin.

“Having worked around the globe, different continents and states, we have amassed enough experience,” said the EU-EOM chief, adding that in contrast to other countries on the continent, he can officially comment that Tanzania is the best in Africa.

But while at that, he pointed out that the conduct here was still far from being perfect, only better than all other African countries they have ever worked with.

“International Election Observers Descend on Dar Es Salaam” at AllAfrica.com from the Tanzanian Daily News:

The number of local monitors is around 8,000, according to NEC. Election monitoring, among other things, is aimed at putting to test integrity and credibility of the country’s electoral process, after re-introduction of multiparty democracy in 1992. The primary objective of observers is to assess the conduct of an election process on the basis of national legislation, regional and international standards.

Foreign observer mission in the country include those from the European Union (EU), African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC), East African Community (EAC) and Japan. Most of the groups say that they have a common mission of ensuring that the country undertakes free and fair elections.The chairman of EAC observers involving 18 people, Mr Reuben Oyondi, told reporters earlier this week that they have planned to visit several areas to monitor the preparations for the polls