Latest Kenya election remarks from Amb. Godec emphasize need for change; corruption undermining democracy

imageU.S. Ambassador Godec spoke out strongly on corruption in pre-election remarks to students at Maseno University on Wednesday as reported by CapitalFM: “Vote so as to bring change to Kenya says U.S. envoy.”

While emphasizing he personally and the United States favored no candidate or party among Kenyans’ choices, Godec stated:

Corruption is undermining the future of Kenya.  It is creating huge problems and it is underming democracy., security and having a very bad effect and this needs to change.

We seem to be seeing a policy shift from the U.S.  We were strongly opposed to government corruption off and on under Moi after the Cold War and we were also opposed to corruption in 2005-06 with the Anglo Leasing and other scandals.

After getting burned, perhaps, for changing positions in 2007 to become soft on corruption under Kibaki and looking the other way as he stole re-election, we were back to being “against” to some degree on a “go forward” basis after the formation of the “Government of National Unity” in Kibaki’s second Administration.  We preached “the reform agenda” through passage of the referendum to approve the new constitution in 2010 (noting that one pesky problem:  Daily Nation reports that USAID Inspector General has found that US funding did go specifically to encourage “Yes” vote on referendum.)

After years now of being back on our heels for whatever reason, we have rediscovered the dignity required to speak up and now to take a “small dollar” but conspicuous and significant action in suspending a little over $20M in support for the looted Ministry of Health, and now open acknowledgement of that the magnitude of the problem has reached a point that it is a critical threat.

African Great Lakes Initiative releases report on observation of Kenya elections

I have previously praised the grassroots observation approach and thoroughness of the AGLI in observing the referendum vote in 2010.

Here is their report on the March 4 general Kenya elections.  Basically they found widespread problems in the areas they observed and reported on in detail.  They did not aspire to cover the whole country and thus make no claims as to the total impact of the problems, but show clearly that there were multiple avenues and opportunities for widespread fraud.

In particular, they observed extra presidential ballots being given out by a polling clerk in one station.  The observer reported the matter and the clerk was arrested, but the polling station ended up with roughly 100 extra votes for president over the votes for the other races, and this was apparently reported on and included in the national totals.  This type of conduct would be one explanation for the huge overvote in the presidential race.  I have not seen other explanations . . .

The AGLI recommends a post election audit by the IEBC and an outside group now that the Supreme Court has ruled without delving into the details so that the process can be improved.