Thursday, January 24, 2008

Was it Rigged?

In a very closely contested election, the opposition was winning by over 1 million votes with nearly 85% of votes reported. At this point the Electoral Commission of Kenya went behind closed doors for 24 hours and emerged to announce the incumbent President as the winner. President Kibaki was then hastily sworn in during an unofficial ceremony as all live media broadcasts in the country were outlawed.

Here are some of the flaws that have been identified in the election:

Over 100% voter turnout in some constituencies

The use of forged or unofficial election documents

Massive discrepancies in vote reporting at the local level compared with the final results

Denied entrance to European Union monitoring officials at many tallying centers

In addition, the chief election official in the country has said he announced the results under heavy pressure and wasn’t sure who actually won the election.

Several top election commissioners have reported irregularities and disowned the results.

Many of the official election forms were stolen from a locked safe immediately after the results were announced.

The Attorney General of Kenya ordered a recount

The Legal Society of Kenya revoked the license of Electoral Commission Chairman.

The government banned all public rallies and protest gatherings. Nairobi’s Uhuru or “Freedom” Park has been surrounded 24/7 by government soldiers and armored vehicles to prevent any gatherings.

The Minister of Internal Security has been accused of issuing shoot to kill orders against protesters. One hospital in Kisumu has reportedly treated over 250 people including elderly women and children for gunshot wounds. In the vast majority of cases, the bullet entered from the rear side of the body.

Ugandan troops have been reported in many towns in the opposition’s stronghold of Western Kenya, but both Kenyan and Ugandan governments deny any knowledge of their presence.

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