Saturday, December 29, 2007
no news is bad news
Administration Police officers protecting a polling place from protestors/rioters in Ngong (Photo from the LA Times)
So not a lot to update in terms of official Kenyan election results- because counting has come to standstill. Kibaki closed a lot of the early gap that Raila had opened up, this is the count, as of about 6 hours ago, from my friend Megan who is in Nairobi:
The big news is about the delay itself... Kenyanpundit has reported that the Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman Samuel Kivuitu has said that the officers in charge of counting and reporting votes in nearly 50 constituencies cannot be reached by any means of communication (they aren't even picking up their cellphones).
ODM (the opposition party) has pointed at the delay to say that this is evidence that counts are being doctored in these constituencies. In addition, Raila has declared that he is the winner, and has asked Kibaki to concede before the count is complete. The Kibaki camp has responded by claiming that they have won. From Kenyanpundit:
ODM's version of the vote tally: Raila 4.2 million votes, Kibaki 3.7 million votes
PNU's version of the vote tally: Raila 4.2 million votes, Kibaki 4.5 million votes
Youths in Kisumu run with bread that they may or may not have looted. (Daily Nation)
At the local level, this confusion has started to become translated into mass public protest, which in some places has been accompanied by looting, vandalism and violence against state institutions, and confrontations between groups from different ethnic communities. The character of violence accompanying the protests seems to depend on location- in opposition stronghold areas (such as Kisumu, on Lake Victoria in the West)-mass protests about delays in voting seem to have provided an opportunity for indiscriminate looting. In more "cosmopolitan" (read: multiethnic) areas, such as the massive informal settlements surrounding Nairobi, the violence seems to be taking on the characteristics of ethnic violence.