Thursday, December 27, 2007

power, corruption, and lies

kenya's presidential, parliamentary, and local elections (which started around 10 PM last night EST) seem to have plenty of each, from all quarters.

you decide which is which:

Reports of rigging get simultaneously more preposterous and more plausible
A few days ago, busses upon busses of administration police officers were spotted being shipped out on civilian busses in the middle of the night, buttressing rumors that these officers were going to be used to rig elections. (

Yesterday, the main Opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, stormed a hotel in Nairobi, where he had been told that fake voting cards were being sold... but upon arriving, he found nothing (The Nation- Kenya)

Adding to that, Raila was unable to vote today when he showed up to his polling station, as the voter's registers for people with last names starting with A, O, R, and W were missing in his constituency. (The Standard-Kenya)

The NYT has had spotty coverage of the election. The Nairobi bureau chief has written two decent (if slightly opposition-leaning) articles, one about Raila and one about Kenya's peculiar electoral rules. The third, a full-length NYT Magazine article on northern Kenya is an absolute disaster, in my opinion. Rather than being the detailed analysis of the relationship between politics, development, religion, and ethnicity in a crucial part of the country that it could have been, it was little more than propaganda for the incumbent candidate and fuel for paranoid anti-muslim fearmongering.

Also, lots of credit to BBC world for providing a forum for Kenyans to report their experiences on the ground by e-mail and text message

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