Saturday, December 29, 2007

More on the Kenya Elections: Both Parties Claim Victory; Chaos Erupts Over Delayed Results; More Women Elected to Parliament

ODM, PNU Claim Victory

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
29 December 2007
By Abiya Ochola and Brian Adero

The outcome of the hotly contested polls appeared headed for a deadlock as the opposition leaders and government ministers both claimed victory.

The Orange Democratic Movement declared its Presidential candidate, Mr Raila Odinga, the winner, and asked President Kibaki to concede defeat and prepare to hand over power.

Kibaki's ministers and officials later called a press conference and announced The Party of National Unity candidate President Mwai Kibaki had won by over 300,000 votes.

The declaration came as violence erupted in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kitale, Busia, Mombasa and Kakamega amid fears that the Government had hatched a plot to rig Kibaki back to power.

Addressing a press conference at Norfork Hotel, ODM running mate, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, read mischief at the delay by ECK in releasing the final tally and warned the Government against exerting undue influence on ECK chairman, Mr Samuel Kivuitu.

"We are clear that ODM has won the election. The will of the people is now known. They have voted out Kibaki sending home at least 18 cabinet ministers including the vice president. They have elected over 91 ODM MPs. Raila Amolo Odinga is therefore the winner and the fourth President of the Republic of Kenya," he said.

According to the results released by the ODM National Voter Monitoring and Tallying System, Raila had won the election garnering 4,215,437 trouncing President Kibaki who came second with 3,748,261. ODM-Kenya's Kalonzo Musyoka came a distant third with 630,849.

The Party of Natinal Unity leaders said Kibaki garnered 4,533,181 votes against ODM candidate Mr Raila Odinga's 4,206,062 votes. Kangaroo results given by any Tom, Dick or Harry deserve every contempt," said the party spokesman.

Science and Technology minister, Dr Noah Wekesa, said the party will however wait for the official results from the Electoral Commission of Kenya. He said they were waiting for the results of three constituencies, Kajiando North and Matuga represented by minister George Saitoti and Chirau Ali Mwakwere respectively.s

Official results, however, showed Odinga heading for a win with 3.73 million votes or 49 percent from 159 of 210 constituencies. Kibaki had 45 percent.

Odinga had led early tallies, but as Kibaki began to narrow the gap overnight, the ODM leaders feared PNU was rigging the presidential vote.

In Kisumu and other pro-opposition western areas, looters targeted businesses owned by members of one community.

"We have just started. We will loot all shops and kill them on sight," Mr Richard Ondigi, 23, a driver, told Reuters.

In Nairobi, streets were deserted as businesses remained closed and public transport vehicles stayed away. Police patrolled the city and ECK center at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, remained a no-go zone.

ODM presidential running mate Musalia Mudavadi claimed the party had evidence that Kivuitu was under undue pressure to delay the results and cause disharmony.

"In view of the growing anxiety and restlessness in the country over the extended delay in releasing the presidential results by ECK, we call upon the President to acknowledge and respect the will of Kenyan people and concede defeat."

He further called on Kibaki to direct his officers to begin the process of a smooth handover.

He blamed the riots on "those withholding the results" and wondered why the ECK, despite its modern communication equipment could not complete the job on time.

Asked why the party had gone public to release the result and declare themselves winners, Mudavadi said ODM was sending a strong signal to its opponents not to doctor the results.

Mudavadi said the party was awaiting official ECK results before making another move.

Chaos Erupts Over Delayed Results

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

29 December 2007
By Standard Team

Chaos erupted in several parts of the country over the delay by the Electoral Commission of Kenya to announce presidential results of the just concluded general elections.

In the meantime, disagreements over the results from mainly president Kibaki's strongholds stopped ECK chairman Samuel Kivuitu from releasing the results as agents of the various parties engaged in a shouting march.

ODM-K presidential agent asked the commission to uphold the law strictly. Lawyer James Orengo asked the commission chairman not to release the disputed results but Kivuitu reminded advised them to seek legal redress.

In Homa bay and Migori, more than eight people were injured, some shot by police who tried to quell the riots.

Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western provinces were the most affected, as police lobbed teargas canisters and fired in the air in an attempt to disperse rowdy youths who had barricaded the main highways and lit bonfires.

Campaign portraits of President Kibaki were burnt by the protesters who were singing in praise of ODM Presidential candidate, Raila Odinga.

The main Kericho/Nakuru, Kericho and Sotik/Kisii highways were barricaded by protesting youths as claims of presidential vote rigging spread across the region.

Youths indiscriminately pelted cars with stones in Kakamega, Busia and Bungoma towns where dozens of shops were looted, several people injured and vehicles burnt.

General Service Unit police officers were deployed to quell the riots that started as early as 9 am.

Western provincial police boss Mr Peter Kavilla led the team of officers as they struggled to restore calm.

Hundreds of commuters were stranded as public transport vehicles were withdrawn from the roads.

In Nakuru town, protesters camped at the County Council offices where the tallying of votes had taken place earlier and attempted to set a matatu on fire.

The rowdy youths were protesting the cancellation of civic elections in four wards namely Viwandani, Kivumbini, Nakuru West, and Rhonda.

Members of the public managed to put out the fire before the vehicle was burnt down.

Tension reigned high as businessmen closed their premises in a huff when the news of the chaos spread.

Major supermarkets, stalls, and shops that had only opened in the morning after two days of closure shutdown by 2pm and the streets deserted in fear of looting.

Elections Propel More Women to the Tenth Parliament

The Nation (Nairobi)
29 December 2007
By Barnabas Bii and Mildred Ngesa

Three women in the North Rift have made it to Parliament after edging out seasoned politicians in the just-concluded General Election.

Ms Peris Jepkoech Simam (Eldoret South), Prof Margaret Jepkoech Kamar (Eldoret East) and Dr Sally Kosgei (Aldai) now join former Cabinet minister Linah Jebii Kilimo, who captured the Marakwet East constituency seat for a second term.

Mrs Kilimo, who first set foot in Parliament in the 2002 General Election through the then populous Narc ticket pulled a surprise after she was re-elected on the little known Kenda ticket in a region that mainly voted in ODM candidates.

Also setting history is Prof Kamar, who garnered 31,664 votes to beat a field of 12 candidates. She becomes the first woman to represent the constituency. This also goes for Ms Simam, the first woman to contest and win the Eldoret South parliamentary seat.

In Aldai, Dr Kosgei polled 29,392 votes to break the Choge political dynasty in a constituency that has been dominated by the family. She defeated Mr Jimmy Choge and his uncle Mr Sammy Choge in a field of more than 10 candidates.

The Choge family has in turns represented the constituency for a long time.

For the first time, Uasin Gishu District will have two women parliamentarians - Prof Kamar and Ms Simam - in what is viewed by the electorate as a move to usher in quality leadership.

The two promised to encourage team spirit by working with professional from all sectors to boost the region's socio-economic status.

But what remains a surprise is Mrs Kilimo's win even after ditching Narc for ODM then to the little known Kenda in an ODM dominated region.

Mrs Kilimo scored 9,150 votes to beat ODM's Sammy Tangus, who garnered 7,418 votes. The former Immigration minister, who was sacked after she supported the orange side that won the referendum vote against the proposed constitution in 2005, launched a fierce campaign capitalising on her previous development record. She traversed the expansive constituency, occasionally accompanied by party chairman Paul Kamlesh Pattani, a strategy that eventually worked to her advantage.

Her re-election is proof that Marakwet East constituents have trust in her and she faces a challenge of proving exactly that when parliament re-opens next month.

Prof Kamar and Ms Simam, on the other hand, have an uphill task of fitting into the shoes of their political predecessors and prove that they can do better.

Prof Kamar, a former East Africa Community legislator, has promised to involve her political opponents in development initiatives in Eldoret East.

"This is a victory to the people of Eldoret East. I will involve everybody, including my political opponents and professionals in my development agendas," vowed Prof Kamar.

Ms Simam, who got 39,591 votes to beat 10 other contestants, had a similar victory message.

"I will be a team player. Eldoret South voters have been yearning for development and I promise to involve everybody in achieving that," she said.

North Rift residents used the elections to usher in gender equality in leadership. The election saw some of the seasoned leaders in the region, including former powerful cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott and Agriculture minister Kipruto Kirwa, voted out and a group of young people elected to civic and parliamentary positions.

This could have been the break that women political aspirants had long been holding their breath for.

As the election results unfold, it is becoming clear that women performed much better than many expected.

So far, it seems, the next Parliament will house many more elected and nominated women than the last.

It is in Rift Valley that women have come out shining.

By the time of going to press, five women parliamentary aspirants from the Rift Valley Province had already emerged victorious. All the five are highly rated professionals and doctors.

It is in Eldoret South that Peris Chempchumba of ODM clinched an early lead to floor the outgoing MP David Koros of ODM-K and 10 other male contenders.

In Sotik constituency, ODM's Lorna Chepkemoi Laboso achieved swift victory over 13 opponents to become the new Member of Parliament.

On the United Democratic Movement Party (UDM), Prof Hellen Jepkemoi Sambili clinched the Mogotio parliamentary seat, dethroning Mr Joseph Korir of ODM. Prof Sambili, the wife of the Permanent Secretary for Planning and National Development, Dr Edward Sambili, is also a lecturer at Egerton University.

This brings to six the total number of women aspirants from Rift Valley Province trail-blazing the leadership path in an area where women representation has been lacking.

From Central Province, which registered the highest number of women aspirants, came the early undisputed victory in Gichugu of Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua on a PNU ticket.

Ms Karua's win puts her on a pedestal of her own having been a member of Parliament for Gichugu since 1992.

In Nyeri Town, Ms Esther Murugi Mathenge, who secured the PNU ticket, triumphed over 11 male opponents to take up the leadership of the constituency for the next five years.

Her victory, though considered 'small' in the vast province, justifies the high number of women from Central who dared to join the parliamentary race.

Other women in the race who were offering tough competition to their opponents were outgoing parliamentarians Beth Mugo of Dagoretti constituency in Nairobi and Cecily Mbarire of Runyenjes in Eastern Province - both on a PNU ticket - as well as newcomer Elizabeth Ongoro in Nairobi's Kasarani constituency on an ODM ticket.

This in itself is a clear indication that there will be more elected women in the next Parliament, raising the chances for having more women nominated as well.

1 comment:

Afriboy said...

Blue waters become incarnadine
As gun speaks lies.
Incumbent evil sleeps in dreams
Like a nightmare.

This chaos is not good. You describe it well. Time brings nerves, anxiety and anger.