120 Dead in Kenyan election riots

Rick Moran
With all the turmoil in Pakistan, another electoral crisis taking place, this one in Kenya, has taken place under the media radar. Forces of the opposition are rioting in several cities following what the United States is calling "voting irregularities" in the presidential election.

Incumbent president Mwai Kibaki who won an election 5 years ago defeating former strongman Daniel Arap Moi declared himself the winner over challenger Raila Odinga despite early returns giving Odinga a million vote lead.

At that point, the electoral commission, which was in charge of counting the votes, went virtually dark and what emerged after a delay of several hours was a truly
bizarre outcome:

The farcical nature of the vote will only heighten their disappointment. The electoral commission initially claimed that roughly a quarter of returning officers disappeared for 36 hours without announcing results and had switched off their mobile phones.

When results did finally emerge, Mr Odinga saw a one million vote lead overturned. Opinion polls showed that the contest was always going to be close, but if the official results are correct, Kenyans voted in an inexplicably bizarre manner.

After turfing out 20 of Mr Kibaki's cabinet ministers and reducing his party to a rump in the simultaneous parliamentary poll, they apparently voted in an entirely different manner in the presidential race.
This set off a series of riots by supporters of Mr. Odinga in cities across the country:
Troops in riot gear were deployed in their thousands around the capital as trucks full of soldiers raced through the deserted streets towards the slum areas.

In the opposition heartland city of Kisumu in the west, more than 53 people have died as authorities were believed to have instituted a shoot-on-sight curfew.

Another 40 were killed overnight in Nairobi, taking the toll since Thursday's vote to 124.
As in many African countries, the differences are more tribal than political with Mr. Odinga's Luo tribe feeling that it had been getting short shrift for years from Kbaki's Kikuyu tribe. The fact that Odinga had crafted what he thought was a solid majority coalition with other tribes apparently didn't take into account Kbaki's electoral chicanery.

In many cities, there are shoot on sight orders given to troops to stop the rioting.

It is doubtful that Kbaki will revisit the results of the election. And for that, Kenya will suffer the consequences of living with one more president who flouts the will of the people by rigging the democratic process in his favor.
With all the turmoil in Pakistan, another electoral crisis taking place, this one in Kenya, has taken place under the media radar. Forces of the opposition are rioting in several cities following what the United States is calling "voting irregularities" in the presidential election.

Incumbent president Mwai Kibaki who won an election 5 years ago defeating former strongman Daniel Arap Moi declared himself the winner over challenger Raila Odinga despite early returns giving Odinga a million vote lead.

At that point, the electoral commission, which was in charge of counting the votes, went virtually dark and what emerged after a delay of several hours was a truly
bizarre outcome:

The farcical nature of the vote will only heighten their disappointment. The electoral commission initially claimed that roughly a quarter of returning officers disappeared for 36 hours without announcing results and had switched off their mobile phones.

When results did finally emerge, Mr Odinga saw a one million vote lead overturned. Opinion polls showed that the contest was always going to be close, but if the official results are correct, Kenyans voted in an inexplicably bizarre manner.

After turfing out 20 of Mr Kibaki's cabinet ministers and reducing his party to a rump in the simultaneous parliamentary poll, they apparently voted in an entirely different manner in the presidential race.
This set off a series of riots by supporters of Mr. Odinga in cities across the country:
Troops in riot gear were deployed in their thousands around the capital as trucks full of soldiers raced through the deserted streets towards the slum areas.

In the opposition heartland city of Kisumu in the west, more than 53 people have died as authorities were believed to have instituted a shoot-on-sight curfew.

Another 40 were killed overnight in Nairobi, taking the toll since Thursday's vote to 124.
As in many African countries, the differences are more tribal than political with Mr. Odinga's Luo tribe feeling that it had been getting short shrift for years from Kbaki's Kikuyu tribe. The fact that Odinga had crafted what he thought was a solid majority coalition with other tribes apparently didn't take into account Kbaki's electoral chicanery.

In many cities, there are shoot on sight orders given to troops to stop the rioting.

It is doubtful that Kbaki will revisit the results of the election. And for that, Kenya will suffer the consequences of living with one more president who flouts the will of the people by rigging the democratic process in his favor.