RANCHI – Come 4 March 2013, Kenyans will decide who will succeed President Mwai Emilio Stanley Kibaki the Makerere University Kampala trained Economist. He was the best in his class in 1955 and graduated with a First Class Honours Degree (BA) in Economics.
President Kibaki will be leaving and giving way to one of the eight presidential aspirants tussling it out on their way to the state house, Nairobi.
The contenders on the ballot paper will be, Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta, Martha Karua, Peter Kenneth, James Ole Kiyapi, Paul Muite, Musalia Mudavadi and Mohamed Abduba Dida but only one will be announced the eventual winner.
The President has led his last five year term in office after the 2007/2008 presidential elections were disputed and contested which led and marked the historic and horrific bloodshed ever to be seen in Kenya.
Almost 1,400 people were reported to have been killed; thousands were injured both physically and psychologically, over 300,000 people displaced and around 42,000 houses, farms and many businesses, looted, destroyed and burnt property, sexual violence by gangs was also rampant and police shot at ease. It was an inclination that bent on tribal lines.
On the shoddier end it was the Kikuyu, Luo and Kalenjins who suffered the brunt of the outcomes. The violence rolled on for over two months as Kibaki’s political nemesis, Raila Odinga of the ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) refused to recognise him as the president.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Samuel Kivuitu, declared Kibaki the winner by 4,584,721 votes to Odinga’s 4,352,993,thereby placing Kibaki ahead of Odinga by about 232,000 votes in the hotly contested election. Kalonzo Musyoka trailed in the distant third.
General Elections, 2013
As Kenya waits to hold it long awaited general elections on 4 March 2013, it will see the new constitution come into effect and Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) take it on in full effect which was passed in 2010 referendum.
It is now a law to all Kenyan Political Parties to register and make coalition agreements with the Registrar of Political Parties. So far there are FOUR coalitions formed that includes;
- Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, comprising of ODM, Wiper Party and Ford-Kenya
- Jubilee Alliance that comprise of TNA and URP
- Eagle Alliance that comprise of KNC and POA
- Amani Coalition comprising of UDF, New Ford Kenya and KANU
For the first time, Kenya will elect the President, Senators, County Governors, Members of Parliament, Civic Wards and Women County Representatives.
The presidential race has come down to two main competitors namely Uhuru Kenyatta, the deputy prime minister and son of Kenya’s first president who represents the Jubilee coalition, and Raila Odinga, the son of the first vice president of Kenya and the current prime minister and head of the CORD alliance. They both command huge crowds. The question has and is still is, what will happen to Uhuru in case he wins the presidential election with all the standing cases at the ICC in the Hague? Will be stand trial or not?
If Kenyatta wins the election, he has pledged to attend all court sessions at the ICC. That means that Kenya will for first time in history have an absentee president. Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto both face charges related to 2007/2008 election violence at the ICC. On the other hand, if Odinga wins, he said that if Kenyatta refuses to go to the ICC, Odinga may have to order his arrest. This may lead to yet another explosive tribal predicament.
Interestingly, both Odinga and Kenyatta have pledged to concede defeat if the votes do not go their way.
Uhuru Kenyatta’s family is to be and believed to be one of Kenya’s largest land owners. They own up to 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares). This has caused a lot of stir but Uhuru affirms that the land was acquired legally. In last and second presidential debate, Kenyatta said, “Nobody has ever pointed out and said I have been involved in improperly acquiring land. What we as a family have, has been acquired on a willing buyer willing seller basis”.
There has been land wrangles that has caused bloody ethnic confrontations in the volatile coastal region and the expansive Rift Valley. When asked, Kenyatta declined to divulge exactly how much land the family owned overall, but said it amounted to some 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) in coastal region alone.
In the same debate, Raila Odinga said that, “You cannot allow a hyena to protect your goats” in response to the land issue owned by the Kenyatta family.
The Genesis of 2007/2008 Violence
It is recorded that on 26 January 2007, President Kibaki declared his intention to running for 2007 Kenyan Presidential election. On 16 September 2007, Kibaki announced that he would stand as the candidate of a new alliance incorporating all the parties who supported his re-election. He therefore stood under the Party of National Unity (PNU). The party comprised of an alliance of KANU, DP, Narc-Kenya, Ford Kenya, Ford People and Shirikisho.
On the other side stood his main opponent Raila Odinga who had used the referendum victory to launch his party, the ODM which nominated him as its presidential Candidate for the 2007 elections.
On 30 September 2007, a vigorous and energised President Kibaki launched his presidential campaign at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.
As the campaign trailed on opinion polls started to roll up as they showed Kibaki behind trailing and chasing Raila Odinga nationally although was closing in. The regional analysis polls were showing Kibaki to be behind Raila in all regions of the country except Central Province, Embu and Meru where he was projected to take most of the votes, and behind Kalonzo Musyoka in Kalonzo’s native Ukambani. Therefore, this caught the eye of many where Kibaki and Raila were the ones on the road to the state house.
All said and done during the intense, expensive and vigorous campaigns, the election was held on 27 December 2007 which went on peacefully and orderly.
Three days later, after a protracted count which saw presidential results in Kibaki’s Central Kenya come in last, was allegedly inflated and carried a lot of suspicion leading to rising tensions. Live TV coverage was conducted at the national tallying centre, Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Nairobi where the riot police sealed off the tallying Centre awaiting to announce the results. Party agents were evicted as well as the observers and the media as the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Samuel Kivuitu walked in to declare Kibaki the winner of the election.
One hour later, in a hastily convened dusk ceremony, Kibaki was furtively sworn in at the grounds of State House Nairobi for his second term, defiantly calling for the “verdict of the people” to be respected and for “healing and reconciliation” to begin. This led tensions to flare and led to protests by a huge number of Kenyans who felt that Kibaki had refused to respect the verdict of the people and was now forcibly remaining in office. That is where the problem begun.
Raila Odinga accused Kibaki of electoral fraud infuriating Odinga’s supporters and he said that the results had defied pre-election polls and expectations and Election Day exit polls.
A joint statement by the British Foreign Office and Department for International Development (DfID) cited “real concerns” over irregularities, while international observers refused to declare the election free and fair. On the other hand, The European Union chief observer, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, cited one constituency where his monitors saw official results for Kibaki that were 25,000 votes lower than the figure subsequently announced by the Electoral Commission. He said “Because of this and other observed irregularities, doubt remains as to the accuracy of the result of the presidential election as announced today.”
National accord and Grand Coalition Government formed
To save Kenya from more bloodshed, mediation was brokered by the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan with a Panel of “Eminent African Personalities” backed by the African Union, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
The mediation produced and stuck a deal called the National Accord which was signed in February 2008 between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki commonly referred to as the “Two Principals”.
The accord produced and passed the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, 2008 passed by the Kenyan Parliament to provide a power-sharing deal as Mwai Kibaki remaining President and Raila Odinga taking on a newly re-created post of Prime Minister which was disbanded with the new constitution.
Raila Odinga was sworn in as Prime Minister on 17 April 2008, with a power-sharing Cabinet, with 42 ministers and 50 assistant ministers as Kenya made history with the largest cabinet ever. The cabinet is fifty percent Kibaki appointed ministers and fifty percent Raila appointed ministers. In real terms, the coalition balanced the government on ethic line-coalition.
I pray that the 2007/2008 incidence does not re-occur in Kenya. I have a lot interest in Kenya with reasons that it produces the greatest person to have known and to rest in my life. I have worked there and it is the country I have visited most in my entire life. I have a lot of hope in the country. Therefore, I cannot sit back but to raise with the Kenyan people that I am with you in hope, love and prayer.
That is when I say, All eyes set on Kenya Presidential election but no repeat of 2007/2008 events.