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Kenya Elections 2007: Should Raila Supporters Celebrate?

Although the official presidential results have not been announced by the Electoral Commission of Kenya, Kenyan blogger, Gerald Baraza, has already declared the winner on his blog, “Kenya has a new President: Hon.Raila Amolo Odinga!… Congratulations Your Excellency Raila Amolo Odinga, 4th President of the Republic of Kenya!”

This should not surprise you. Kenyan bloggers have been following this year’s elections very closely. They have been covering the historic Kenyan Elections 2007 with constant updates of presidential and parliamentary votes. Other bloggers have been posting photos and writing about their own experiences and observations.

Mzalendo, a citizen-led parliamentary watchdog in Kenya, has done an excellent job of posting regular results of the parliamentary votes.

An update from Mzalendo at 2pm yesterday read:

Mzalendo now has the results for 47 Constituencies. For the complete up to date list click here
Highlights
- All of Moi’s sons have lost
- Minister Munyao has been defeated

At 3pm:

Mzalendo now has the results for 64 Constituencies. For the complete up to date list click here

At 9pm:

We’re now up to 95 constituencies, view the latest list here

BTW guys need to relax a bit on the requests for updates. We’re doing the best we can with our staff of two, and my laptop rapidly (and I do mean rapidly) approaching its deathbed. I was last in bed on Wednesday.

Kenya Imagine blog has a special Election Update page. Apart from posting regular updates, the blog asked voters to share election news and their experiences:

Have you any news on the elections? Please share it here. It needn't be anything untoward or alarming, although news of that will be very much appreciated also. Even news on the turnout, any delays in opening and so on is welcome. Are there enough observers about? Are there long queues? Do the Commission's officials look like they will cope with the hard work? Read here as Kenyans give their election experience.

How did the whole exercise go? Kenyan Pundit (Ory) considers this election a historic one even by international standards:

Folks this is a historic election by Kenyan standards, regional standards and international standards – I don’t think there is a precedent for the number of incumbents that are going down despite having massive resources behind them and attempts to bribe voters. And I challenge you to find an election in the Western world in recent times where people have come out with such determination, conviction, and a strong sense of civic duty .
I’m very very proud of Kenyan voters and you all should be no matter who you are supporting.
The media has focused on the presidential race and on the tribal nature of the campaign, but the story of the revolution (as I keep repeating, but really it’s worth emphasizing) is at the local level – Kenyans have realized the power of the vote and will no longer be taken for a ride. I think this election will be a watermark as far the maturity of voters and the impact it will have on the next Parliament (now we need to get rid of pensions for one-term MPs), Kenyans want results and CHANGE and not empty talk, and if ODM wins they will have an incredibly difficult time at managing expectations.

Ory’s observations of the voting day:

Despite turning up at 6:15 am turnout was already crazy. I’m really curious to see what the turnout will be overall because the few polling stations I visited in Lang’ata had an incredible turnout. When talking to guys in the line in Mada, they said they’ve never seen anything like this.
Observations from the day:
- Ballot papers were not on site like they are supposed to be. They only got delivered at 8:00 am, leading to lots of agitation among the crowd that had turned up early to vote. The crowd finally broke the gate into the school and rushed in (me included otherwise I’d still be in the line) after getting tired of waiting. Once that happened temperatures came down. Apparently many stations in Nairobi and especially Lang’ata did not start voting until around 9:00 am.
- Once inside the school, things were very chaotic. There was no one directing you on where to go and since you voted according to your last name’s initials it was a unneccessarily maddening process trying to figure out which classroom you should go to and then you have to line up again.
- There was lots of camaraderie and good humor in the line. Something very social about voting, which I didn’t expect. People also expressed their determination to vote no matter how long they had to stand in line. No one was wearing any party insignia or logos. There was also heavy tension in the air – any hint of something shady and the crowd could have lynched guys.

Thinker’s Room observed some interesting stuff:

I may have forgotten to carry my camera to capture the scenes, but there’s nothing wrong with my eyes and ears. Here is some of the interesting things I came across
• Some people woke up between 3 and 4 and were at the polling stations from 4 AM in the morning to vote
• If you’re thinking of heading to the ECK command center and waiting sweatily at ECK Chairman Kivuitu’s elbow for the results to be announced think again my child. No doubt remembering the events of 2002 the ECK has made sure that idlers and riffraff do not coalesce their shouting selves around the officials. Most roads leading to the KICC have been cordoned off and some very grim faced security personnel that appear to be either Administration police or General Service Unit. I found myself apologizing from a sharp look from one of those gentlemen.
• Some bars refused to serve customers who do not have the magical inked finger to indicate voting
• Some matatus refused to carry people that did not have the magical inked finger
• In Kibera things almost became sticky when it was discovered that Raila Odinga was not on the voter’s roll. Neither were people whose names started with O and A. Naturally this caused some acute consternation. The ECK explained that the lists had been split along alphabetic lines to reduce the numbers on the lines, and some lists were not delivered in time. Mercifully updated lists were updated and voting took place. I for one am very grateful that people kept their cool. Considering that in some communities names beginning with A and O are fairly thick on the ground, it could have been interpreted quite differently with very nasty results.
• Lines in Kibera were up to 2Km long. Yes, that’s kilometers.
• Nairobi polling stations are heavily populated by party agents that are reducing the speed of counting the ballots to a crawl
• Anticipating long nights, some ECK officials are making use of lulls in the voting to catch 40 winks on benches and on the grass.
• It was refreshing to see young aspiring leaders like Jonathan Mueke and John Kiarie showing up to vote. John Kiarie actually came with his wife and baby
• The Uchumi in South B was closed. (4 litres of soda don’t last as long as you’d think!)
• The voting queue at the Catholic Parochial polling station had to be seen to believed. It was even longer than the Kibera ones! Looping and winding on itself like that annoying snake game on Nokia phones
• There is talk that turnout could top 80% this election, which is a big increase from the last election where it was about 55%
• Preliminary coverage is inconsistent across stations. KTN is showing Odinga is ahead and Citizen and Nation are showing Kibaki is ahead (as of 11 PM)
• Some of the preliminary results are verging on the absurd. 99% for a candidate?

Mental Acrobatics calls for an independent news/current affairs radio station in Kenya:

This election has highlighted again that Kenya seriously and urgently needs an independent 24 hour news/current affairs radio station available nationally. Preferably on FM! Yes we have many independent 24 hour music stations and religious stations, now we need a hard hitting news/current affairs station. Something like the BBC’s radio 5 Live.

It is not sufficient to get a quick 3 minute update every hour or so from the music stations’ “team on the ground”. They just repeat what the official news conferences say and add very little insight or analysis. I feel sorry for the reporters, how much depth can you explore in 1.5 minutes leaving 1.5 minutes for a Q and A session?

Thank goodness for the BBC World Service which not only dispatched reporters around the country but also made the Kenyan election the lead story for the day (until the assassination of Benazir Bhutto (RIP) took over as the lead story). A lot of information I am using today is coming from the BBC World Service.

Gerald Baraza posted a breakdown of how Kenyan ethnic groups voted:

Here is a reliable and scientific prediction of how the various ethnic groups have voted:

Candidate: Mwai Kibaki – Raila Odinga — Kalonzo Musyoka

Kikuyu — 2,533,000 —– 5,000—– 2,000

Luyiah — 300,000 – —900,000— 60,000

Luo— 2,000 — 965,000— 1,000

Kalenjin— 150,000— 1,220,000 — 5,000

Kamba– -10,000— 4,000– – 910,000

Kisii- –200,000— 310,000 —- 2,000

Meru — 615,000—- 2,000 — 1,000

Other African— 150,000— 2,800,000 —50,000

Non African— 8,000— 8,000 —2,000

Total —-Kibaki- 3,968,000 –Raila– 6,214,000 –Kalonzo-1,033,000

In the same post, he writes that Kenyans in Michigan are planning to celebrate:

Kenyans in Michigan, plans are already underway for a grand celebration of this victory. Please get in touch if you do not want to miss out!!!

White African was impressed to see innovative use of technology by mobile election reporters:

I’ve been particularly impressed with the AfricaNews.com media group. They use technology in innovative ways, creating real usable systems to report and connect with Africans on multiple platforms. In the case of the Kenyan 2007 Elections, in partnership with the Arid Lands Information Network, they have created a site where mobile reporters from around the country bring news about the elections.

Juliana of Afromusing was covering the elections on her Twitter channel:

driving by polling stations, most of eldy area appears to be raila country by large margins about 19 hours ago from web

visited several polling stations in eld. some with long lines some are done. took pics. 04:39 AM December 27, 2007 from web

nation media txt and blogger daudi confirm railas problem voting in langata.new registers being printed 01:51 AM December 27, 2007 from web

fam. voted v. early in the morningm it was peaceful and quiet. 01:38 AM December 27, 2007 from web
phone call, rumour is that railas nm omitted from register in langata? 01:37 AM December 27, 2007 from web

the queues in eld for voting were v. long. pple were there in the dark of night. 01:30 AM December 27, 2007 from web
tweeting now from eldoret kenya using motorola q on safaricom gprs internet 01:25 AM December 27, 2007 from web

She is also blogging the election from Eldoret at Afromusing.

Two leading Kenyan newspapers, The Standard and the Daily Nation, set up multimedia election platform and for the first time introduced blogging in the newsroom.

Jesse Masai is probably the most notable parliamentary candidate who kept a blog as part of his campaign strategy. There is also a blog of Youth for Kibaki 2007, which has not been updated since July 2007.

Jesse Masai's latest post titled, Finito:Vox populi, vox Dei, reads:

Najivunia kuwa Mkenya.
I’m proud to be Kenyan.
I have lost, but am glad about it all: The immediate-former MP is truly and finally out.
Some of the things the above-mentioned did in at least three of my strongholds over the past few days – including yesterday – are better left unsaid.
I lost to, among a few others, ODM’s Joshua Kuttuny, a one-time schoolmate at Cherangany High School (these day’s St. Mark’s Boys).
We are contemporaries in much else, but similarities end almost immediately, as we do not agree on much in terms of world view.
My loss aside, am happy for my country and the manner in which it has been during this tense and fractious moments.
I believe our best days are ahead of us.
The next few weeks and months will see me sit down and write something decent about it – probably a book

A few minutes ago, Kumekucha, like Gerald Baraza, declared Raila the winner. He explains why:

Even as ODM were holding a press conference to claim victory in the presidential race, my tally as I had indicated in an earlier post clearly shows a Raila victory.

Interestingly the ECK is still giving Kenyans stories about missing returning officers and sitched off mobile phones to divert attention from the crux of the matter.

Back to my figures. Assuming an amazingly high average voter turn out countrywide of 60% from approx 14 million voters, that would give you a total vote count of 8.4 million votes meaning that as soon as Raila hit 4 million votes he should have been declared the winner. Available figures show that Raila has accumulated well over 4 million votes.

  • Pinto

    I think it was premature and dangerous for odm supporters to celebrate. Votes from Central and parts of Eastern where Kibaki has supporters had not all been brought in. With about a million votes from Kibaki strongholds yet to be tallied it is premature to conclude. There are many seats that are yet to be announced. Let us embrace peace in Kenya. Even if they declare Kibaki winner, let us just hold our peace. He has developed the country to some extent. I don’t think encouraging violence is a good idea. Even the US ambassador told Kenyans to wait for the process to be completed and to be united.

  • carole

    i am a student away from kenya but will only come back if there will be a new president

  • Benson

    There seem to be a miscoception that for the election to be democratic only ODM president should win. This has been perpetuated before and after start of campaigns, i find ODM followers very intorelant, why should they target business to loot in Nyanza owned by a particular community? Voter intimadation has been rampant, PNU supporters have been intimadated by ODM followers in all ODM strongholds. Kenyans should realize the next president will rely on all Kenyans in order for Kenya to prosper, those who thought manna and free goodies will pour from heaven with a new government are in for a big shock.
    A country’s developement takes time thats what Kenyans should realize, no one will fix Kenya’s challenges overnignt as Kenya’s politicians have been singing, after all we know they are motivated by the big salary that comes with MP salary and the CDF kitty ofcourse!

  • James

    Am a Zambian, the same situation happened in our last elections with the challeger claiming victory only to be overtaken by the sitting president.
    Caution dear friends in Kenya is advisable , peace is priceless.

  • Pauline

    I think Kenyans know who to vote for, and am pround of my fellow kenyans coming out in big numbers to vote the leaders.
    lets now wait and see the outcome for me it doesnt matter who wins all we need is good leaders becouse i beleive leadership matters.
    pauline
    canada

  • http://hilkitho@yahoo.com kish

    Guys, ths s the surprise of the decade.how cn kibaki win wen we all knw tht raila has won ova him with >0.5m votes?hope the electoral commission wil make the correct descision for the good of ths country

  • awuye

    am a ugandan but the safety of kenya is to our advantage ,nothing will be done in uganda when kenya is not peace full but as you know african politics is still immature ,this has happened in so many countries ,rigging by the incumbent is the order of the day in africa ,why did the eck balance they bring resuilts from where kibaki has support and odinga has suport such that pple get the clear picture
    but you only count votes where you the opposition has support you get the figure so that you make a difference from where you have the support ,this election has already been messed up ,african leaders should accept defeat we love you kenyans

  • maende jeff

    ….l believe kivuitu has the powers to anounce the winner without any delay…but yestarday l heard him saying that he doesnt know why other polling stations have not yet produced their results, why cant he give orders to security to go and find out what the polling stations are doing with the votes ..are they cooking to multiply ..? why cant he cancel ..? as a matter of fact we all know that Raila has taken the lead both presidencialy and perliamentary ….having 94 seats in perliament, cant kivuitu see this and take as from the dark side of the light ….am sure the counting is over he already have cases where by the votes are above the registered number of voters in some constituency what else is he waitng for to anounce the winner …..?….note him that incase of anychanges from the current results that puts kibaki close to Raila might lead to him fired without any notice….coz it’ll automatically show that the votes which brought this difference was as a result of rigging ……and he accepted and anounce the delayed results ……WHY DID HE ACCEPT…?…THE RESULTS SHOULD NOT WAIT PAST TODAY ..THE SOUL OF ALL THE INNOCENT KENYANS ARE AT RISK…..OUR BELOVED PRESIDENT RAILA CAN U PLIZ DO SOMETHING. WE ALL LOVED YOU.

  • ochieng collins

    Kenyans have spoken but it seems the incumbent was not ready to lose gracefully!However i’m saddend bytheway the violence meted out to fellow Kenyans by their other countrymen.It is sad the they have to suffer for the mistakes of a greedy man.Alll I can plead to my fellow country men is to observe peace.for christs sake we don’t have to be another Rwanda!If their is a crime committed then let those aggrieved seek legal redress!killing or looting willl not solve anything!Peace to Kenya.

  • http://afriboy.blogspot.com/ afriboy

    It might be premature to celebrate, but hope we must keep, truth must we value amidst stories of vote rigging.

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