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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Kibaki holed up in Kampala as Kenya bleeds

News reaching this blogger is that Kibaki is hiding out in Kampala as Kenya continues to bleed by his hand.

Sources on the ground confirm that Mwai Kibaki, he who famously elbowed himself to the presidency and consequently presided over his own swearing in at a small private ceremony on what appeared to be the State House lawn, where the National Anthem was neither played nor sung, as required by law, is now relaxing at the Golf Course hotel in Kampala as Kenyans continue to die in scores as Police shoot them down mercilessly for protesting the elections that have been described by local and international observers and senior officials of the ECK as "fundamentally flawed". Various sourced place the death toll at between 250 and 300.

The US effectively retracted a statement from Washington that had congratulated Kibaki on his victory by releasing a statement from its Nairobi embassy expressing concern about “serious problems experienced during the vote counting process”. A US State Department spokesman was quoted on international press saying "We ain't congratulating nobody". Separately, Ross Hynes, Canada’s high commissioner to Kenya, offered Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, a public show of support by allowing a crowd of journalists to witness their meeting by the swimming pool of a Nairobi hotel. The scenes were not shown on Kenyan television because the government has imposed a blackout on live radio and television broadcasts as supporters of Raila Odinga, incensed by the rigged election, clashed with police around the country.

The European Union’s chief election observer said the ECK had “not succeeded in establishing the credibility of the tallying process”. Suspicions of manipulation were stoked by the disappearance of several electoral officials and by discrepancies between results announced at polling stations and those later announced by the electoral commission.

Meanwhile, four electoral commissioners, Jack Tumwa, D. A. Ndamburi, Samuel arap Ngeny and Mr Jeremiah Matagaro, on New Year's eve called for an independent inquiry into whether any of their colleagues tampered with presidential election results before they were announced in Nairobi. They agree with election observers that there were significant irregularities in some of the results, and described the complaints raised by the Orange Democratic Movement as "weighty." They said information received from returning officers after results had been announced at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre cast doubt on the figures presented to the public. They cited the case of Molo constituency where the presidential figures announced in Nairobi differed from those read at the constituency by upwards of 25,000 votes. On violence, they said: "These events appear to have been set off by the statement issued yesterday by the ECK, releasing the presidential results and we cannot remain silent under the circumstances. Like all Kenyans, we are deeply affected."

Suggestions of a power sharing deal have been totally rejected by ODM, with Raila Odinga adamant that he will only negotiate with Kibaki once Kibaki comes out to Kenyans and concedes that he lost the election and steps down. The chairman of the African Union, John Agyekum Kufuor, who is also the president of Ghana, is expected in Nairobi Wednesday to help mediate the impasse. There is also talk of Archbishop Desmond Tutu jetting in for the same. But Kenya's Foreign Minister, Raphael Tuju, who lost his Parliamentary seat alongside 18 ministers in Kibaki's government, including the vice president, has insisted that foreigners are welcome to help, but the problem is purely a Kenyan problem that can only be solved by Kenyans. In light of ODM's Million Man March planned for Thursday, it seems things are bound to only get worse as it seems neither side is willing to give ground.

Asked whether the ECK was credible, Commissioner Tumwa said: “You are to judge us... it is you to say whether there is any credibility for the ECK.”

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