Kenya Election Crisis: Rumors and Developments Through Wednesday
By Tysan, August 23, 2017: Problems with legal papers and evidence, as well as a key staff member of the agency overseeing the elections who may soon go back to her primary job at the United Nations, mixed with rumors and signs of uneasiness on all sides as the Supreme Court prepares to consider the petition to set aside the results of Kenya’s presidential election two weeks ago. Adventists continue to pray for peace and play key roles in the drama.
Kenya’s top court may throw out evidence that was filed with the court after the petition asking to set aside the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta was filed on Friday night. The Independent Boundary and Elections Commission (IBEC) has protested that the National Super Alliance (NASA) allegedly filed more evidence past the deadline. According to the Supreme Court, NASA was still filing more documents on Sunday, two days after the deadline had elapsed.
While NASA maintains that the documents it filed on Sunday are not new evidence but an extension of what they had filed on Friday, Supreme Court registrar Esther Nyaiyaki said the new documents had been noted as received on Sunday. This means the documents may be thrown out next week. Such was the case in 2013 when a similar petition filed by the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) was thrown out by the court for filing late.
NASA claims the additional documents are copies of Forms 34A which are secondary to those filed on Friday. A document is deemed to have been filed when the filing fee is paid, and in this case, that was done before the Friday midnight deadline. “That is the legal position,” NASA attorney Paul Mwangi was quoted by The Nation newspaper.
NASA has warned the Supreme Court against making a fast decision on the petition it has filed. Musalia Mudavadi, the head of the NASA campaign, said on Monday while in Vihiga County that the opposition coalition will not accept a scenario like the one witnessed in 2013. Mudavadi said hopes are very high in NASA that the evidence they have gathered will be enough to convince the Supreme Court to overturn President Kenyatta’s win. “We feel passionately that justice will be served this time around because we have a tight case,” Mudavadi said. In 2013, then Chief Justice Willy Mutunga delivered a two-minute ruling on the petition filed by CORD to challenge Kenyatta’s win, but the Supreme Court rejected the case.
Yet another issue has surfaced during this crisis as David Ndii, an economist and advisor to NASA candidate for president Raila Odinga, started a petition two divide Kenya into two nations. Ndii argues that Kenya has been ruled by only two communities to the detriment of the other communities. He is referring to the Kikuyu and Luo tribes. He claims the petition is justified under Article 20 of the Charter on Human and Peoples Rights of 1986.
Ndii stated that the 2017 election, like previous elections, were rigged with massive fraud. He cited protests that followed in Nairobi and Kisumu where at least 10 people were killed. Police have been accused of shooting protesters, including two little girls aged six months and 10 years. This violence indicates that Kenya might do better as two neighboring countries.
Regions such as Nyanza and Western Kenya, Turkana and the coast region could be separated from the Nairobi region, Rift Valley and North Eastern Kenya. Ndii argues that this is allowed in the constitution and he is now seeking at least one million signatures for the petition. This is not the first time Ndii has called for national schism. In 2016, he penned a controversial article in Sunday Nation calling for Kenya to be divided into different ethnic nations. He warned that the country would burn if Kenyatta was declared the winner in another sham election.
Adventist Today reporting shows that Kenya is a tribal country where ethnicity divides the people and makes civic peace, national unity and patriotism difficult. Favoritism and disunity has swept away true love for country among much of the population, and the terrible violence witnessed in 2007-2008, and currently in some parts of Kenya.
Ezra Chiloba is the chief executive officer of IBEC; one of the central actors in the current crisis and an Adventist by faith. He has expressed confidence that if the Supreme Court requires it, his agency can implement another round of voting in a new presidential election. But now he has something more to worry about: Roselyn Akombe, a top IBEC official, is set to leave her job at the commission because her former employer, the United Nations, has confirmed they would like to have her back “fairly soon.”
Akombe took an unpaid leave of absence from the UN, as well as a 70 percent pay cut, to go to work for IBEC and evidently planned to return to the UN as soon as the election was over. “Akombe, at some point, will re-join the Department of Political Affairs and then she’ll be a UN staffer,” the Nation quoted UN spokesman Farhan Haq. He said she has worked for the UN for 15 years and once her leave of absence expires, she will go back there.
Akombe’s departure is of keen interest as all eyes are on IBEC as it attempts to prove to the Supreme Court that the elections were free and fair and that President Kenyatta won re-election squarely. She has been the public face of IBEC, making media appearances and handling interviews on behalf of the commission with ease and poise.
Chiloba, the Adventist serving as CEO of the commission, is said to have encountered a lot condemnation from Kenyans who feel he has been ineffective in handling the recent election in which opposition president candidate Raila Odinga was expected to win and then suddenly the incumbent, President Kenyatta was declared the winner.
There are rumors that some IBEC officials have ended their lives and left suicide notes about unfair acts in the election, about others resigning and some in hiding for fear of their lives. “We are looking forward to a better ruling in the court concerning [the] petition NASA has presented,” one of Adventist in Migori County told Adventist Today, asking that his name not be used.
It is a time of fear in Kenya, and the editors ask that our readers pray for the Adventists and others who wait for a decision by the Supreme Court. To a much greater degree than our readers in North America, Europe and Australia are used to, fellow believers play key roles in this very real drama; as CEO of the election agency, as cabinet secretary for internal security in the country and as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. If you have questions for the Adventist Today reporter in Kenya, please send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org and type “Kenya” in the subjection line.