By Tysan, October 25, 2017: A second attempt at electing a president in Kenya is scheduled for tomorrow (October 26) after the nation’s Supreme Court invalidated the original balloting on August 8. As Adventist Today has previously reported, three of the key players in this national crisis are Adventists; the chief executive of the elections authority, the chief judge of the Supreme Court and the cabinet official in charge of internal security.
The opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) has asked Kenyan’s to withhold their votes and not go to the polls as it seeks to deny re-election to President Uhuru Kenyatta under a constitutional provision that requires a national election to be held in all parliamentary constituencies in order to be valid. In some counties governors have openly declared that no election shall be conducted tomorrow.
In addition to a majority of the total votes cast, to be elected president in Kenya a candidate must get at least 25 percent of the total votes cast in 24 counties. President Uhuru Kenyatta may not be able to meet this constitutional requirement. NASA candidate Raila Odinga has stated that there will be no election tomorrow and since October 10 has withdrawn from the campaign because the same people are in charge of conducting the second try as handled the first round which was nullified.
There may be no voting in up to 20 counties as NASA boycotts the balloting, although this is speculative because Kenyatta got votes in most of these counties. Migori County, where the Governor is an Adventist, is one where NASA leaders have declared no voting will take place, although it is very unlikely that none of President Kenyatta’s supporters will turn out to vote in these counties. (If you are interested in a list of the 20 counties in question, look at the note after the end of this story.)
Kenyatta is also likely to get 25 per cent or more of the total votes in 24 counties. Even if the 20 counties completely boycott the second-round presidential poll, that leaves 27 counties.
Training for election officials by the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IBEC) has been violently disrupted in some places, painting a picture of what might happen on Election Day. Police officials have assured voters of maximum security and maybe this will be enough to convince Kenyans to get out and vote tomorrow.
Opposition candidate Odinga earlier called for weekly “no reforms, no elections” protests which led to fears of mass demonstrations on Election Day and possible clashes. Reports in Kenyan news media indicated that he had called for the “mother of all demonstrations” on Election Day, but in a recent interview with the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) he asked his supporters to “stay away” from the polls on Election Day.
Developments Since the Last Report in Adventist Today
After the presidential election was annulled by the Supreme Court of Kenya on September 1, a number of events have occurred. We will attempt to quickly summarize them for our readers so that you can better understand what happens tomorrow.
NASA has developed a plan to make sure no valid election takes place based on Article 138 (2) of the 2010 Constitution which states that a presidential election must be held in each parliamentary constituency in the country. This means that if no voter turns up at any polling place in a constituency in any of their strongholds, then the presidential results would be nullified if there were an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Speaking to KTN on Monday, September 25, Otiende Amollo, the Member of Parliament for Rarieda, said if one or more constituencies have no votes cast, by law, the election will be invalidated. Attorney General Githu Muigai was of a different opinion and said he has never heard of an election being invalidated on the basis of “where was the other party on the day of the election.”
NASA has been demanding the firing of IEBC chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba, that French IT firm Safran Morpho not transmit the election results and Dubai printing firm Al Ghurair have no role in the repeat election. Chiloba is an Adventist.
President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has been on a collision course with the judiciary ever since the Supreme Court annulled his re-election. The Jubilee Party is seeking to pass legislation to change the law that requires presidents to be sworn in by the Chief Justice or Deputy Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The bill seeks to give that role to any judge on the Supreme Court. The decision to introduce the amendment came after Kenyatta met with Jubilee Party legislators at the State House in Nairobi on September 26.
Among the efforts to find a solution to the crisis there was a September 27 meeting between representatives of IEBC, Jubilee and NASA which ended unsuccessfully after failing to reach an agreement. IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati has revealed that NASA raised concerns over a bill seeking to change electoral laws. The two political parties were forced to take a break early on to consult their party leaders during the closed door meeting held at Bomas of Kenya.
In another attempt to calm the situation, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) offered the IEBC a deal to purchase all the ballot papers and result forms for the repeat election. IEBC welcomed the offer, saying it would restore public faith in the commission and the election process, but both the Jubilee Party and NASA’s Raila Odinga have rejected the offer. Jubilee says the deal is illegal and Odinga says IEBC intends to hide behind the UNDP to have Al Ghurair print the ballots.
The bishops of the Anglican Church of Kenya have declared support for NASA in calling for the firing of IEBC executive Chiloba and other election officials. The clerics urged IEBC to effectively provide free, fair and credible elections. NASA is demanding the removal of Chiloba because they claim he was used to manipulate the August 8 election.
On September 27, the 35 Anglican bishops announced their stance during a press conference at the All Saints’ Cathedral in Nairobi. “The IEBC must exclude staff who bungled the election. In order to avoid the possibility of another bungled election, IEBC must do everything within its power to cleanse itself and take corrective action, including exclusion of those who failed in their duties during the last election,” said Archbishop Daniel ole Sapit.
IEBC chair Chebukati has expressed fears about plans by the Jubilee Party to make changes in existing electoral laws to favor their candidates. He said the country does not need to amend the laws ahead of the October 26 presidential election as it will things backward. Jubilee MPs passed a bill seeking to amend the electoral laws to make drastic changes including to recognize manually transmitted results.
The Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) secretary-general Francis Atwoli attacked Interior Secretary Fred Matiangi (an Adventist) after Matiangi withdrew NASA candidate Odinga’s security detail. Atwoli told Matiangi to treat Odinga with respect as he was an elder statesman and Matiangi’s cabinet position could by in limbo if Odinga ends up wining the election tomorrow. Matiangi said the decision to withdraw the security detail would not be reversed.
In talking to a number of Adventists about the repeat election, Adventist Today has found that there are a variety of views among Adventists in Kenya. Many have taken sides in the political conflict and reason in the direction of their political affiliations. Others are concerned that something may reflect badly on the Adventist faith because of the involvement of three Adventists in key roles, including Matiangi.
There have been some incidents of violence and unconstitutional activities as the leaders of the political parties have done certain things that could risk in the future of Kenya. An example is when Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe said that Kenya needs a dictator. Murathe said a benevolent dictator would make Kenya prosper like its East African neighbors Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia. Murathe had previously claimed President Kenyatta will be ruthless, lethal and brutal in dealing with national issues in his second term. Murathe made this statement while appearing live on a KTN News television debate on September 29.
A man from Nakuru who claims to be a prophet has predicted the outcome of the second poll tomorrow. The self-appointed prophet said neither President Kenyatta nor NASA leader Odinga will lead the country after the repeat election. He said God has stripped Kenyatta of the presidency and will not allow Odinga to taste the top seat. The prophet said the end is near and God will be in charge after the fresh round of voting.
On September 29, NASA opposition leader Odinga issued new demands to be met if he is to participate in the repeat election. He said if the Jubilee Party would drop their efforts to amend electoral laws, he would agree to continue to campaign against President Kenyatta. The opposition leader made this statement when he met with a delegation of foreign envoys, including United States Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec and Marietje Schaake, the chief observer for the European Union monitoring the elections in Kenya. Odinga maintained that he will not be participating in the repeat election if his demands are not addressed by IEBC. Jubilee has demanded that changes be made to the electoral laws to avoid any victory being nullified by the Supreme Court in the future.
President Kenyatta has dismissed calls for the creation of a caretaker government if a repeat presidential election is not completed within 60 days as ordered by the Supreme Court. Speaking during a political rally in Kakamega County on September 30, Kenyatta said he will still be president after October 26 until a new president is elected and sworn in. He said Odinga and NASA should forget about negotiations on forming a caretaker government.
There have been demonstrations and police have clashed with protestors in Kisumu as anti-IEBC demonstrations kicked off countrywide. Protesters in Kondele lit bonfires and blocked roads, forcing police officers to use teargas to disperse them. The anti-IEBC demonstrations have also kicked off in Mombasa, Nairobi, Juja and Embu. NASA leaders had earlier stated the demonstrations will take place every Monday and Friday until top IEBC officials including CEO Chiloba leave office.
Chiloba (who is an Adventist) has been accused of being used to rig the election and NASA wants him fired as a step toward free and fair elections. Chiloba has said, “Let NASA demonstrate … I have a work to do.” Adventists in Kenya have different opinions on this issue, but many support his removal as something that may calm the situation.
The United Nations has urged Kenyatta and Odinga to stop attacking constitutional institutions like IEBC and the Supreme Court in the time leading up to tomorrow’s presidential election. The UN asked NASA leader Odinga not to pull out of the repeat election after he threatened to do so. It has also challenged IEBC to ensure the repeat presidential vote is held in accordance with the constitution.
Adventist Today has sent a reporter to Narobi and will report on the outcome of tomorrow’s election as soon as results become available, as well as provide information on related events, especially the three key Adventist players in this national crisis. We hope you will read, comment and share with family and friends. We ask that you pray for peace in Kenya and especially for the safety of our reporter.
The 20 Counties Where it is Possible that No Vote Will Occur
Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kilifi, Kisii, Kisumu, Kitui, Kwale, Lamu, Machakos, Makueni, Migori, Mombasa, Nyamira, Siaya, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Turkana, Vihiga