Update on Election Crisis in Kenya
By Tysan, November 14, 2017: Kenya is one of the largest and most prosperous nations in Africa. It has a large Adventist population and it is embroiled in a major election crisis in which three of the key officials are Adventists. A reporter was sent to Nairobi last month by Adventist Today to cover this crisis.
An August 8 election gave President Uhuru Kenyatta the majority, but his re-election was blocked by the Supreme Court that found the balloting may have been rigged and ordered a second round on October 26. Opposition candidate Raila Odinga withdrew from the re-run election because the same election officials were conducting it, and as a result Kenyatta won 98 percent of the vote.
Supreme Court chief justice David Maraga is an Adventist, as is the chief executive of the election commission, Ezra Chiloba. If civil conflict erupts and law enforcement becomes necessary in the aftermath of this very divisive crisis, the cabinet officer in charge of internal law and order, Fred Matiangi is also an Adventist.
“This election must not stand,” Odinga told the Associated Press. “If allowed to stand, it will make a complete mockery of elections and might well be the end of the ballot as a means of instituting government in Kenya.” He announced a national resistance movement.
On Monday, November 6, less than 8 hours before the deadline a petition was filed with the Supreme Court which argued that because of Odinga’a withdrawal, the vote was rendered meaningless. The court has until Thursday this week (November 16) to uphold or again annul Kenyatta’s win. In the meantime, Kenyatta’s swearing-in is on hold. If the petition is upheld by the court, it will order yet another round of voting within 60 days.
The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has urged that Kenyatta and Oding and their parties join in a parliamentary alliance and organize a compromise government. “The untold side of the story is that there are sections of this country who fear that they will be out of power in perpetuity and eternity if the current political architecture prevails,” a member of parliament told Adventist Today. “We must, therefore, start addressing these fears and the starting point has to begin with a serious re-look at the 2010 constitution.”
“Amend the constitution and create a slot for [Odinga] in the Executive. Provide him with two deputies. This will promote inclusivity,” urged the NCCK. There is widespread fear of violence and Adventist Today has been informed the police have been deployed along the border between Kericho and Kisumu counties after youth attacked passenger vehicles with stones.
Supporters of both candidates have dismissed the power sharing proposal by the NCCK. They all maintain they will not enter a deal like the 2008 Grand Coalition Government
At the same time there are some internal conflicts among the Supreme Court jurists. Judge Njoki Ndung’u has been accused of misconduct, sabotaging the activities of the court by participating in an illegal work boycott. Her lawyer has said that she wants former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga summoned to court so that she can question him. Ndung’u dissented from the decision nullifying the first election in conjunction with another justice, J. B. Ojwang. News media reported earlier that Mutunga accused her of falsifying minutes besides citing her for cross misconduct when he served as Chief Justice.
Odinga’s National Resistance Movement does not recognize President Kenyatta’s victory, believing that both the August 8 and October 26 elections were rigged. Senator James Orengo announced on Sunday, November 5, that the resistance movement recognizes Odinga as the legitimate president of Kenya. It has also announced demonstrations.
The opposition coalition has also asked its supporters to boycott a number of business corporations because of their connections to President Kenyatta, including telecommunication giant Safaricom, Bidco Oil and Brookside Dairies and its brands Molo Milk and Delamere Milk. Bidco Industries also manufactures a wide range of household products like Kimbo cooking fat, Elianto and Golden Fry, and White Star bar soap.
Odinga has claimed that Kenyatta’s Jubilee party is planning to undermine his resistance movement by offering key government positions to its leaders to entice them to leave the opposition. He said that he was offered 25 billion Kenya Shilling ($242 million) to abandon his quest for the presidency following the disputed August 8 poll.
The Kenyatta administration has shut down two civil society groups which questioned President Kenyatta’s win in the second-round election. The two nonprofits been told they are operating illegally and are under investigation. The organizations have also been accused of receiving money from international investor George Soros. In a letter seen by Adventist Today on Monday, November 6, a government official stated that the two organizations have been operating in Kenya illegally. The two groups were allegedly in the process of preparing petitions to challenge Kenyatta’s win at the Supreme Court.
Adventist Today has a reporter in Nairobi to provide an update to our readers once the Supreme Court decision is announced.