Friday, March 8, 2013

Days pass as we wait for the Kenyan Presidential Results

Dear readers

I am back in the US now. I feel that my experience watching the Kenyan elections was exhilarating and overwhelmingly positive. Personally, from what I saw, I have a high level of confidence in the IEBC process from what I saw. We still are praying for peace.

When I left Nairobi, over 24 hours ago, people were getting tense waiting for the presidential results. I noticed that the news media were not reporting total percentages for the presidential race anymore. Instead they were reporting official results constituency by constituency. I SPECULATE that this was done to keep things calm both inside and outside of Bomas.

I cannot even get onto the Daily Nation, which is my preferred paper (owned by the Aga Khan). Perhaps the Internet load is too high. The standard is up, and the IEBC is up, although I hear they are updating results to their website manually. I am going to use the East African, which is owned by Nation Media group, as a proxy for the Nation.

I just want to note that, as a matter of logic, the votes from the presidential election must be in and tallied at Bomas. They have already announced the MPs for all 47 counties. Because I watched the votes being counted I know that they counted the presidential race first, before the MP race. Thus, logically, it stands to reason that the numbers of the presidential race are known. I SPECULATE that the delay is being caused by friction between CORD and Jubilee about the final vote count.

The IEBC is reporting results from 14176/31981 of polling stations, in other words, about one half of the votes have been officially verified. The IEBC website, which you can find here  is showing TNA candidate Uhuru Kenyatta leading with 53% with 2,900,198 votes, at the time I am writing this. Conversely, Raila Odinga of the CORD coalition has 2,278,602 votes, for 42% of the total presidential vote. Mudavadi has 3% with 156, 296 votes, Peter Kenneth has 1% with 32,391 votes, and Martha Wangari Karua of Narc Kenya with 20,002 votes or less than 1 percent.

So, the Standard Newspaper is generally considered to be a bit more pro-CORD, whereas the Nation is considered to be a bit more pro-TNA. Nonetheless, the Standard is a reputable media house, so lets see what they say. They are reporting that with results from 153/290 constituencies by 10.20 p.m. Kenya time, Uhuru Kenyatta maintained a lead of  318, 610 votes. The Standard writes that

"Mr Raila Odinga’s Coalition for Reforms and Democracy protested over the incoming results, questioned the process at which they were arrived at, and called for cancellation and fresh start of totaling."

Based on what I saw, I think that the technical failures in the election were dissapointing. However, I think the integrity of the election was very sound, and that the manual process was nearly impossible to rig. I observed tallying at the polling station level, and at the constituency level. I also went to Bomas. It is my view that the only way to rig this election was to steal trucks with ballot boxes (which did actually occur in Mombasa) or to somehow agree at the constituency level among all presiding officers. This would be enormously difficult to pull off, given that at the constituency I went to the POs worked in full view of an audience of 300 political party agents, candidates, and swarms of media and observers. 

The East African (Nation Media Group) is reporting 237 of 290 constituencies reporting. Uhuru Kenyatta has 49.7 percent votes, (5115704) and that Raila Odinga has 43.9 votes (4513233). Under the Kenyan constitution, to win in the first round, a candidate must have 51 percent of the vote, as well as at least 25 Percent of the vote in half of the counties (24). Uhuru has reached this threshold in 31 counties, and Raila has reached this threshold in at least 29 counties. The issue then will be whether Uhuru makes it to 51 percent. 

I ran into Muthoni Wanyeki at Bomas of Kenya thsi week. Writing before the election in the East African, she said Let's hope for the best, prepare for the worst

Another issue that was raised is whether the 51 percent should be out of all ballots cast, or out of valid ballots. I will address that in a different post. 

My reporters in the field tell me that people think "Uhuru might win this thing." They tell me that tension in Nairobi is not bad and that "guys jus' want this thing over & done with."

Signing off now to deal with my jet lag. 


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