2007 election not rigged – Kriegler

The 2007 General Elections were not rigged but Kenya’s Electoral Commission messed up the exercise making it impossible to tell who really won the poll

Johann Kriegler

Johann Kriegler

This was the verdict of the Independent Review Commission on the 2007 Elections. The Commission, headed by retired South African judge, Johann Kriegler, presented its report yesterday to President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The President and Prime Minister promised to discuss the report in the coalition cabinet in order to decide how best to reform Kenya’s electoral system.

Supporters of Raila’s ODM party have expressed disappointment with Kriegler’s findings and insist the elections were deliberately rigged in Kibaki’s favour. However, during the Commission hearings, evidence emerged that all political parties committed electoral fraud within their ethnic strongholds.

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga were the two top protagonists in the tightly-fought presidential race. After Kibaki was declared winner, supporters of Raila rejected the results. Riots and ethnic clashes, especially in the Rift Valley, caused the deaths of over 1,000 people and made half a million homeless.

International peace talks led by Koffi Annan resulted in a coalition government, with Kibaki keeping the presidency and Raila appointed to the new post of Prime Minister. Johann Kriegler’s Commission of Inquiry was formed as part of the peace talks to analyze what went wrong with the elections.

According to Kriegler, the Kenyan people need to change the way they view and conduct elections. “Even if you fired the entire Electoral Commission of Kenya, and you appointed new people to conduct an election under the same circumstances, they will fail,” Kriegler has been quoted as saying.

While the casting of ballots proceeded smoothly, vote counting ruined the credibility of the polls. In many constituencies, incomplete results were declared. In other constituencies, election clerks were hired the day before the vote and sent to work without training. However, political parties were also to blame as each thought it would get an advantage by influencing the employment of clerks.

Final tallies were misinterpreted, there was too much pressure from political parties while, on numerous instances, people were allowed to vote more than once. In Kibaki and Raila strongholds, police officers and election observers were removed from polling centres which went ahead to, “declare” results.

Voters who queued for hours will be dismayed to learn that elections officials simply made up the final figures. The Returning Officer for Changamwe Constituency confessed to announcing wrong results because he was tired and hadn’t slept for three days. But the worst revelation came from a Returning Officer from Kirinyaga Central who admitted before the Commission that the current Member of Parliament for the constituency had infact lost the election.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission of Kenya spent thousands of dollars buying 210 laptop computers to assist in the tallying of election results. The computers were never used.

On its part, the Electoral Commission has blamed politicians for piling excessive pressure that disrupted its election procedures. Many constituencies had at least twenty candidates vying for the legislature and dozens for local authority seats in addition to at least ten presidential candidates. Since electoral law states that all party agents must assent to the final count in each constituency, getting unanimous agreement among the many agents and observers proved impossible.

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One Response

  1. Justice Kriegler and his commission will be paid by International Organisations of whom the biggest contribitors will be the European Union. My opinion is that outside forces were directly to blame for the mess that engulfed Kenya after the 2007 elections. Of course they worked with their Kenyan puppets to cause the mayhem. The EU observers were among the first to declare the elections as flawed. Surprisingly some of the results they used were Molo Constituency results. And then the returning officer from Molo constituency later stands before the Kriegler Commission and declares that he announced partial results. The same results that the EU observers enthusiastically used to yell that votes had been added to Kibaki. One would think that with all the resources and expertise at the EU observers disposal, they would have investigated further before giving such inflammatory information. I think that there was a plan to discredit the results if they were announced in Kibaki’s favour.
    That is why the Kriegler commission’s conclusion is funny and ironical. He says that they looked for evidence of rigging at KICC for 6 months without getting any. And he goes ahead to recommed the dismissal of the commissioners for mistakes (if any) committed by the Commission’s employees, political parties, voters, politicians and their agents. It is a disgusting world that we live in. But anyway, Kriegler was pushed by his conscience, hence, to the dismay of his paymasters, he refused to say that there was rigging at KICC. God bless him! He however said that there was ballot stuffing countrywide in the ballot boxes, an allegation that contradicts the election observers from the AU, EU and the ever self righteous and perfectionist Kenyan mainstream media houses.

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