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Was Kenya's presidential election free and fair?
The Hundred #28: September 1, 2022
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“It depends on which side you ask. Kenya Kwanza, led by President-elect William Ruto, believes the elections were the most free and fair in Kenya's history. Raila Odinga and his Azimio la Umoja party believe the election was decidedly not free and fair, and allege tampering with the forms used to tabulate the polling stations’ results. They also accuse the electoral commission chairman of declaring a winner without meeting the other commissioners and while 29 constituencies’ electoral results were pending. Raila Odinga has filed a petition against the results and the matter is in the hands of Kenya’s Supreme Court.”
“That is an extremely difficult question to answer. The campaign saw William Ruto’s side alleging that the media was bias and chiefs were being used to mobilise support for Raila Odinga. Since Ruto was declared the winner, Odinga and his supporters have made a vast array of accusations, including that the final result was fabricated. While some claims appear to rest on mistakes or evidence that lacks credibility, others highlight inconsistencies in IEBC behaviour. While it is clear the election was far from perfect, we will have to wait to see whether the outcome reflected the will of the people.”
“Following the 2007 elections, which were followed by the worst post-electoral violence in the country's history, it was concluded that constitutional reform and institutional building were crucial to Kenya's long-term stability. Since 2010, when Kenya promulgated a new constitution, a growing institutional independence has developed, alongside a continued culture of impunity. While the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has worked to deliver free and fair elections, this impunity has complicated its work. In 2013, the first time Kenyans voted under their new constitution, and even more so in 2022, parties and candidates attempted to influence the contest in self-serving ways.”
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