04 March 2013

Kenya Decides (A Compilation Post)

I am going to toss things that I find interesting up here regarding the election in Kenya. It is by no means comprehensive, so do make suggestions if anything important is missing.

Voice of America is providing live updates here.
The Election Observation Group has released some initial findings on the process of opening the polls this morning: 
  • 99.4% of polling stations had all the necessary materials for voting
  • 99.6% of polling stations had security officers present
  • 8% of polling stations either did not have an electronic poll book or the electronic poll book failed
  • 95.6% of ballot boxes were shown to be empty before being sealed
  • 59.7% of polling stations opened on time (before 6:15)
Follow SMS election monitoring from Uchaguzi using the Ushahidi platform. See info here.

CNN offers a useful general overview of the candidates, and why the international community is worried that there will be some violence. (CNN http://bit.ly/12mUTxV
Worries of a plot to disrupt the elections, possibly through terrorist violence in Nairobi. (Capital FM http://bit.ly/12mW8gx)
Kenyans are vowing that they will not turn to fighting following tomorrow's elections. (CSM http://bit.ly/XQtvAQ
Raila Odinga complained of vote-rigging by his main rival, Uhuru Kenyatta. (Telegraph http://bit.ly/12mWiEH
A new technology is being employed to ensure that the votes are not rigged. (AlertNet http://bit.ly/YZi0u2
CNN reporters say the will not give up the source of their report that a militia is training in the Rift Valley. (Capital FM http://bit.ly/YZih01)
Foreign Policy reports in its morning email:
Early reports Monday indicated that turn-out was high but also included reports of overnight violence. In the coastal city of Mombasa, a machete-wielding gang attacked a group of police officers, killing nine. Across the country, long lines were reported as Kenyans waited up to six hours in line to cast their ballots. Ahead of the election, the country's outgoing president, Mwai Kibaki appealed for peace. "I also make a passionate plea for all of us to vote peacefully," he said. "Indeed, peace is a cornerstone of our development."
Africa is a Country on how not to report on Kenya:
Kenyans vote today (in some places voting have already started). And somehow, as in any election in any African country, the cliches are not far behind. “Will Kenya fall into mayhem after the results of the general elections are announced?” “Will one of (East) Africa’s most politically stable countries see a return of post-election violence that swept through the country five years ago?” “Has tribalism been eradicated in Kenya?” We can’t count how often international reporters have asked these questions in the past days. Like French soldiers in the northern Mali, journalist of every major international broadcaster and some even of tiny national news organizations have parachute landed in Kenya ahead of the general elections. Some of them, even if they won’t admit it, secretly hope to see a bit violence, albeit skirmishes. Some American outlets have taken six month old political violence and presented these as happening right now. Journalists love the rush and a little ‘war reporting’ most definitely won’t hurt the career; it looks good on a CV. Reporting ahead of Kenya’s election by the international media can basically be placed in two general categories: optimism and, of course, no surprise, pessimism.
Daily Nation satirizes foreign reporting on Kenyan elections:
Non-government organisations are understood to have teams on standby, ready to supply quotes about rampant corruption, grinding poverty, and soaring unemployment.

“We have prepared for the worst,” said an NGO representative. In the event of a peaceful election, journalists will be able to choose from a range of row-back options, including:

"A nightmarish air of normality hung over the Kenyan capital...; “A fragile peace was holding as election results came in....; “An uneasy calm fell over the tense capital...”

“Kenya confounded its critics...”

Daily briefings will include frequent use of key, major, strategic, vital and critical.