Kibaki – Kenya’s Unrest

kenya.JPGOne of the most democratically stable countries of Africa, Kenya was left in shambles due to violence and the rioters hitting streets of the Kenya. The presidential election was alleged as a fraud of the democratic system by the re-elected president Mwai Kibaki. On December 30, the Election Commission of Kenya declared the result and stated victory of Mwai Kibaki over Raila Odinga by just 230,000 votes; it was the tightest contest ever in the country for the post of the president.
Mwai Kibaki is the third Kenyan president since 1964; earlier, the Kenyan administration was under the English Crown. After independence in 1964, Jomo Kenyatta became the first president of the republic of Kenya. After his death, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi became his successor followed by Mwai Kibaki. He started the Democratic Party in 1991 after leaving Kenyan African National Union in the same year. His party won the 2002 elections with Kibaki holding the position of the head of the state. After Kibaki was sworn in as the president, there was sense of optimism among the people of Kenya for the government under Moi was corrupt and his regime became despotic.

The positive hope shown by the people towards Kibaki was immediately shattered when Kibaki rejected the pre-election Memorandum. Then, like his predecessor, he began to discharge his duty in an autocratic manner and justified with the current constitution which Kenyans wanted him to phase out. The latest controversy was of taking the election commission under his control and appointing the commissioner himself, thereby marking his dictatorship. Even after Odinga’s party Orange Democratic Movement captured 95 of the total 210 seats in the parliament, far more than any other party in Kenya, the Election Commission still announced Kibaki as the victor. This made the mob turn violent in a country like Kenya which is one of the most developed countries of Africa.
The supporters of Odinga started protesting soon after Kibaki was sworn as the president. The supporters became violent shortly after and clashed with the police. Both Kibaki and Odinga asked people to be calm, not to be violent and not to harm the public. Soon Bon Ki Mon, General Secretary of UN, asked the people to maintain peace. Odinga cancelled his rally which was going to take place on January 1, 2008 on the orders of the government.
The death toll of the ethnic reached to 180 people (Government stats) but the opposition put the toll at about 250 deaths. Luos, historically marginalized and deprived of the chance to have one of their own as president after the most dubious election in Kenya’s history, have also suffered. Police are accused of shooting the Luos people in both Kisumu and Nairobi. Odinda belongs to the Luos tribe. Revege was soon taken by them with as many as thirty people dying when fire engulfed a church near Eldoret town. 200 members of Kibaaki’s Kikuyu tribe had taken refuge there in fear of their lives. Most deaths came from police firing, a death toll of 143 people. This has even caused unrest amongst the Indians, specially Gujaratis. A lot of property has been burnt and the lack of security within the state has made them insecure. But this tension is not going to end until president Kibaki leaves his post and makes Kenya a peaceful country again.

Anupriya Prakash