We-the-People is a citizen’s alliance that seeks to provide alternative public leadership in the national interest. It brings together a diverse group of leaders from trade unions, civil society, academia, faith-based organisations, the media, women, youth, people with disabilities, minorities and citizens at large who have come together to address the Kenyan crisis.
A week ago, We-the-People cautioned against rushing into an election for which the country was ill-prepared. Our call for a postponement of the election was not heeded, and sadly, our fears have been vindicated.
We-the-People assert that the October 26 election was neither credible nor legitimate, and was not legal for the following reasons:
- The election was not conducted by an independent electoral management body. Former Commissioner Roselyn Akombe fled into exile saying the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had become party to the country’s political crisis and was characterised by partisan decision-making at the highest levels. IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati affirmed her complaints and said he did not have confidence the Commission could conduct a credible election.
- The election suffered from a historically low turnout, including the absence of participation in some parts of the country. This denies the election a broad based mandate.
- The opposition boycott coupled with the effects of violence -- particularly by security agents -- meant the political environment was not supportive of a free, fair and credible election.
- The refusal to obey the Supreme Court order to open the servers for scrutiny so as to determine what went wrong in August to avoid similar mistakes meant that there was a continuing violation of the law.
- The management of the electoral process, as well as the results transmission and announcement, did not conform to the requirements of the Constitution. It mirrored issues raised in the petition to the Supreme Court, which annulled the results of the August 8 presidential election, including:
- Results based on far less than 100 per cent of each constituency’s polling stations
- Evidence of multiple Forms 34A from the same polling stations with different results
- Changing numbers in the Voter Register
- Forms 34B that are missing serial numbers
- Forms 34B printed in non-standard formats
- Notes and data missing from the hand-over and take-over sections
- Pages missing from published Forms 34B.
Rather than using the historic Supreme Court judgment to reform and raise electoral standards, the five-year cycle of electoral instability has been further entrenched. This is horribly costly in ways the nation cannot afford, and continues to create uncertainty and fear. The country needs to draw a line on this and raise the bar for elections once and for all.
We-the-People are concerned that a legal challenge is again probable, and far from resolving the failure of the August 8 election, it raises the prospect of yet another election being held within the 60 days as required by the Constitution; or, at the very least, an on-going political crisis with a protracted legal contest.
This means Kenya is not only back where it started in August, but it is also faced with a deepening and dangerous national crisis. We-the-People reject this illegal election, and also reject calls for another election in 90 days as these would have to be managed by what has now become a completely discredited electoral management body. Furthermore, the prevailing atmosphere of fear and violence cannot support another election so soon after the last two. The country would need to heal before it can conduct another election.
The country is in an escalating crisis that has been exacerbated rather than resolved by last week’s election. It has resulted in more disruption, death and violence. Kenya is in the grip of a massive security crisis marked by impunity in state institutions.
We-the-People note the failure by the international community to support democracy in Kenya. Do Kenyans not deserve the highest standards of democracy?
There is a looming crisis of leadership, and the country needs instead a mechanism to reassert the sovereignty of the people.
Who is in charge of the country as these problems are resolved?
- It is not clear whether the temporary incumbency arrangement is still in play.
- There are limits on how the IEBC can be reformed with the diminished powers of the president during the temporary incumbency period
- Mr Uhuru Kenyatta lacks broad public legitimacy, and it is unclear how the opposition’s resistance will impact his ability to effectively govern the country.
We-the-People seek to institute a mechanism to manage a transition period within a year in which we can properly reform the electoral management body and establish an agency that can genuinely deliver free, fair and credible elections, help reduce national tensions and divisions, and provide solace for victims and survivors.
We-the-People call on the country to work together to find creative ways to resolve this crisis and heal the tensions and injuries inflicted on the nation.
October 31, 2017