Kenya had record making heavy turnout for the elections today. People wanted, and took advantage of their chance to participate and vote. And from what I read so far, things went well. People had to wait in long lines, but it was generally peaceful, and people were able to cast their ballots. Heavy turnouts usually signal people want a change of government, but the results are not yet in. You can read more at AllAfrica.com, and the AllAfrica blogs on Kenya. If you click these last two links, by that time all the information may be updated, and we may know more about the results.

The polling was not without problem or incident. There were some serious problems with missing names from the voter rolls, including the candidate Raila Odinga’s name was missing,
from The Standard:

ODM presidential candidate Mr Raila Odinga finally voted on Thursday at 12.36pm.

Earlier in the morning, Raila and his wife, Ida, had failed to cast their votes because his name was allegedly missing from the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) LangÕata constituency voter register.

Moving over to South Africa, Dibussi Tande has collected selections and links to a number of South African blogs that discuss the recent party congress that elected Jacob Zuma to be President of the ANC, which means Zuma is likely to be the next President of South Africa.

Kenyan blogger Ken Opalo believes that Zuma’s election is a loss for Africa because he lacks Mbeki’s Pan-Africanist credentials
. . .
He has proven to be a populist and to the best of my knowledge has not shown much interest on the region as a whole. If he chooses to be a domestic leader, like he seems he will, his election will indeed end up being a loss to the African people who desperately need visionary continental leadership to correct the evils of poverty, disease, ignorance and bad leadership.

There are a number of other bloggers who express both optimism and doubt about Zuma’s potential as a leader, and his strengths and weaknesses. All have points of view worth considering.

And in Nigeria Yar’Adua has removed Malam Nuhu Ribadu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Ribadu has been ordered to attend a compulsory one year study at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), in Kuru near Jos.

Ribadu has gotten a lot of credit for cracking down on the 419 scammers. But it also looks like he may be a fixer for Obasanjo. On Dec. 22 I quoted from an article by Tony Eluemunor, who is Abuja chief for the Daily Independent.

Eluemunor writes:

Nigerians may not know it but the man Obasanjo used to ram in support for his failed third term bid and in getting the last April polls to go his way, Nuhu Ribadu, has become active again in advancing pro-Obasanjo plans. Ribadu is the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman.

It is said that after meeting Obasanjo in early June, Ribadu began to arraign Yar’Adua’s former governor colleagues, distancing them from him, so that if the presidential poll was cancelled, Yar’Adua would have scant support among his former co-governors.

Yar’Adua’s ratings had remained high everywhere until Ribadu began to spread the message that the President was shielding his former co-governors from being prosecuted for corruption.
. . .

Ribadu’s used his anti-corruption agency to discredit Obasanjo’s political enemies ahead of the April 2007 elections but his sins are now forgotten. He had produced reports indicting dozens of politicians, who were opposed to Obasanjo’s Third Term bid, and which INEC acted upon to bar such persons from contesting the elections.

Courts have been reversing such decisions in ruling after ruling. To show that INEC was insincere, scarcely any of those so barred from the polls have been prosecuted six months after.

So it looks like Yar’Adua is consolidating his position. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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