Kenya


Police violence following Kenya election, inset Ambassador Ranneberger

Police violence following Kenya election, inset Ambassador Ranneberger

The energetic continuation of Bush administration policies in East Africa and the Horn of Africa are damaging the United States. Though far less well known, these policies are as mishandled and misbegotten as the Iraq war, the handling of the Katrina disaster, and the global financial meltdown.

US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger bears much responsibility for the disasterous handling and direction of these policies. He actively undermined democracy in the Kenya elections a year ago. As a result Kenya is less democratic, and less safe and secure. Extra judicial murders are on the rise.

The New York Times finally wrote some of this up in A Chaotic Kenya Vote and a Secret U.S. Exit Poll. Much of this was reported at the time in a variety of places, you can read an account with links in this article, including the comment thread: The Coup in Kenya.

What the NYT article makes clear is that Ranneberger had determined Kibaki should win the election before the election occurred.

Heading the institute’s Kenya operations in 2007 was Mr. Flottman, on leave from his job as a senior counsel for a major defense contractor. … Mr. Flottman said he was surprised when, before the election, Mr. Ranneberger made public comments praising Mr. Kibaki and minimizing Kenyan corruption.

Behind the scenes, Mr. Flottman recalled, the ambassador was even more direct. A few months before the election, Mr. Ranneberger proposed releasing a voter survey showing Mr. Kibaki ahead and trying to block a roughly simultaneous one favoring Mr. Odinga, according to Mr. Flottman, who said he witnessed the episode during a meeting at the ambassador’s office. The suggestion was dropped, he said, after the embassy learned that the pro-Odinga results were already out.

“It was clear, in my opinion, that the ambassador was trying to influence the perceptions of the Kenyan electorate, and thus the campaign,” Mr. Flottman said.

Many of us watched the polling in Kenya and felt the soaring optimism that democracy might really be working. It was quite clear to any observer that the trend was strongly in favor of Mr. Odinga, and the polling was reasonably orderly and peaceful. As the ballots were being counted, President Kibaki and his cronies made a coup, seized control, and declared Kibaki the winner. Ambassador Ranneberger was quick to congratulate Kibaki on his win, although in the face of international opinion he had to retract this later. Then the US through Ambassador Ranneberger and Jendayi Frazer did its best to prevent completion of the vote count, and prevent a recount. Terrible violence followed the elections, and it was clear the security forces were responsible for a majority of the killings. Since it was clear and could not be denied that Odinga had won a lot of votes, the US pressed for a coalition government. That is not what Kenyans voted for. And now Kenyans say government failing them 1 year later.

During the Kenya election the IRI, was conducting an exit poll, which Mr. Flottman was supervising. Since the votes were not counted, Kenyans really wanted to see the results of the exit poll. but the results were supressed. From the NYT:

Under its contract, the institute was expected to consult with the Agency for International Development and the embassy before releasing the exit poll results, taking into account the poll’s technical quality and “other key diplomatic interests.”

Quality was not expected to be a concern. …

When the voting ended and ballot-counting began, Mr. Gibson and others involved in the exit poll said they expected its results to be announced soon.

But senior institute officials decided to withhold it. Most opposed to releasing the numbers, Mr. Flottman said, was Constance Berry Newman, … Mr. Flottman said Ms. Newman opposed “any kind of release from the outset — essentially suggesting it would be inflammatory and irresponsible.”

Ms. Newman, who had worked with Mr. Ranneberger when she was the Bush administration’s assistant secretary of state for African affairs, declined to comment.

Mr. Gibson said he told the institute that its technical concerns were baseless, to no avail. His contract barred him from publicly disclosing the polling data for six months, and in March of last year the institute asked him to sign a new contract that would have restricted him from speaking publicly about the institute’s polling program without written permission.

I think they were trying to shut me up,” he said. “I refused to sign it.”

In July, after his contract expired, Mr. Gibson and one of his doctoral students presented their analysis of the data at a seminar in Washington. A month later — one day before Mr. Gibson was to testify before Kenyan investigators — the institute announced that, after the outside review, it “now had confidence” in the poll and released the results.

When Mr. Kibaki claimed victory on Dec. 30, 2007, the State Department quickly congratulated him and called on Kenyans to accept the outcome, even though international observers had reported instances of serious ballot-counting fraud. American officials backed away from their endorsement the next day and ultimately pushed the deal that made Mr. Odinga prime minister.

After insisting for months that the poll was flawed, the institute released it last August — long past the point of diplomatic impact — after outside experts whom it had hired determined that it was valid. It showed Mr. Kibaki losing by about six percentage points.

Michael Ranneberger led an active fight against democracy in Kenya. But it is not just in Kenya. As his State Department bio says:

Michael E. Ranneberger is currently serving as U.S. Ambassador to Kenya and is also responsible for U.S. relations with Somalia.

He has been ambassador to Kenya since mid 2006, when the Islamic Courts Union took control of Somalia. This brought the first functioning government Somalia had in 15 years. Under the ICU, piracy by Somalis stopped completely. Peace was restored, businesses sprang up, Somalis abroad returned home. But the US claimed that the Islamic government was allied with al Qaeda, even though many people knew, and a West Point study told them that:

“Al Qaeda found more adversity than success in Somalia,” states the report by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. “In order to project power, al Qaeda needed to be able to promote its ideology, gain an operational safe haven, manipulate underlying conditions to secure popular support and have adequate financing for continued operations. It achieved none of these objectives.”

At the end of 2006, the US supported an invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia, contrary to international law. The US helped install a (non) government by the hated Ethiopians allied with the hated Somali warlords, restoring civil war, exploitation, and insecurity to the Somali people. The US arranged with Kenya to rendition refugees of that disaster, who crossed the Kenya border, to be tortured in Ethiopia as “terrorists”. When asked about the US participation in the invasion, and killing Somalis, Ranneberger just ignores the truth and repeats lies:

Question [Dom]: Ever since the last attack by US to Somalia near Kenyan Border, which killed more than 20 innocent civilians. No word of apology has been spelled out yet. Was that not a mistake?

Answer [Ambassador Ranneberger]: I appreciate your question, because there has been a lot of rumors and misinformation, and I am happy to clarify what happened. No innocent civilians have been killed in U.S. attacks. U.S. efforts are solely directly against known terrorists.

This despite the fact that the US was:

running U.S. death squads in Somalia to “clean up” after covert operations. (The latter is no deep dark secret, by the way; officials openly boasted of it to Esquire Magazine.)

But Ambassador Ranneberger blithely continues to support the violent and corrupt TFG he helped install, and innacurately condemn the ICU government he helped overthrow:

Q [Abdalla]: … Somali people were able to say enough is enough and they established a government free from the warlords. The international community instead of forcing the warlords to accept the government it sided with the warlords and allowed the government to be dismantled and Ethiopia succeeded in establishing a client government led by warlords. Somali people again as usual and eager to have law and order they accepted the TFG with it is short comings and the past/present records of its members. The Warlords instead of working for their people they become dysfunctional and started harming the Somali people. Fortunately, in June 2006 the Somali people plus Islamic courts succeeded in getting rid the south-central part from the warlords. The only city they remained was in baidabo with the protection of their Ethiopian master. The international community blatantly ignored the presence of Ethiopian soldiers in a sovereign country. During the reign of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) the Somali people were able to forget the clan mentality and corrupt clan elders. For the first time the minority and un-armed Somali communities felt that they are part of the Somali society. They had a voice thanks to Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and Sheikh Dahir aways who was able to control former militias.

Also, we Somalis in the Diaspora were able to invest in the country in my case I built a house for my mum and planned to visit her in January 2007. Unfortunately, the American justice is with us and our old enemy plus the warlord government is back to Mogadishu. America rewarded the warlords and punished the ICU who brought peace and tranquility to their people. …

All of these good things are destroyed now and we are back to 1991.

A [Ambassador Ranneberger]: I recognize that the Islamic Courts did manage to establish a degree of order in Mogadishu. However, the Islamic Courts never had broad support among the Somali people and, importantly, the Islamic Courts were moving in a very radical direction, which would not have been to the benefit of the Somali people. The Transitional Federal Institutions were developed, with the assistance of Kenya, as the legitimate representatives of the Somali people. With the ousting of the Courts, the TFG now has an opportunity to establish its credibility in order to become an effective, inclusive government. Our objective is to support this process.

I want to emphasize our commitment to an inclusive process that truly bring together all Somalis who reject violence and extremism. This is the only way forward for Somalis to achieve lasting stability and security. I believe that the Somali people are tired of the chaos and conflict that has plagued their country and want to participate in an inclusive political process. This will, in turn, lead to a smooth transition to an elected government in 2009.

You can not appeal to people who reject violence and extremism if you have just overthrown their government by violence and extremism. There is no path to “security and stability” that way. Overthrowing the Somili government with Ethiopian proxies meets no definition of the word inclusive. It works against any possibility for democracy.

Ranneberger is telling the Somalis that he knows better what is good for them than they do. Whatever else this is, it is NOT democracy. The TFG brought violence, exploitation, and insecurity. It has been beaten and discredited since then. The 2009 elections were held by a small group of Somalis in Djibouti, arranged by the US, and then called “representational”. They elected Sheikh Sharif, the handpicked choice of Ambassador Ranneberger. Sheikh Sharif has been “persuaded” by Ranneberger to become an ally of the United States. Sheikh Sharif is supposed to give a new face to the TFG, but so far, there is not much evidence he will be accepted, or that things will change for the better. Any solution to the governance or the piracy problems in Somalia must involve Somali communities. Ranneberger’s actions continue to actively harm any possibility for democratic processes or participation. Inviation only “elections” in Djibouti will not help Somalia.

As b real points out, Ranneberger:

… has had official capacity wrt sudan during the early part of this decade, possessing a cv that intertwines w/ a history of cia hotspots & covert arms transfers

  • country officer in angola (1981-84) while the u.s. was overtly supporting the “proto-terrorist” Unita
  • then constructively engaged as deputy chief of mission in mozambique from ’86-9 while the u.s. was covertly supporting the outright terrorist mvmt Renamo
  • then paraguay for the ’89 coup and on through 1992
  • then ’92-94 around el salvador & guatemala for who knows what
  • a brief stint as deputy chief of mission in mogadishu around ’94
  • then some work in haiti
  • then coordinator for cuban affairs (’95-99)
  • on to ambassador to mali from ’99-2002
  • in sudan from 2002-4 for a civil war while the u.s. supporting the south
  • then on to the african bureau
  • sudan again, as senior representative for sudan
  • and, since 2006, ambassador to kenya & responsibility for u.s. relations w/ somalia

One of the things that has distressed me for decades is how negative and counter productive US policy has been towards the developing world, particularly during the Cold War. This is not just in Africa, but in Asia and Latin America as well. Look at the ravages that military coups wrought on Latin America under the training and aegis of Southcom and US Cold War policy. Cheney, with Rumsfeld and Bush, has done his best to lock Cold War patterns and thinking into place, and to lock Bush’s successors into misguided and counter productive policies going forward, policies that ultimately hurt the United States. So far Obama has slipped right into that trap.

In an interview Mahmood Mamdani speaks about the:

way in which the Cold War almost seamlessly morphed into the war on terror.

We see that in action in the work of Ambassador Ranneberger. He opposed democracy when it was actually working. By doing so he hurt the United States by harming people in countries that would like to be our friends, by denying democracy, and by damaging trust, and the reputation and integrity of the United States.

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Kaliti prison, Ethiopia

Kaliti prison, Ethiopia

Kaliti prison, another view

Kaliti prison, another view

In January 2007, after the Ethiopian invasion, and US bombing of Somalia, at least 85 different people from at least 25 countries, including the US, were part of Africa’s first mass rendition of prisoners. At least 18 of these were children under the age of 15. They were people trying to flee the fighting in Somalia by crossing into Kenya, and were arrested by the Kenyans. They were then held without charge. They were flown by Kenya to Somalia, and were taken on from there to Ethiopia. In Ethiopia they were subjected to lengthy interrogations by Americans, who also took DNA samples from them. They were questioned repeatedly, for months.

“A week after we arrived we were interrogated by whites – Americans, British, I was interrogated for weeks,” Salim says.

“They had a file which was said to implicate me in the Kenyan bombings. So I was taken away and was placed in isolation for two months – both my hands and legs were shackled.

“The interrogations went on for five months. Always the same questions about the Nairobi bombings.”

Former detainees have also told the BBC they were questioned by US agents. One said he was beaten by Americans.

Two others said they were threatened and told that if they did not co-operate they could face ill treatment at the hands of Ethiopian guards.

All said they believed it was the Americans and not the Ethiopians controlling their detention and interrogation.

Human rights groups in the region say this was a new form of extraordinary rendition.

The US did not play an overt role in the transportation or detention of suspects as it has in the rendition of other suspected terrorists, but it nevertheless controlled their interrogation and treatment.

Nobody know for certain how many people have been renditioned to Ethiopia. The number 85 above is based on the manifests of three flights out of Kenya on one night. The wife of Salim, quoted above was also arrested.

They were all:

… part of the first mass “renditions” in Africa, where prisoners accused of supporting terrorists in Somalia were secretly transferred from country to country for interrogation outside the boundaries of domestic or international law.

Along with at least 85 others from 20 countries, she was flown back to Somalia – a war zone with no effective government or law – and on to Ethiopia. There, American intelligence agents joined the interrogations – photographing and taking DNA samples, even from the children.

On April 7, three months after her arrest, Ms Ahmed was released. Salim Awadh Salim, her husband and father of her unborn baby, is still in detention. So, too, are 78 of the other passengers aboard the three secret rendition flights. At least 18 are children under 15.

Ethiopia admits holding 36 other “suspected international terrorists” but has refused to give the Red Cross access to them. The rest of the “ghost plane” passengers are missing.

On April 7 Ms Ahmed was put on a flight to Kilimanjaro. Her escort promised that her husband and the others would be released with a week.

That was in April 2007. Her husband is still in prison in Ethiopia, he has not been charged, and has not appeared before a court. She was briefly able to talk to him when he got access to a cellphone:

“The conditions are really bad: we don’t have enough food, we don’t have enough access to medicine. The cell is wet,” he says.

“We sleep on the floor rather than the sodden mattresses. One of the other prisoners was beaten so badly he’s had his leg broken.”

Another person still languishing in an Ethiopian jail is Canadian citizen Bashir Makhtal. His cousin has been working tirelessly to get him back, and to pressure the Canadian government to do something. So far the Canadian government seems to be dragging its feet. His cousin even created a website to keep people informed, and to try to free him, http://www.makhtal.org

Bashir Makhtal and about 100 other foreigners were swept up in “Africa’s Guantanamo,” a little-known chapter of the U.S.-led war on terror in which a series of illegal “rendition” flights took terror suspects from Kenya to Ethiopia, one of the key allies of the U.S. in the Horn of Africa.

Once in Addis Ababa, the detainees were interrogated by security officials, including agents of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. In April 2007, Ethiopia finally admitted having Bashir and the others, but refused to allow Canadian diplomats to see him. Bashir, however, said plenty through smuggled letters and messages. In his letter of May 2007, he says that he was beaten and forced to record a false confession to various crimes. Two months after that, according to Human Rights Watch, a fellow detainee saw Bashir briefly and reported that “he was limping. He had a deep cut in one of his legs. He looked weak. He looked so famished.”

There are no rights in Ethiopian jails.

Al Amin Kimathi believes Ethiopia was seen as the ideal destination.

It was the most natural place to take anyone looking for a site to go and torture and to extract confessions. Ethiopia allows torture of detainees. And that is the modus operandi in renditions.”

The US is not only not helping, it is actively hindering:

More than a year and a half after the renditions, the US government still refuses to respond to questions on the alleged US role.

“I have no knowledge of it nor as official policy can I comment on such matters,” US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer told the BBC.

In 2006 a French woman who was living in Addis left Ethiopia. She had been friends with the opposition politicians. The leadership of the opposition party was jailed in 2005. She visited some of them in prison and took the pictures above. She describes the conditions:

Kaliti is a huge waste ground full of big shacks of iron sheet that look built at random. During the rainy season it is muddy, damp and cold. You are not allowed to check the conditions in which the prisoners are living. Yet some views from outside – see below [above] – give a disastrous impression.

According to my experience of stable manager iron sheet shacks are not suitable for horses, they are cold in winter, hot in summer and likely to bring contagious diseases. … where there are iron sheet and food, there are rats… and big ones … flees and parasites prosper.

I was surprised to hear than Woizero Birtukan, for example, was sharing a cell with 70 other female detainees.

There is a network of prisons in Ethiopia.She interviews a friend in Maeklawi prison:

AF: So, how was Maeklawi? Tell me how it looks like… inside…
AA: Conditions are terrible. We were more than 200 prisoners there and only one of us was allowed to go to the hospital daily.
AF: What kind of diseases detainees are suffering of?
AA: You know, coughing, diarrhea… The food is… Well, I have been traveling all around Ethiopia but never saw THAT kind of injera. I could not identify the place it came from. I did not eat it. I had my own food.
AF: I guess they need medical care for being beaten too, no?
AA: Oh yes, of course… broken legs, broken hands…
AF: Did they dare touching you?
AA: No, I was protected because you were coming but others were not that lucky. One of the prisoners even told me they used electric shocks.

And on leaving Ethiopia she writes that it is:

… a police state in which [to] freely express an opinion endangers your life or drives you to prison, a country where young protestors are beaten and shot. I left a jail. … A few days before my departure, a young man told me: “Tell them, tell them how it is to live here, tell them what we endure.”

Salim Lone writes:

Human Rights Watch has documented how Kenya and Ethiopia had turned this region into Africa’s own version of Guantánamo Bay, replete with kidnappings, extraordinary renditions, secret prisons and large numbers of “disappeared”: a project that carries the Made in America label. Allowing free rein to such comprehensive lawlessness is a stain on all those who might have, at a minimum, curtailed it.

These people languishing in Ethiopian jails are caught in something large and evil. This week, on February 16, 2009:

In one of the most extensive studies of counter-terrorism and human rights yet undertaken, an independent panel of eminent judges and lawyers today presents alarming findings about the impact of counter-terrorism policies worldwide and calls for remedial action. The Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, established by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), has based its report “Assessing Damage, Urging Action” on sixteen hearings covering more than forty countries in all regions of the world.

In the course of this inquiry, we have been shocked by the extent of the damage done over the past seven years by excessive or abusive counter-terrorism measures in a wide range of countries around the world. Many governments, ignoring the lessons of history, have allowed themselves to be rushed into hasty responses to terrorism that have undermined cherished values and violated human rights. The result is a serious threat to the integrity of the international human rights legal framework,” said Justice Arthur Chaskalson, the Chair of the Panel, former Chief Justice of South Africa and first President of the South African Constitutional Court.

The report illustrates the consequences of notorious counter-terrorism practices such as torture, disappearances, arbitrary and secret detention, unfair trials, and persistent impunity for gross human rights violations in many parts of the world. The Panel warns of the danger that exceptional “temporary” counter-terrorism measures are becoming permanent features of law and practice, including in democratic societies. The Panel urges that the present political climate may provide one of the last chances for a concerted international effort to take remedial measures and restore long-standing international norms. The change in US administration provides a unique opportunity for change.

“Seven years after 9/11 it is time to take stock and to repeal abusive laws and policies enacted in recent years. Human rights and international humanitarian law provide a strong and flexible framework to address terrorist threats,” said Mary Robinson, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, former President of Ireland and current President of the ICJ. “It is now absolutely essential that all states restore their commitment to human rights and that the United Nations takes on a leadership role in this process. If we fail to act now, the damage to international law risks becoming permanent”, she added.

The report calls for the rejection of the “war on terror” paradigm and for a full repudiation of the policies grounded in it.

Map of global arms transfers

Map of US global arms transfers

The New America Foundation has issued a report describing US arms transfers around the world: US Weapons at War 2008. They include a section on arms transfers to Africa, U.S. Arms Recipients, 2006/07: Africa.

They write:

U.S. arms transfers to Africa are being carried out against the backdrop of a major strategic shift in U.S. attention toward the continent, as embodied in the creation of the Africa Command. … with the growing U.S. interest in curbing terror and expanding access to oil in Africa, the Pentagon moved to create a dedicated military command for Africa.

AFRICOM has ambitions to be the point of contact for all U.S. assistance to the continent, both civilian and military. In addition to the danger of underutilizing civilian expertise and mismanaging major projects–as happened when the Pentagon was running U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq–this approach could contribute to the militarization of overall U.S. policy toward Africa, undermining diplomatic and cooperative approaches to the region’s conflicts.

In the narrative they select three countries where US arms transfers are particularly counterproductive and destructive.

Ethiopia, which is engaged in military actions in the Ogaden, in Eritrea, and has invaded and occupied Somalia at US behest, is a major recipient of arms transfers:

So far, the Bush administration has not responded to Ethiopia’s crimes against humanity in the Ogaden with any restrictions on U.S. assistance, presumably because of Addis Ababa’s role in helping to fight alleged terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa. This may be a false tradeoff, however. As Sam Zarifi of Human Rights Watch noted in his testimony before the subcommittee on Africa of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October 2007, “U.S. support for Ethiopia in its conflicts in the Somali region and inside Somalia is ineffective and counterproductive.… The current U.S.-backed Ethiopian approach will lead to a mountain of civilian deaths and a litany of abuses.… This approach will only strengthen the hand of the extremist minority in Somalia [and] could lead to the escalation and spread of conflicts in the region and may well help to radicalize the region’s large and young Muslim population.”

This ineffective and counterproductive policy that destroys so many lives is what I wrote about in my previous post. It is effective only in killing and hurting people, and in poisoning US relations with countries in the Horn of Africa

Major U.S. Security Assistance Programs to Ethiopia FY 2002 through FY 2009 (dollars in thousands) $54,360

Kenya has also been a major recipient of arms transfers. Since the disputed/stolen elections there has been ongoing internal violence, and the police and military have strongly overreacted.

Georgette Gagnon of Human Rights Watch has urged the United States and the United Kingdom to “suspend military assistance until there is an independent investigation of the war crimes. They shouldn’t be supporting the military until Kenyan authorities commit to prosecuting those responsible for torture and war crimes.”

Major U.S. Security Assistance Programs to Kenya FY 2002 through FY 2009 (dollars in thousands) $84,032

And in Nigeria:

“Widespread government corruption, political and intercommunal violence, police torture and other abuses continue to deny ordinary Nigerians their human rights. During 2007, Nigerian actors including the police, military and elected officials committed serious and persistent abuses against Nigerian citizens with near-complete impunity.”

… Militancy has become a cloak for all forms of criminality in the Niger Delta …

… Rather than attempting to curb this multi-sided violence, more often than not the Nigerian government and Nigerian politicians are complicit in it.

Nigeria has plenty of money, although the vast amount is stolen and misspent:

To give some sense of how much money is available to Nigeria’s various corrupt entities, the country’s top anticorruption official has determined that over $380 billion was stolen or wasted between 1960 and 1999, almost equaling the country’s $400 billion in oil revenues over the same time period.

Nigeria could use some assistance in developing an accountable and responsive government. Arms transfers seem likely only to strengthen the military, to assist it to become a default government, and to continue and expand its abuses.

Major U.S. Security Assistance Programs to Nigeria FY 2002 through FY 2009 (dollars in thousands) $49,564

These three countries stand out for the amount of arms transfers to them from the US, and for the misuse of those transfers. But they are hardly alone. What is needed is support for government and civilian institutions across the continent. The overwhelming emphasis on arms transfers and military assistance is an incitement to create military governments wherever it occurs.

All of this comes at a time when the citizens of African countries are trying to move beyond military coups and military governments.

Development cannot occur or thrive without local business and local agriculture. Both of these perish in a war zone.

from the Daily Nation

At Moon of Alabama b real has Coup In Kenya: Part II – Exploring U.S. influence in the Kenyan Elections posted. I recommend you read it. It is not a pretty picture. I saw Fareed Zakaria on a Daily Show last week, and he saidwe (the US) like democracy in strategically irrelevant countries, anywhere important, we don’t like it.” US behavior in Kenya is a glowing example of this. Coup In Kenya: Part II went up today, and if it follows the pattern of Coup in Kenya – Part I, it will be worth checking back from time to time over the next week or so to read the comments.

You may also wish to read Countdown to Deception: 30 Hours That Destroyed Kenya by Kenyans for Peace and Justice, also available here. And you might want to read Anatomy of a Rigging by Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice, KPTJ.
This last is an hour by hour account –

drawn from the statements of four of the five domestic election observers1 allowed into the verification process the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) . . .

The account illustrates the list of anomalies, malpractices and illegalities that lay behind those results, raising questions as to the ethics, non-partisanship and professionalism of the ECK Commissioners and staff as well as to the validity of the supposed results.

In The Great Divide, authors Holman and Mills write about the political process in contemporary African countries, and say:

the best role that external actors can assume is to be honest in their deliberations about and with these countries, and not attempt to pick and back winners.

from the Daily Nation

Over at Moon of Alabama b real has an excellent writeup of the post electoral Coup in Kenya – Part 1. I recommend you go and read it. In addition to the article, the comments have continued all week, and contain a lot of valuable information and observations, including some from David Barouski who has covered that part of the continent in depth, and for some time. Included is Kibaki’s visit to Uganda, and his use of Ugandan troops against Kenyan citizens to hold his coup in power.

You may also want to take a look at the remarks by Immanuel Wallerstein: “Kenya: Stable Democracy or Meltdown?”

Pambazuka News has several excellent articles on the aftermath of the recent election in Kenya. I’d like to quote three points that sum up a great deal about what has been happening. I have put these in bold. There are lessons here that need to be heeded in a lot of places, in Africa, and around the world, including in the US. From It is the Kenyan people who have lost the election by Firoze Manji:

That the elections results were rigged – of that there is little doubt. The hasty inauguration, the blanket banning on the broadcast media, the dispersal of security forces to deal with expected protests – all these have given the post election period the flavour of a coup d’etat. What was not expected was the speed with which the whole thing would unravel. The declaration of the members of the Electoral Commission that the results were indeed rigged only added to the growing realisation that a coup had indeed taken place.

People across the country took to the streets to protest and were met with disproportionate use of force by the police and GSU. Emotions ran high. And there is evidence that politicians from all sides used the occasion to instigate violent attacks against their opponents constituencies. . . . The western media has been quick to describe these as ‘ethnic clashes’ – but then they appear only to be able to see tribes whenever there are conflicts in Africa. What is ignored by them is that the security forces have been responsible for the majority of killings.

. . .

But the real tragedy of Kenya is that the political conflict is not about alternative political programmes that could address the long standing grievances of the majority over landlessness, low wages, unemployment, lack of shelter, inadequate incomes, homelessness, etc. It is not about such heady aspirations.

No, it boils down to a fight over who has access to the honey pot that is the state. For those in control of the state machinery are free to fill their pockets. So the battle lines are reduced to which group of people are going to be chosen to fill their pockets – and citizens are left to decide perhaps that a few crumbs might fall off the table in their direction.

And the electorate – the mass of citizens who have borne the brunt of the recent violence and decades of prolonged disenfranchisement from accessing the fruits of independence – are reduced to being just being fodder for the pigs fighting over the trough.

M. at the tHiNkErS ROoM writes: where two kiosks and adjacent homes owned by friends of mine were looted and burnt

M at Thinkers Room, and Ory Okolloh at Kenyan Pundit are both thoughtful observers writing from Kenya. They share their observations and some relevant links.

M provides a lot of information and description, about the lead up to the election, and about what happened after, he writes:

Much ado has ben made over the right to vote, and the empowerment of the voter. Kenyans were told that they had the power to shape their destiny and choose their leadership. And so they turned out in colossal numbers and they voted. They were told that they had a voice and that it would be listened to.

And when it came down to it their voice, the ballot was ignored. And so they had only one voice left — protest.
. . .
Supporting this travesty because it favours someone you like is a dangerous and foolish precedent.

What we have lost, my friends, is our voice. The power of the ballot. The right to determine our leadership and our destiny. The very thing our forefathers risked their lives fighting for.

So if you are celebrating because Kibaki ‘won’ or you are bitter becauase Raila ‘lost’ my friends you need to wake up and smell the coffee.

You need to be better because your voice has been stolen from you.

Ory Okolloh at Kenyan Pundit writes:

– Bankelele has a good post that highlights why the conflict is about more than just Kikuyu vs. Luo (can the international media please catch up).
. . .
– For those who are asking about other blogs that are covering the situation in Kenya. Hash has a comprehensive list.

. . .
We are all feeling so helpless and are reduced to platitudes like “let’s hope for the best” and all “we can do is pray” and “it will end soon” and “these guys need to do something” but all we are doing is masking our fear that we are on a precipice.

– Google Earth supposedly shows in great detail where the damage is being done on the ground. It occurs to me that it will be useful to keep a record of this, if one is thinking long-term. For the reconciliation process to occur at the local level the truth of what happened will first have to come out. Guys looking to do something – any techies out there willing to do a mashup of where the violence and destruction is occurring using Google Maps?

. . .

– ODM plans to hold another rally on Saturday. I fail to see the point of these rallies…they’d be better off trying to assist people who have been affected by the violence.
. . .
I’m really just stunned by the fact that the government is not even attempting to avert the humanitarian crisis – there’s no talk of shelters, no talk of relief supplies, zero . . . at minimum they have the resources to alleviate the suffering of those who have been displaced and they’ve done nothing.

African Loft also has some links and comments.

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