Kenya election protests 'justified'

PROTESTS by the Kenyan opposition in the run-up to last month's elections, that the chairman of the Electoral Commission was unfit to hold office, were 'apparently justified', said the Commonwealth Observer Group, whose report is published today.

The Commonwealth, which monitored the elections, said keeping Richard Chesoni as chairman of the Electoral Commission 'could reasonably be interpreted by the opposition parties as an unmistakable signal that the government would use its powers to secure an advantage for the ruling party'.

'Justice Chesoni's initial lack of transparency, his unwillingness to meet the opposition parties, and his apparent collaboration with the Attorney-General . . . confirmed opposition misgivings,' the report said.

But although critical of Mr Chesoni, the Commonwealth Secretariat has withheld documents made available to the observer group which detail Mr Chesoni's financial problems and bankruptcy proceedings. Members of the observer group were told the documents would be published in an appendix to the report, but this was not done.

'When the final document was signed, it was agreed that the documents would be part of the appendix. I am surprised they are not,' said Lord Tordoff, one of the British members of the observer group. 'I signed the final report on the understanding that they would be published.'

It is understood that there was a fierce debate within the observer group when it was shown the documents after the election on 29 December. The chairman, Telford Georges, was 'horrified' and wanted them published, according to Commonwealth sources. Some members of the observer group argued that their countries were on good terms with Kenya and that publication of confidential documents about the chairman of the Electoral Commission would upset that relationship and would go beyond their brief.

Judge Georges was persuaded not to use the documents in the report but to append them as an annexe. He told the Independent two weeks ago that when the report was published they would be available for inspection at the Secretariat. But, on publication, they are neither in the report nor the annexe. On Friday a spokesman for the Secretariat said they were not available.

The documents include the report of the Judicial Service Commission of 1990, which said Mr Chesoni's conduct had been 'inconsistent with the position, dignity and judicial integrity of a justice'.

They also detail his first resignation in 1984, because of debts and his sacking by President Moi in 1990. The existence of the documents was revealed in the Independent on 11 January as well as evidence that Mr Chesoni's pounds 550,000 debts had been written off on the orders of the government after he became chairman of the Electoral Commission.

Mr Chesoni has denied the report and said that he paid off most of his debts in 1984. In a statement released in London Mr Chesoni quoted Judge Georges as expressing 'satisfaction with the impartial manner in which the electoral commission accomplished its . . . task'.

Although the Commonwealth report falls short of condemning the election, it will give ammunition to opposition parties that denounced the polls as fraudulent. The integrity of Mr Chesoni was one of many criticisms of the report, which condemns electoral malpractice found by the observer group in every aspect of the election.

It lists as unfair: the registration process in many parts of the country, the nomination process, the lack of transparency on the part of the electoral commission, intimidation, administrative obstacles and violence, partisanship of the state-owned radio and television, and the reluctance of the government to unlink itself from the Kanu party.

In spite of this, the observer group concluded: 'We believe that the results in many instances directly reflect, however imperfectly, the expression of the will of the people.'

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action