Editorial: Kenya, an election not marred by violence



Given the confusion that has dogged Kenya’s hotly contested presidential election for days on end, much bloodshed might have been expected.

The race always a close one, pitting the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, against his rival, and deputy Prime Minister, Uhuru Kenyatta. And the last presidential vote – in 2007 – was followed by appalling tribal violence that left more than 1,000 dead.

There were grim predictions this time, too. Campaigning was intense and largely along ethnic lines; rumours of militias hoarding weapons abounded in the run-up to the poll, and local-language radio was ratchetting up tribal enmities. For technical problems then to beset the vote only added to the escalating tensions. First, as the vote began on Monday, the voter-identification system failed, leaving officials reliant on paper records. Then counting system also crashed, but not before – possibly – multiplying the number of rejected ballots.

Amid the chaos, there has been mudslinging aplenty. Mr Kenyatta’s Jubilee Alliance accused the British high commissioner of “shadowy and suspicious” meddling (a charge vociferously denied) and Mr Odinga’s proposed deputy claimed that results were being doctored. For all the warm words, however, there were no crowds in the streets and no violent protests. In fact, the fallout is being discussed in wholly legal terms.

Kenya is widely held to be the bellwether of democracy in Africa. As such, its vote has drawn global attention. Last night, the Kenyan electoral commission confirmed that it is reviewing the votes counted so far, frustrating hopes of an imminent conclusion. Mr Kenyatta retains a strong lead, though. And with both he and his running mate due to stand trial in the Hague in July – charged with crimes against humanity during the atrocities of 2007 – such a victory poses considerable problems for both the International Criminal Court itself and also for the international community that backs it. Meanwhile, the botched election has stretched the credibility of the outcome almost to breaking point. But neither caveat, however grave, detracts from the signal progress that is the calm on Kenya’s streets.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Systems Analyst (Technical, UML, UI)

£30000 - £40000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Senior Private Client Solicitor - Gloucestershire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - We are makin...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Support Developer

£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A unique and rare opport...

Day In a Page

Read Next

I was a Woman Against Feminism too

Siobhan Norton
A screengrab taken on July 13, 2014 from a video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, showing the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau  

Boko Haram is a vicious sideshow - Nigeria's self-serving elite is the real culprit

Kevin Watkins
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
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn