POST ELEC­TION AF­TER­MATH: A KENYA VER­SUS USA CASE STUDY

The re­sults of a hotly con­tested gen­eral elec­tion in the US has sparked off mas­sive protests vaguely rem­i­nis­cent of the PEV may­hem in 2007-2008

The Star (Kenya) - - Big Read / Poll Violence - STAR RE­PORTER & AGEN­CIES @TheS­tarKenya

In the clos­ing hours of the tal­ly­ing ex­er­cise of the 2007 pres­i­den­tial re­sults, op­po­si­tion can­di­date Raila Odinga had a lead of slightly over one mil­lion votes. How­ever, next morn­ing, former Pres­i­dent Mwai Kibaki had a thin mar­gin of about 300,000 votes re­sult­ing in his vic­tory. Ten­sion was pal­pa­ble and the ODM party lead­ers had started ques­tion­ing the re­sults. The then elec­toral Com­mis­sion boss Sa­muel Kivuitu said on National TV that “some­body was cook­ing re­sults”.

In the con­fu­sion and with all lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional ob­servers con­demn­ing the tal­ly­ing process, Kibaki was de­clared win­ner and sworn in at dusk. A team of ob­servers from the Euro­pean Union said the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of Kenya (ECK) had failed to en­sure the cred­i­bil­ity of the vote. “We be­lieve that... the ECK... has not suc­ceeded in es­tab­lish­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of the tal­ly­ing process to the sat­is­fac­tion of all par­ties and can­di­dates,” chief EU ob­server Alexan­der Lamb­s­dorff said in a state­ment. Vi­o­lence im­me­di­ately be­gan in what has re­mained the coun­tries painful re­minder of deep seated eth­nic strife.

Then US Sec­re­tary of State Con­dolezza Rice –– Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pre­de­ces­sor to the pow­er­ful of­fice im­me­di­ately dis­patched As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Jen­dayi Frazer, to meet with Kibaki and former Prime Min­is­ter Raila Odinga.

After meet­ing diplo­mat Frazer, Kibaki said on Jan­uary 5, that he was will­ing to form a national unity gov­ern­ment. This was the be­gin­ning of the for­ma­tion of the Grand Coali­tion gov­ern­ment that stopped the post-elec­tion vi­o­lence.

Again as Kenya headed to the 2013 polls, none other than Hil­lary was in Kenya sound­ing a warn­ing sig­nal. Clin­ton made it clear that any re­peat of elec­tion un­rest would dam­age Kenya’s econ­omy and global stand­ing.

“Not only is this im­por­tant for the peo­ple of Kenya, but the eyes of the world will be on this elec­tion,” Clin­ton told civic lead­ers and IEBC bosses.

But in a twist of irony, the global icon of democ­racy as the US has come to be known is fac­ing se­ri­ous chal­lenges after their re­cently con­cluded elec­tions. Pro­test­ers have hit the streets over the last one week, in cities across the United States to protest against Trump, who they say will threaten their civil and hu­man rights.

In Man­hat­tan, a group gath­ered to demon­strate against Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies. Oth­ers are up­set about Trump’s poli­cies on health care, the en­vi­ron­ment, LGBT rights and other is­sues. Some are ques­tion­ing the le­git­i­macy of Trump’s vic­tory over Hil­lary Clin­ton by not­ing that although he took the Elec­toral Col­lege, Clin­ton won the pop­u­lar vote by over two mil­lion.

Un­for­tu­nately, a pro­tester was killed dur­ing an anti-Trump rally in Port­land, Ore­gon by a sus­pected as­sailant in un­clear cir­cum­stances. But even more shock­ing is that racially charged in­ci­dents have bro­ken out across the coun­try that ap­pear to be have been started by Trump sup­port­ers em­bold­ened by his vic­tory. Sev­eral Mus­lim women have re­ported Trump sup­port­ers at­tempt­ing to rip off their hi­jabs, while oth­ers said their fam­i­lies have ad­vised them to stop wearing head­scarves in fear of fur­ther at­tacks.

Maha Ab­dul Gawad said she was shop­ping in a lo­cal Wall­mart on Wed­nes­day when an­other woman ap­proached, pulled off her hi­jab and said: “This is not al­lowed any­more, so go hang your­self with it around your neck not on your head.”

A woman in Delaware de­scribed over­hear­ing four white men near her at a petrol sta­tion dis­cussing Mr Trump’s vic­tory and “how they’re glad they won’t have to deal with n*****s much longer”.

“One walked over to me and said ‘how scared are you, you black b****? I should just kill you right now, you’re a waste of air’,” she wrote.

Protest ral­lies have been sched­uled through­out the day in New York, Los An­ge­les and Chicago, where or­gan­is­ers said they hoped to con­tinue the mo­men­tum after sev­eral nights of demon­stra­tions trig­gered by the real-es­tate mogul’s sur­prise win.

Chant­ing slo­gans in­clud­ing “Not My Pres­i­dent”, sev­eral thou­sand pro­test­ers have been march­ing peace­fully up New York City’s Fifth Av­enue be­fore fill­ing the streets around Trump Tower, the pres­i­dent-elect’s sky­scraper home.

“We’re hor­ri­fied the coun­try has elected an in­cred­i­bly un­qual­i­fied, misog­y­nist, racist on a plat­form that was just to­tally hate­ful,” said Mary Florin-McBride, 62, a re­tired banker from New York who held a sign read­ing, “No Fas­cism in Amer­ica”.

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