Since independence in 1964 from the United Kingdom, Kenya has elected four Presidents and experienced considerable turmoil during campaign season.
This environment of tumult most notably reared its ugly head in 2007, which resulted in killing over 1,000 people and nearly lead to a civil war along ethnic lines. Elections in 2013 did not feature similar levels of violence. Still, the reigning incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party, also the son of founding father of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta, did face charges in the International Criminal Court over his actions in 2007. That case never materialized in charges.
Today Kenyatta may find himself in more international hot water. The reason for the renewed international attention is not because he won by percentages that are outrageous; he bested rival Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement by a percentage of 54.3 to 44.8 which avoids a runoff election. Odinga has not accepted these results and alleges that something sinister is happening.
Odinga has alleged the reigning Jubilee Party hacked the election database and uploaded a predetermined algorithm to show the results that were tallied rather than what Odinga would deem the “true results”. While it is possible that elections were compromised in integrity, the fact that Odinga has also lost presidential elections in 2007, 2013, and now this week means that the reasons for him claiming a hack could have little to do with transparency and everything to do with his desire to be in power.
The reigning government of Kenya has offered to investigate the issue and the African Union, as well as the European Union, have called for Odinga and others disputing results “to use the legally provided channels of dispute resolution in case of any dissatisfaction with the process” rather than turn to armed conflict.
Whether or not Odinga follows these processes could have a huge impact on whether or not violence once again plagues Kenya.
Featured Image via Flickr/AMISOM Public Information