Our observer followed the elections

Despite expected violence and corruption allegations in the run up to Kenya's presidential, parliamentary and local council elections yesterday, the event was largely peaceful with an overwhelming turnout of around 70%. Enormous queues snaked from the 27,000 polling stations from four in the morning until well after official closing time at 5pm. Locals took photos of the events and told us about the day's events.

“This year it’s an issue of passion”

Fredrick Onyango is a photojournalist from Nairobi. He photographed the events leading up to the elections and the election itself. To see more photos go to his flickr account.

Posted 28 December 2007


Posted 12 December 2007

A woman shouts at supporters of PNU [Party of National Unity] on Wabera Street in Nairobi during the election campaigns. The hammer she holds was used briefly as a symbol for the Orange Democratic Party, as it is the tool used to secure the part of a bike which connects the chains of a bike to the pedals. However, it was refused by Vice-president Mutula Kilonzo who said it was a destructive symbol, but it was maintained by some.


Posted 12 December 2007

Supporter of the Orange Democratic Movement, decorated with the more traditional Orange Democratic Movement symbol.


Posted 8 October 2007


Commentary from Frederick Onyango

These elections are free and fair. They might be criticised for tribalism, but Kenyans have always voted according to tribalism. Anyway, three out of four of the tribes all voted for Raila [Raila Odinga, presidential candidate for the Orange Democratic Movement], so it's a general election overall.

Last year there was a huge campaign here to get people voting. Before, only old people cared. Now they're targeting the masses. We had an overwhelming turnout, about 70% of the population. This year it's also an issue of passion. There have been so many corruption deals, that those politicians have seen Kenyans come up against them.

Politicians are starting to use the internet to target young people. They have a chance to make their voices heard online. This coming parliament will be more youthful. Half of the old MPs have been sent home. It was really very surprising for everyone."


“Some bars refused to serve customers who didn’t have the magical inked finger to indicate that they had voted”

Thinker's Room' drove around Nairobi the afternoon of the election to see what was going on.

Some people woke up to get to the polling stations by 4am. Some bars refused to serve customers who didn't have the magical inked finger to indicate that they had voted, and some matatus [local public transport] refused to carry them. Queues in Kibera were up to 2km long. Yes, that's kilometers. The voting queue at the Catholic Parochial polling station had to be seen to be believed! The Uchumi [Kenya supermarket chain] in South B [district of Nairobi] was closed. (4 litres of soda don't last as long as you'd think!)

Nairobi polling stations were full of party agents that slowed down the speed of vote-counting to a crawl. Anticipating long nights, some ECK [Electoral Commission Kenya] officials made use of lulls in voting to catch 40 winks on benches and the grass.

It was refreshing to see young aspiring leaders like Jonathan Mueke and John Kiarie showing up to vote. John Kiarie actually came with his wife and baby."

Posted 28 December 2007


'The magical inked finger'

Posted 27 December 2007


Posted 27 December 2007

After posting their ballot paper voters have their little finger dipped in purple ink to stop them from voting again. Some bars and buses refused to serve people who didn't have a purple finger.

Commentary from Daudi Were, a Kenyan blogger

Despite the political heat there are many signs that we are a rapidly maturing democracy. I have seen people from across the political divide sit and debate the merits and demerits of their candidates vigorously but without the traditional violence. The electorate is aware and on its toes for any irregularities. There is not much you can sneak past the Kenyan public these days.
That is not to say that problems, big problems, do not remain. I have been dismayed by the treatment of many women up and down the country punished cruelly for exercising their democratic right to stand for election.

However, I take refuge in the knowledge that as I type this at 5.15am thousands of Kenyans are already walking towards polling stations, hundreds of thousands will queue up for hours to vote, supermarkets and shopping malls are closed so that workers can vote. Many, like me, had taken steps to ensure they are not disenfranchised on a technicality. My voters card, together with my National Identity card have been well hidden in my equivalent of a bank vault (inside a lockable pouch, in a shoe box, behind a speaker - hehe). We understand the importance of today. Like many I will not be voting "three piece" that is to say my choices for president, member of parliament and councillor will not come from the same party. Let those we elect learn to work together when they get to parliament.

I do not believe (and pray) that the streets of Kenya will be flowing with blood as some predict. There will not be running battles across the country."


'Use your vote' campaign in the run up to the election

Posted 5 November 2007




Kenya is at cross roads. Here we are talking of over 300 dead and 75 000 plus internally displaced. And all in the name of leadership.

Taking a closer look of the predicament at hand one realises that the two opposing parties are relying on the masses, the very poor of the society to front their selfish goals.

The masses have two strong convictions which the politicians from both warying sides have over long periods mustered how to exploite to their own advantage.

The two convictions here include Kenyans' love for Peace and Kenyans' love for poitical and democratic liberation.

The current regime which was hurriedly swornly is counting and exploiting on Kenyans' love for peace while the opposition has its hopes banked and anchored on Kenyans' love for democratic liberation.

Now, do not get lost please.

The hastly sworn in regime is counting on Kenyans' love for peace. This system is convinced that even though the elections were flawed, the anomaly will be smoothered by this love for peace. This clique of indivividuals know that Kenyans are yearning to go back to normalcy hence they will quickly brush aside the indignity suffered to their vote, the castration which has been suffered to a struggle which dates back to the colonial days.

On the other hand.

The Oppposition have totally clinched on the fact that Kenyans' adore, cherish and worship democrratic liberation. You talk of Politics in Kenya and most of the populace achieve instant organism-politically speaking. Therefore my political brothers are more than ready to exploit this very virtue. These firebrand politics are walloying on this conviction knowing that at the snap of their fingures, multitudes will come out and march forth to front their (Politicians) cause.

That settled, you will want to venture into one question: For how long will Kenyans let their love for peace and democracy be exploited by the ruling class or rather those who want to be in the ruling class?

I might not have the ideal answer for the above question but I do know that I want peace to manifest in Kenya while at the same time longing for a true emanicipation from the shackles and manacles of human folly and greed which is already tearing Kenya apart.

Finally, extremist politics are not good for Kenya -which apparently is wwhat both sides of the divide is subscribing to. So perhaps a balance between Kenyans' love for Peace and Kenyans' love for Democracy might go a long way in contributing to the healing which our Kenya is so much in dire need for.

Kenyans are peace loving

For sure we know one thing that Kenyans have co-existed together since independence in Peace Love and Unity which is strongly coined in the countries National Anthem.
We find that politicians use this as their strong hold by preaching "Peace" and in the other hand using Violence to disable the masses.
Studies carried in the country show that clashes normally reoccurs every five years when elections are around the corner.
But when it comes to elections the same leaders who pursue their selfish interests are the once who divide us by
1. Buying votes
2. Hiring goons to protect them and beat up their opposing camps,eg
a) Kisii we have the Chinkoror allied to the Politicians in the area.
b) In Nairobi and parts of the central province we have the Mungiki who are allied to Kikuyu politicians.
c) Nyanza province have the Sungu Sungu or the Bargdad boys under the payroll of the Nyanza politicians.
d) in rift valley during the rein of President Moi we had Jeshi la Mzee which died after his exist in active politics.

This are some of the groupings that cause chaos during the elections by instigating tribal animosity.

Those who purport to adore democracy will go to extends of even boot licking to fulfill their masters desire. This is seen mostly by those who want to venture into political limelight for the first time.

Even as most Parts of Kenya continue to experience this kind of violence, Kenyans still pulled out their resources and helped the displaced women and children who are camping in Churches and Police stations for safety.
This shows that we are peace loving and would not want our friends or neighbor killed, but once again all this is as a result of our selfish politicians who misuse our youths while their children are in the comfort of super powers out their studying and living in palatial homes abroad that they have built buy the poor tax payers money.