Opposition calls for re-run of Kenya poll

Moi set to win as observers say voting generally fair


Mark Huband in Nairobi

The Guardian, 31 December 1992


Two main opposition parties in Kenya’s first multi-party elections for 26 years last night gave the government an ultimatum to address alleged irregularities or they would reject the result. President Daniel arap Moi is expected to win a big majority.

Leaders of the Democratic Party (DP) and Ford-Kenya (Ford-K) last night united to say that Tuesday’s poll had been subject to “glaring irregularities”. They also complained of intimidation and malpractice by Mr Moi’s ruling Kenya African National Union (Kanu).

One person was reported killed and three seriously injured when police shot into a crowd trying to stop vehicles they believed were bringing in unregistered voters during polling in Mombasa.

The president for the last 14 years had secured 653,855 votes by midnight. His closest rival, the Ford-Asili leader, Kenneth Matiba, had won 366,227 votes after results in 56 of the 188 constituencies had been declared.

A DP spokesman, Lee Kanyaro, said last night: “It’s a showdown. It’s a no go. We consider none of candidates to have been elected, due to the manner in which the election has been run.”

The DP, whose leader, Mwai Kibaki, served as a minister under Mr Moi until forming the DP earlier this year, was placed second to Mr Moi in the presidential race in several constituencies. Results for the parliamentary and local council elections have been slower to arrive. Analysts expect Kanu to secure a working majority of between 15 to 30 parliamentary seats.

Robert Shaw, a Ford-K spokesman, said last night: “Our overall aim now is to try to push through a repeat of the entire exercise.”

At a press conference last night, Mr Kibaki and the Ford-K leader, Oginga Odinga, said they had sent details of 65 separate incidents of alleged malpractice to the electoral commission.

“We are trying to look for a solution. If we were only trying to mess things up, we would behave differently,” Mr Kibaki said when asked why he would wait until 2 pm this afternoon before deciding whether to accept the poll.

United States embassy officials, who have been strongly critical of the government’s handling of the election, last night said voting generally had been orderly and free of intimidation, despite bad organisation which led to delays in the opening of polling stations.

Kenya’s foreign donors, which suspended $350 million in balance of payments assistance last year to pressure Kanu to introduce economic and political reforms, met yesterday and agreed that the polling had met the standards they had hoped for.

Commonwealth observers were yesterday strongly criticised for leaving the polling stations before counting started. Both Ford-K and the DP believe that most irregularities took place during counting.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited