Friday, February 22, 2013
Kenya Elections Update, for those of you who are Kenya Politics-Impaired.
Kenya Elections is going to take place in 10 days, on March 4th. Out of numerous presidential candidates, two candidates seem to hold the majority of votes, and are in a tight race. The remaining candidates have like only 0.1 to 1 percent of the votes.
Kenya's new constitution now requires that only when and if a candidate has over 50% of country's total votes could be declared winner. However if the top two candidates have votes that remain below 50%, are required to be entered in yet another election -- called a "run off" vote that would occur within a month, which is in April. Only the top two candidates can be placed on the polls for the run off election.
So, suppose a Candidate "A" earned 48% of the total votes while Candidate "B" earned 35% of these votes, so because no one gained more than 50% of the votes, a run off votes will be called, with only these two top candidates.
It is always possible that Candidate A end up losing to Candidate B even though Candidate A had more votes originally.
So, we, Americans, especially of those of us who residing in Kenya, are hoping for one of the two election outcomes: (1) A candidate gets over 50% vote, with a wide margin over the next candidate -- a clear winner without any doubt, or (2) if a run off elections must take place, that it would not be a close race, with the winning candidate with a landslide of votes.
The last elections in 2007 ended in violence because the people (mainly tribes as there are 42 tribes in Kenya that seem to always vote for any candidate as long as they belong to their tribe) believed the election was stolen. The winner became loser, and the election results were announced long time after the elections were closed. A lot of suspicious activities and corruption appeared to prevail. So the country was in a turmoil, and the Peace Corps decided to evacuate their volunteers.
This election now is based on the country's new constitution, and involves international observers and assistance to ensure the election is fair and sound.
All Peace Corps volunteers in country will be consolidated into a safe location for 10 days, and we will return to our sites only when it is safe.