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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 12:20 GMT
Kenya's dubious election
Kenyan electoral officials count ballots
Did the results reflect the votes cast?
Kenya's opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) claims that last month's election was rigged in favour of President Mwai Kibaki.

Protests have led to some 600 deaths nationwide and 250,000 people have fled their homes.

International and domestic observers have also raised their concerns.

There are several reasons to be suspicious about the official results:

  • The results were delayed for more than a day, at a time when ODM candidate Raila Odinga was leading
  • Many thousands of people seem to have only voted in the presidential election but not the parliamentary or local polls held at the same time
  • Some of these results came from areas known to be pro-Kibaki
  • In the parliamentary race, Mr Odinga's ODM won twice as many seats as Mr Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU)
  • Results in some constituencies were different when announced nationally, to when they had previously been announced locally
  • The head of the election commission has admitted that turnout in one constituency was 115%.

According to the official results, Mr Kibaki won with a tiny margin of 230,000 votes out of a total cast of some 10 million.

This means that the alleged malpractices could easily have changed the outcome.

The PNU has urged anyone with proof of rigging to go to court and has in turn accused the ODM of rigging in Mr Odinga's home province of Nyanza.

Mwai Kibaki: 4,584,721
Raila Odinga: 4,352,993
ODM: 99
PNU: 43
Pro-ODM: 4
Pro-PNU: 24
Top US official for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, has also suggested that both sides could have been responsible for rigging.

But some of the most glaring discrepancies seem to have come from Central Province, Mr Kibaki's home region and known as a stronghold of his Kikuyu community.

The Law Society of Kenya has condemned the results as "not credible" and said Mr Kibaki, who was sworn in straight after the official results were declared, should step down.

Even Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) head Samuel Kivuitu has admitted that he could not say for sure if Mr Kibaki had won fairly until he saw the original records.

Under cover of dark

The head of one Kenyan organisation which monitored the poll told the BBC News website she suspects that people broke into some counting centres and added tens of thousands of votes while counters slept.

Koki Muli, the executive director of the Institute for Education and Democracy (IED), says she thinks that the counting of the presidential ballots was deliberately delayed by election officials until late into the night.

An Odinga supporter sent the BBC a ballot paper that allegedly shows vote rigging

Many regional tally stations then ran out of kerosene for lamps, and counters went to bed - intending to finish the job the next day.

On their return to work, they found ballots for the presidential election outnumbered those cast for the local and parliamentary elections.

"In past elections, the presidential ballot was counted first, but this time counters were ordered to start with the parliamentary and civic elections.

"As a result many places ran out of kerosene for their lamps. Something then happened overnight," Mrs Muli said.

In some constituencies there were as many as 50,000 more votes in the presidential ballot than in the local civic and parliamentary elections, Mrs Muli said.

"People vote for their local representative, because it's the office that has a direct impact on their lives. People just don't turn up and vote for the president only," she said.

The IED is part of a 13-member partnership of domestic election monitors who put 17,000 observers into the field during the elections.

'Suspicious delays'

Mrs Muli's observations are backed up by the European Union observer mission who say that results in at least three districts were inflated by the time they were announced in the capital, Nairobi.

Their interim report says there were "serious inconsistencies" in the results collected by observers in Molo in Rift Valley and Kieni in Central Province.

Protesters in Nairobi
Africog's Gladwell Otieno says the violence could have been worse
Results forms for Lari and Kandara constituencies in Central Province were changed, they say.

"It was unclear by whom, where and especially when these changes were made," the report said.

In Kerugoya, also in Central Province, EU observers found there were 10,000 more votes than the official turnout recorded.

Gladwell Otieno of the African Centre for Open Governance (Africog) says some of these dubious results in the Central province were announced after "suspicious delays".

"Even the head of the ECK said he could not get through to people collating the votes in many regions. These places then returned results for the government," she said.

Criminal charges

There were also problems in the Nairobi constituency represented in parliament by Mr Odinga.

Here, thousands of people, whose surnames begin with "O" were missed off the voters register, including Mr Odinga himself.

The surnames of many members of Mr Odinga's Luo community start with O.

Mr Odinga complained to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) and the problem was rectified but he suggested it may have been a deliberate ploy to disenfranchise his supporters.

Polling stations opened late with too few ballots all across the country. In some cases polling stations received the wrong ballot papers, further delaying the vote, Mrs Otieno said.

Although protests have descended into violence, in which at least 600 people have died, she says the violence could have been far worse.

Her group plans to lobby the police to bring criminal charges against those they believe are responsible.

Both the IED and Africog are planning to bring out detailed reports on the elections in the next few days.

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