Kenyan general election, 2007
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On 27 December 2007, Kenyan elections were held for presidency, parliament, and civic positions. The most publicised and controversial race was between incumbent president Mwai Kibaki of the Party of National Unity and his opponent Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement (the third most popular presidential candidate was Kalonzo Musyoka).
The violent fight for presidency did not end when the Electoral Commission of Kenya declared Kibaki's re-election three days later on 30 December. Odinga had been leading by several hundred votes after the second round of counting, so his loss was met with furious accusations of rigging the election and of Kibaki being sworn in without all the results counted. A recount was conducted, but the outcome was the same.
Kibaki, of the Kikuyu tribe, and Odinga, of the Luo tribe, were supported by the two largest ethnic groups in Kenya. Fifteen minutes after Kibaki was announced president, the Luo began violent attacks on the Kikuyu. Slums were the first places affected by the political outrage. Hundreds of Kikuyu homes were burned and Kikuyu families were forced to grab their belongings and flee. Within a day, nearly all businesses were closed and the usually bustling streets of Nairobi were empty. The country had plunged into a small war. During January and February 2008, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced from their homes, and more than 1,000 people died from the post-election violence. Crime exploded in densely populated areas, such as Luoland, settlements in the Rift Valley, and intra-urban slums in Mombasa. In Kisumu and parts of Nairobi, the streets saw constant rioting until the end of January. Farms were looted and roads were blocked, leaving people unable to work, farmers and commuters alike. Many members of large ethnic groups attacked anyone whom they felt didn’t belong. Minorities and people that had come from other countries, even 40 years ago, were common targets. Some people even fled to Uganda and other nearby countries to escape the social unrest. One sector greatly affected by the political unrest was tourism. Flights and tours were cancelled, companies withdrew from Kenya, and many people lost their job to layoffs. The international media covered the tragedies extensively, giving the outside world the impression that the entire country was amidst a bloody battle, when truly, parts of Kenya were untouched by violence. The loss Kenya suffered from the lack of visitation equals approximately $47.6 million dollars. The fragile state of the economy affected surrounding countries as well.
By March 2008, the country was starting to recover and by April, it was stable. Mwai Kibaki remained President and Raila Odinga was named Prime Minister. The parliamentary vote was cancelled in three of the 210 constituencies, but the other 207 elected or re-elected members without suspicion of election fraud. Prior to 2007, hostility surrounding politics in Kenya existed on a much smaller scale. In 1991, when multiparty politics was introduced, violence became known as an election time tradition. However, the fighting and aggression demonstrated in December, January, and February 2007 was and has been unmatched by any election related uprising.
- Kenyan presidential election, 2007
- Kenyan parliamentary election, 2007
- 2007–08 Kenyan crisis
- The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Kenya
- Lafargue, Jerome (2009). General Election in Kenya, 2007. Dar es Salaam: Mkuki Na Nyota.
"Anger and Frustration in Post-election Kenya". World Policy Institute. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
Gettleman, Jeffrey. "Disputed Vote Plunges Kenya into Bloodshed". New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
"Kenya's Post Election Violence". ABC-Clio. ABC-Clio. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Electoral Commission of Kenya (webpage not available currently)
- Daily Nation – Kenya Elections 2007 (link to a homepage)
- The Standard – Election Platform (webpage not available currently)
- IFES Election Guide for Kenya