Open Letter to Panelists and Senators on S. Res. 431 and Kenya's Flawed Election
This is our open letter to the panelists and to Senators Feingold and Sununu who met today to discuss the Kenyan election. This letter was also sent to Congressman Payne and Senator Obama.
We would like to commend Congressman Payne and Mr. Kiai for their displays of candor and integrity during yesterday's hearings.
Annah, Tavia, Tina, Philister, Sam
Coalition of Kenyans and Allies for Democracy
P.S. For the report from Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice, please see http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=17016
Subject: Open Letter on S. Res. 431 and February 7, 2008 Hearing on ?The Immediate and Underlying Causes and Consequences of Kenya?s Flawed Election?
February 6, 2008
Dear Panelists and Senators:
Thank you for your concern for the people of Kenya.
We are appealing to you on behalf of the Coalition of Kenyans and Allies for Democracy (CKAD) which represents the more than 15,600 people, most of whom are Kenyan, who have signed our petition demanding that Mwai Kibaki step down as President of Kenya. It is on the foundation of the hopes vested in our coalition by these more than 15,600 people that we appeal to you to do what we know is necessary to restore democracy and peace in Kenya.
CKAD?s demands are premised on the overwhelming evidence that Kibaki attained the seat of the President of Kenya through illegal and immoral means?that is, by rigging votes. Since we began our petition on December 31, 2007, even more evidence to this effect has emerged.
More recently, an article by Shashank Bengali entitled ?How Kenya?s election was rigged?has outlined how accredited election observers witnessed Kibaki-appointed commissioners alter tallying sheets and inflate numbers to deliver the presidency to Mwai Kibaki. One of the five accredited observers, Ben Sihanya, says of the Kibaki-appointed commissioners, ?these people were criminals...they were committing crimes at the behest of the Kibaki government.?You will find attached a more detailed analysis of how Kibaki stole the election, entitled ?Countdown to Deception,?that is currently being circulated by Kenyans for Truth, Justice, and Peace.
It is also worth noting that one of the individuals that these observers identify as having been actively involved in rigging the election, one Martha Karua, is currently the Kibaki-appointed Minister of Justice. This is the level of impunity with which we are faced.
WHY KIBAKI MUST RESIGN
Some have suggested that those who are demanding Kibaki?s resignation are ?hardliners?and that a power-sharing arrangement is the best option on the table. CKAD, the majority of Kenyans, and even Kibaki himself have rejected such an arrangement. Our reasons for taking this stance are simple.
As history has shown, Mwai Kibaki and his cohorts cannot be trusted to fulfill their promises and responsibilities to the Kenyan population. We saw this in 2002 when Kibaki reneged on a power-sharing agreement that would have made Raila Odinga Kenya?s Prime Minister then. We saw it again when Kibaki dismissed and then recalled a cabinet that conveniently did not include opposition members after Odinga?s party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), successfully defeated a constitution draft that would have drastically increased the powers of the executive. We saw it again when Kibaki appointed half of his cabinet just prior to mediation efforts by John Kufuor. Finally, we have seen this throughout the Annan-mediated negotiations as Kibaki has done everything to thwart the process?referring to himself as Kenya?s ?duly elected?president, when in fact he is not, and turning down a power-sharing agreement that had been practically approved by both parties.
In addition, mobs of thousands of Kenyans are engaging in ethnic violence. We have yet to see credible evidence as to how these groups will be reconciled under a power-sharing agreement.
We believe that Kenyans do not want the specter of democracy, they want its realization. Kenyans cannot beg for a power-sharing agreement when we know that this is far less than what justice demands?when we know that Raila Odinga is Kenya?s democratically elected President.
We hold Mr. Kibaki responsible for the bloodshed that has occurred in the wake of his stolen election. In particular, we hold him responsible for those many deaths that have occurred at the hands of his policemen--including the assassination of opposition Member of Parliament David Too. We demand an independent investigation into the murders of David Too and Mugabe Were and we believe that any government that genuinely wanted to regain the confidence of its population would not avoid such an investigation.
In light of the plethora of evidence that Mwai Kibaki did not win the December 2007 election and in light of the horrific bloodshed that we have witnessed since he illegally seized office, we respectfully demand that either Kibaki do what is moral and decent and resign immediately or that the international community join us in demanding that a new election be held as soon as is feasible, but in no more than one year?s time.
THE ALTERNATIVE: A NEW ELECTION
As Scott Baldauf of the Christian Science Monitor writes:
Early calls for a retallying of the Dec. 27 vote have been dropped, as many of the original tally sheets have been destroyed. Also destroyed is the reputation of the one Kenyan agency that is charged with carrying out any such retally, the Election Commission of Kenya .
Baldauf also cites a Nairobi based lawyer who notes that, ?lacking legitimacy, Kibaki will have to agree to fresh elections.?The European Union also declared that, if a fair recount was not possible, then a new election should be held in Kenya.
We regret to say that it has become very obvious that a recount is not possible given the extent to which Kibaki?s party, the Party of National Unity (PNU), has gone to destroy evidence that it rigged the election. We are, however, immensely grateful to the election observers who have refused to manipulate or swallow the truth and who have validated public opinion?that is, that Mwai Kibaki is not the democratically elected President of Kenya, but that the democratically elected President of Kenya is Raila Odinga.
Since it has become clear that a recount or retallying is not possible, we believe that a new election is the most viable and democratic path to peace. Furthermore, we believe that a new election would prevent the secession of the six pro-Odinga provinces from the two pro-Kibaki provinces. The mood on the ground in Kenya is such that we believe that civil war is very imminent. We appeal to those who want to keep Kenya intact as a nation to seriously consider a new election to be held as soon as is feasible, but in no more than one year?s time, as the most viable and democratic path to peace.
WHY KENYA NEEDS INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPERS
We would like to return, for a moment, to the mood on the ground in Kenya. We can tell you with great certainty, that the vast majority of Kenyans have no faith in the Kibaki government.
Neighbor has turned against neighbor, friend against friend, community against community. Kibaki and his government have done little to stem the violence. In fact, many Kenyans suspect that the Kibaki government is part and parcel of the violence as two Members of Parliament have been murdered under its watch. One of these, David Too, was murdered at pointblank range by a policeman. The East African Standard also reports that some members of the feared Mungiki gang who attacked members of the Kalenjin community wore police uniforms.
The news media is rife with reports of mobs of thousands of Kenyans engaging in attacks against one another. Meanwhile, Kenyans are being forced to seek protection from ethnic-based gangs?gangs that have even, in the past, terrorized the very communities that they now purport to serve. This is the extent of the desperation of the Kenyan population.
As we have said, the vast majority of Kenyans have no faith in the Kibaki government. International intervention is needed now.
We respectfully demand that the international community deploy a peacekeeping force, preferably NATO, to Kenya immediately to stem the escalating spiral of revenge attacks, many of which we believe are being funded by the Kibaki government. A peacekeeping force, we believe, would benefit all Kenyans regardless of ethnicity. We do not believe that the Kenyan military will be indiscriminate in protecting Kenyans since, as National Public Radio reports, even journalists are having a difficult time remaining impartial as their relatives and friends are being attacked by members of ?rival tribes.?A peacekeeping force that can reasonably be viewed by all Kenyans as being impartial to all of the ethnic groups involved is needed immediately.
KEEPING OUR PROMISES
One of not just the United States?but the world?s greatest thinkers and revolutionaries wrote, ?We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.?This man was Thomas Jefferson.
While many people remember the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence?s second paragraph, we cannot comprehend the full force of these words without taking into account what follows:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ?That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (emphasis added)
This was the foundation that was laid for democracy in America. This was Jefferson?s dream and it is our dream. It is the dream that America has pledged itself to sharing with the rest of the world. It is the dream that Kenyans have harbored for more than a quarter of a century under dictatorship and for more than sixty-five years under British colonization?that is, for nearly a century under the rule of tyranny. Having tasted the natural freedoms of democracy, Kenyans are now demanding its realization.
We beg you to not rob Kenya of this dream. We beg you to help Kenyans create a democratic society that can serve as a role model for other nations with similar aspirations. We beg you, more than anything, to stand on the side of truth, peace, and justice.
Many have alleged that the U. S. sees in Mwai Kibaki a man who is willing to subvert the human rights of his citizens in order to serve America?s war on terrorism. They have alleged that the U. S. is willing to sacrifice Kenya?s democracy in the name of its war on terrorism. Kenyans today wonder whether they have been wrong to view America as the model of democracy. Some wonder whether they have been wrong to believe that the war on terrorism is about protecting and encouraging democracy, whether they have been wrong to believe that America?s interests are best served by a democratic Kenya
The Coalition of Kenyans and Allies for Democracy does not believe that this panel, this Senate or the American public want anything less than what is just and right for Kenyans. We believe that the dream of democracy is alive in Kenya even amidst the carnage and misery caused by those who wish to destroy it. We urge you to protect Kenya?s fragile democracy and to join us in demanding that either Kibaki step down or that a new election be held as soon as is feasible.
Annah, Tavia, Tina, Philister, Sam
Coalition of Kenyans and Allies for Democracy
The Coalition of Kenyans and Allies for Democracy (CKAD) represents Luo, Kikuyu, Kalenjin, Mkamba, Mijikenda, Luhya, Maasai and other ethnic groups. The signatories of our petition reflect this diverse cultural spectrum. Our demands include democratic safeguards and promote an equitable justice system to address the grievances of those who have been targeted or whose relatives have been targeted because of their ethnicity or political affiliation. We recognize the short-term urgency of installing Kenya's democratically elected leader as President and the long-term necessity of addressing the grievances and conflicts that have come out of this extremely flawed election.
Edited on February 7, 2007
Citation correction ??We hold these truths to be self-evident...?from US Declaration of Independence