"Kenya's Presidential Election Was Illegal" - Maina Kiai

Last month, Kenya held a tumultuous presidential election that was marred by political violence and electoral fraud. Kenyan human rights organizations reported that 24 people were killed in post-election protests after the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who allegedly won “by a margin of nine percent.” However, the presidential election was illegal and its results should not be accepted, according to Maina Kiai, Kenyan human rights activist and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. Kiai also said the government is using the election as an excuse to clampdown on civil liberties. Click here to read Kiai’s full article about the country’s post-election human rights crisis.

Today, Kenya’s Supreme Court ruled in support of a re-count petition alleging vote “rigging” in the presidential election. Raila Odinga, presidential candidate and leader of the National Super Alliance opposition party, filed the petition which is an “audit of the electoral process.”

Despite the contested nature of the presidential election, the gubernatorial and legislative elections held historical significance. Kenya no longer has only male governors – three women became the first in the country’s history to win governorships. An underdog candidate with little campaign resources, John Paul Mwirigi won a seat in parliament, becoming the country’s youngest lawmaker ever at the age of 23. For the first time, three women were elected to the country’s legislature, including Fatuma Dullo, former commissioner at the Kenya National Human Rights Commission and civil society leader, who previously held an appointed senate seat.

Kiai is a Steering Committee member of the World Movement for Democracy.