Saturday, January 31, 2009

Democracy in Kenya?

The New York Times reports on allegations that the US government-funded International Republican Institute deliberately withheld poll results that the US disliked in Kenya in late 2007. The poll suggested that Raila Odinga, who was disfavored by the U.S., may have had more support than the announced victor, Mwai Kibaki. This alleged suppression of information would have obstructed the accountability of the electoral process to the Kenyan people. This, in turn, may have contributed to widespread post-election violence.

The US State Department immediately recongized Kibaki after the Electoral Commission announced this result, although there remained serious allegations of fraud, including some charges by the US envoy.

The article quotes the IRI East Africa Director, Kenneth Flottman, as saying:

“It was clear, in my opinion, that the ambassador was trying to influence the perceptions of the Kenyan electorate, and thus the campaign.”

Obviously needs further research, but this is an interesting and disturbing prospect.

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