Kenya appears to be on the brink of a civil war, along tribal lines, as hundreds have died, in riots and assaults following the disputed national election; the latest casualty figure given by opposition political leader, Raila Odinga is 250, including as many as 50 people burned in a church.
The US State Department, Sunday, congratulated Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki on his re-election, and called on all sides to accept the results despite opposition allegations of ballot fraud.
"We obviously congratulate the president on his election," said department spokesman Rob McInturff. "Again we would call on the people of Kenya to accept the results of the election and to move forward with the democratic process," he said.
As always with the Bush Administration 'we are moving forward' with 'the democratic process' even if leaders are being assassinated such as Benazir or in the case of Kenya, the election was stolen or rigged, and a civil war threatens.
I alluded to this in a earlier post about ballotocracy or ballot stuffing, as a substitute for democracy. It is not interchangeble. Bush and Rice have been promoting the idea of voting at the ballot box, but have given scant attention to scrupulously counting the votes, or all the other requisites of democracy: an independent electoral commission, an independent judiciary, a free press etc.."Without them," Philip Stevens of 'The Financial Times' writes, "elections may legitimise populist autocrats. The cross on the ballot paper, in other words, may be nearer the end than the beginning of democratic state-building".
We know about Bush's idea of fair play; he debates with Kerry allegedly wearing a wire, not to mention as his critics claim, he is the twice unelected president, so it is natural that as the European Union expressed strong reservations about 'election irregularities', the State Department rushed in to congratulate President Kibaki on his re-election, and demanded the opposition 'move on or move forward' and respect Kibaki's hand-picked Electoral Commission, even though our American ambassador in Nairobi and presumably Rice and the State Deaprtment knew the election was tainted.
But Kenyons, like most of the world, don't take kindly to being cheated, and President Kibaki, Bush's ally on the 'war on terror', providing support for American operations against Islamist militants in neighbouring Somalia is playing a 'dangerous political game', if he feels he can thwart the majority's democratic wishes. The result is the deepening crisis we are seeing unfolding today, in Kenya.
Update: It looks as though the State Department not surprisingly has had second thoughts. From Wednesday's 'The Independent' Kibaki faces pressure over 'rigging':
The United States, which had initially welcomed Mr Kibaki's victory, retracted its congratulations and issued a two-page statement highlighting "serious problems" including "unrealistically high voter turnout rates " and "apparent manipulation of some election reporting documents".
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