3 January 2008

Kenya: AG Calls for Probe Into Poll Result

Nairobi — Kenya's chief legal adviser has urged for an independent investigation into the disputed presidential election result that has thrown the country into days of chaos and death.

Attorney General Amos Wako said serious doubt had been established over the presidential election result as announced by the Electoral Commission.

Mr Wako, breaking days of silence, said: "A proper tally of the valid certificates returned and confirmed should be undertaken immediately and on a priority basis by an agreed and independent person or body."

The AG said his position took into consideration the allegations by the rival parties that their votes had been rigged and the fact that some electoral commissioners, including the polls chief Samuel Kivuitu, have questioned the veracity of the result.

Here is the full statement by the AG:

I wish to make the following 5 points:

The level of and nature of the violent protest has never before been witnessed in our country and is quickly degenerating into a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions and if left unchecked will be uncontrollable and will tear apart the economic and social fabric of our Kenyan nationhood. It is therefore absolutely vital that as our law enforcement agencies are restoring law and order that immediate steps be taken on other fronts to address the grievances which gave rise to the unacceptable situation in which we are in.

Hon. Mwai Kibaki having been declared duly elected as President of Kenya, only the election court can nullify the election if a case is made out in the petition filed by the petitioner. However, in view of the allegations on either side that their votes have been rigged, the fact that some Commissioners, including the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya questioning the accuracy of the number of votes declared and taking into account that this crisis has arisen because of the perceptions that the presidential results were rigged, it is necessary, and here I agree with the Catholic Bishops and others, that a proper tally of the valid certificates returned and confirmed should be undertaken immediately and on a priority basis by an agreed and independent person or body. In as much as under Regulation 42(2) of the Presidential and Parliamentary Election Regulations the relevant Forms 16 and 16A are documents that can be made available for inspection by any member of the public, such an exercise can be undertaken without a court order and without an election petition having been filed. Such an exercise will go a long way in assuaging the inflamed passions of people.

The foregoing will also assist any mediation or negotiation or constructive dialogue entered into in arriving at legal, policy or political decisions. It is of necessity that the PNU, ODM, ODM(K) and other parliamentary political parties enter into a constructive dialogue for a political solution. Such political decisions can include for example the formation by the President of a Government of ALL parliamentary political parties anchored on an agreement to be made public.

The law enforcement agencies, and in particular, the Police are using and will use all lawful means to ensure that law and order is maintained. Peace is restored, and the right to life and property is respected and secured. Grave and serious offences are being committed and prosecution will ensue. Targeting communities or tribes can also ultimately result in serious crimes under international law such as crimes against humanity can attract accountability at the international level.

My appeal is therefore to all of us to ensure that we speak or act in a matter that contributes positively to peace; recognises that we are all equal as Kenyans; that we support all efforts aimed at reaching a solution to the problem based on justice and peace and that we put our beloved nation first as our individual interests are best served in a united, democratic and thriving nation.

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