Kenya president appoints commission to investigate election results

[JURIST] Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] has established a panel to investigate the December 2007 disputed presidential election [JURIST report] that sparked mass violence in the country, according to a Thursday statement from his office. The panel is expected to probe the election's outcome, as well as the independence of the Electoral Commission of Kenya [official website]. Tensions have settled somewhat as Mwai and opposition candidate Raila Odinga [campaign profile] tentatively negotiated a power-sharing deal [JURIST report] last month, although disagreements still remain. Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement [party website] said on Thursday that any attempt to interpret the agreement in a way to divide power unequally could lead to renewed violence. The Parliament of Kenya [official website] met last week to discuss the power-sharing deal [JURIST report], but has yet to approve the agreement. Reuters has more.

Kenya's controversial presidential vote has sparked simmering ethnic tensions in the country, where Kibaki has long been accused of using his position to favor members of the Kikuyu tribe. Fueling accusations of malfeasance, Kibaki won the December 27 election despite early opinion polls that placed rival candidate Odinga in the lead. Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets following the election, which prompted the government to temporarily ban public rallies and institute a curfew in Nairobi, the capital city. In all, over 1,000 people have been killed and 250,000 displaced since protests began. Thirteen nations, including several European Union members and the United States, have threatened to cut off aid [JURIST report] to the Kenyan government until the crisis is resolved and democracy is restored. Odinga's opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement filed a formal complaint [JURIST report] in January with the International Criminal Court [official website], alleging that Kibaki's administration has committed crimes against humanity while using force against demonstrators.

 

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