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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Kivuitu Responds to Shailja’s Open Letter

On January 10th 2008, this blog published an Open Letter addressed to ECK Chairman Mr. Samuel Kivuitu by Shailja Patel who is a Kenyan of Asian extraction and an award winning poet/author and activist. Shailja is also a prominent activist for Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice, a coalition of over forty legal, human rights and governance organisations advocating justice and equality for all Kenyans. Here is an interesting response she received from Mr. Kivuitu himself:

Response from Samuel Kivuitu
by Shailja Patel

At the beginning of this year, I wrote an Open Letter to Samuel Kivuitu, Chair of the Electoral Commission of Kenya. It was picked up by a number of sources, online and off, within and outside Kenya, and widely distributed, forwarded, and republished.

On May 14th, Samuel Kivuitu spoke, for the first time since "The Crisis", at a forum on Post-Election Violence in Nairobi. I arrived early at the venue, and slipped a paper copy of my Open Letter under the blotter where he was going to sit. I'd abridged and updated the letter to reflect our current Kenyan reality. It ends with a plea:

It’s not too late, Mr. Kivuitu. To recover your own humanity. To open your eyes to the suffering and longing of this nation. To admit that something went terribly wrong. If you could only rise to the desperate need of this turning point in Kenya’s history, you could redeem yourself with the simplest of words:

“I’m sorry.”

Those words might be the most revolutionary ever spoken on this continent. They might open the floodgates for every leader, every public servant, to acknowledge their own deep fear, grief, and remorse. To admit fallibility. To take responsibility. We are still waiting, Mr. Kivuitu, for you to speak.

During the forum, I watched Mr. Kivuitu bluster, blame, deny all culpability for the stolen election that took Kenya to the brink of civil war. In the plenary, I stood up, heart pounding, and said:

Mr Kivuitu, the whole country, from IDPs (internally displaced persons) in camps to affluent residents of Karen and Mountain View, are waiting for the tiniest expression of remorse, regret, from the Electoral Commission of Kenya. As a human being, a Kenyan, can you find it in your heart to offer just three words: "We are sorry," to the people of Kenya?
He couldn't.

Five days later, this arrived in my inbox:

To: Shailja Patel
From: S. M. Kivuitu
Date: 19 May 2008

Dear Madam,

I thank you for your letter dated 14 May 2008 and the concerns you expressed therein.

The Holy Bible has taught me to leave judgment of others to God the Almighty. I do not know if you are the Almighty God or not but you did not seem to be Him when I saw you on 14 May 2008.

You are all the same entitled to your views. I however humbly deny any wrong doing. The laws require that I declare the winner of the presidential elections once the Commission determines the candidate who scored highest, and led 25% of votes cast in his/her favour in 5 provinces. That is all I did. And there was no other candidate or his/her agent seeking me to hold on and re tally – no. After announcing the results a fellow appeared before me and requested me to hand over to him the president's certificate. I told him that that is only done to the winner personally and directly.

The fellow then informed me that Hon. Kibaki was awaiting to be sworn as the President and the Chief Justice was present, duly robed, for the assignment. He requested me to take the certificate there. I had no business retaining the certificate. It was not mine. The law says it be given at the place the President is to be sworn. I obeyed the law and took it there. Commissioners do not count votes.

Commissioners do not tally counted results. They simply verify these. They do this through the Commissioners' senior officers whose competence and integrity you seem to recognize. Commissioners announce the results as presented to them by these officers. Or what else do you suggest they should have done?

My conscience is absolutely clear. I know how dangerous it is to delay announcing the results. There are several interests in the results and all are equally important. I was hurt in 2002 for not announcing results which I had not yet received. I am not a seer, like you seem to be, to be sure that there would have not been deaths if I postponed the announcement of the results.

With my humblest view I do not share the view that people killed others, or destroyed the properties belonging to others, on account of my announcement of the winner. I believe that irrespective of whoever of the two top candidates won, there was going to be violence. That environment was created by the politicians themselves. You seem however to worship them as deities. Secondly, I respectfully believe the killers, who had been already charged with rhetoric, reasoned thus – why did Kibaki or Kalonzo get these votes in our areas? They looked round and saw Kikuyus, Kambas and other "madoadoas" (1)(as they had been told to call them). They reasoned these where the ones who voted thus and they must eliminate them.

Even in poor Coast, suspected "wrong" voters were ordered to pronounce certain words. Once they did not do so like the locals, they were violently evicted and robbed of their properties and raped. Thus the genesis of the tragedy is in our dirty politics and negative ethnicity. It is bad luck we have kind people like you who are too naïve to realize the depth of our malaise. No wonder facile and dishonest assignments that Hassan Omar (2)advanced thrilled some of you. This confirms Kenya is in for hard time for a long while to come.

Have a nice day Ms. Patel.

S. M. Kivuitu

(1) Madoadoa - spots (Kiswahili)

(2) Hassan Omar Hassan, Commissioner of the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights, condemned Kivuitu and the Electoral Commission of Kenya as delinquent in their duties, at the May 14th forum on Post-Election Violence.


Kinyash said...

Too late. This one was read and commented on by Derek and Kimi Raikonnen last week. It was in and many of us had have the pleasure to read it.

Remember the Derek lecture about blogs last Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Is she an ODM member nmow that she has written to Kuvuitu about ythe elections, the same way, Harun Mwau's businesses are not questionable, sinec he is talking to Raila. Now Mwau is being praised all over ODM quarters as a brillant man, but he never gave ODM any votes. Why praise him now.

Anonymous said...

Is she an ODM member nmow that she has written to Kuvuitu about ythe elections, the same way, Harun Mwau's businesses are not questionable, sinec he is talking to Raila. Now Mwau is being praised all over ODM quarters as a brillant man, but he never gave ODM any votes. Why praise him now.

Phil said...

Apart from Kalonzo Musyoka, virtually ALL the independent election observers from EU, AU, Commonwealth, EAC, KNHRC, etc have refused to approve the election results that were announced by Kivuitu.

He is clearly passing the buck. The custodian of our constitution (Kibaki) whom many Kenyans felt could act on this miscarriage of justice by Kivuitu was himself a direct beneficiary of the ECKs misdeeds and it is unlikely he will act in the interest of the public.

This thread has nothing to do with Mwau John Harun. In anycase, this blog does not prosecute/jail criminals. Your duly elected government does!

@ Kinyash - you may have read/commented on it elsewhere, but dont you think others also deserve a chance to give their views on this forum which was one of those that published the original letter?

Or are you just scared that debate on this subject will resurrect the fact elections were stolen?

Proud Kikuyu Woman said...

It's been on her blog for ages, and Kenyan Pundit had the permission to post on hers weeks
The assumption here is that is Samuel Kivuitu's email address. That is,Samuel Kivuitu, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya, and he wrote that. I need a form 16A, someone!

Anonymous said...

The "panua" fellows never miss an opportunity to charactarize this blog as not worth reading. If so, how come they always come "visiting"? - Self explanatory (it is not as useless as they try to make it out to be).

Again, another thing, deep down in their panua hearts, if they are really honest with themselves, they know that KIBAKI STOLE THE ELECTIONS although they will never publicly admit it (A thief never confesses...). They will continue to revel in DENIAL and DECEPTION

Mention the words "STOLEN ELECTIONS" and the panua gangs will very quickly come out of the "woodwork" in defensive mode - a defensive mode that has very large doses of GUILT embedded therein!

Taabu said...

No information or news is STALE until you have read and comprehnded it otherwsie history would be IRRELEVANT. Truth is not only ARROGANT but never mutates. The clothed barbs are clevervely packaged to succeed in diverting attention. Just ask yourself what your disguised intention is when avoiding the nasty truth.

Anonymous said...

What he said is exactly the mandate he was charge with carrying out. Him apologising for doing his job would be utter nonsense and actually whilst shailja's letter was well meaning, it highlights the naivety that her and many kenyans have, not understanding the mechanics behind what happened on that day. If there was no announcement on the 31st of December, Kenya would essentially have a blurry mess of who is the current president, allowing for tyranny or a full scale civil war to start breeding.

Some of you chief bloggers on kumekucha keep on rubbing on old wounds, making them sore and painful again for no reason. The Electoral Commission was an inefficient body with loopholes and whether or not you like it, Kivuitu did not have the capacity to even do otherwise. So many rules were broken on that day by PNU and ODM, which was totally ridiculous, bringing in more agents than were allowed, allowing contestants who are obviously biased in the most crucial impartial centre for elections, meaning manipulation was so easy and they all tried to hijack the press centre, shamelessly crying foul. We have the most stupid politicians in the world, and if Shailja doesnt see that she must be living in dream land. She should not be seeking for sorry's she should be seeking for actions that speak louder than words, because our politicians ridiculed us infront of the whole world. And who are EU observers, to announce their displeasure when the president has already been sworn in and things are so tense? Other international observers, actually disputed what they said. Why do Kenyans think that because it is a western body that it is incapable of making mistakes? Even if what they said was true, they never mentioned who they think won, they said there were discrepancies. And whats more, they handled it so badly that it only fuelled violence.

Kwale said...

My goodness gracious me, when will you move on? It’s now almost past 6 months and you are still stuck at an election that happened last year. Even if Kivuti was to admit the election was ‘stolen’, what good will that be to you? Kibaki is already sworn in and a new coalition govt is already in place and life goes on. Seriously it time to move on my beloved fellow Kenyans.

Look at what happened in Republic of Georgia exactly a week after Kenya election, President Mikheil Saakashvili was re-elected for second term amid protest that he rigged himself back to the office. The election was widely condemned by international community as not free or fair. Major protests followed in the Capital Tbilisi after the election results were announced and the opposition continues to declare that the election was riddled with massive fraud, accusing him of being authoritarian and not doing enough to alleviate poverty. Mr. Saakashvili responded by sending in the riot police, imposed a state of emergency and dealt firmly with the protestors.

Today Georgians have since moved on and Mr Saakashvili has further consolidated his position when his party won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in May 2008. He has since promised to fight corruption that has riddled is previous 5 years term, improve living standards and help Georgia towards becoming Nato and the EU member state. And all, Georgians seems to be happy with it all now.

So, what I am asking, why can’t we move on as well. All is it Africans don’t have capability to move on?

Anonymous said...

Kwale, am glad to be african and kenyan, because am ready to defend my rights and not be cowed by an oppressive government to ensure that our civil rights are respected. if you have no problem being screwed over and over and then can bend over again and again, then you are one in a million, kindly move over to georgia and get your third passport and good luck.

we have already moved on, but we will correct and not forget the real reason we are where we are today, for that would be foolish and history would repeat itself in the not very distant future

Anonymous said...

what does Kivuitu's announcing election results have to do with killing and raping people who have nothing to do with him.

Phil, Chris, Taabu i dont why do you have never come to terms that Raila will not be president until after 2012. Please find something constructive to do.

Vikii said...

Can a fairly intelligent person explain to me in detail how the election was rigged? (I know what that means, it means some laughably dumb insults). In which constituencies was there rigging? What was Kibaki's actual vote because the ODM fellows, led by mudavadi, whom we are expected to somehow believe are the bearers of the truth, quoted a figure that was very close to Raila's. If we are to believe this figure,and knowing half of Eastern voted for Kalonzo Musyoka, and assuming for the sake of argument that Kibaki won only in two provinces and virtually got zero votes in all other six "non-Kikuyu" provinces,how can we explain the Mudavadi figure they later posted at I mean Central Province and half of Eastern cannot grant you 4 million votes, can they?

I am told that because the ODM won more parliamentary seats, and they did (something I severally predicted in this blog), then Raila must have won. That is an argument that is plain stupid. Moi won more seats than the combined opposition in the elections of '92 and '97 and yet he got less than 40% of the vote on both elections! And if that argument is worth dwelling on, who actually won Nairobi province? If the Parliamentary vote has to equal the Presidential, then are you guys in agreement that Kibaki won Nairobi because PNU affiliate parties got more votes than ODM in Dagoretti, Embakasi, Makadara, Kasarani and Starehe? And ODM won more in Lang'ata and westlands?

I have heard people say telling a lie a hundred tmes doesn't make it a truth. How I wish my ODM friends would understand that.

Shajila, Kivuitu had no reason to postpone the announcement of results. At least not after people had gone to Norfolk and demanded immediate release of the results (Never mind the whole Meru country votes had not been counted). And if anyone really wanted him to hold on to the results, they should have obtained a court injuction. Nobody did because there was no grounds for such an act.

Anonymous said...


2)Kenyan Runners

Anonymous said...

This thing slums ODM harder. Let me tell you sooner than later, you will hear what arsenal the ECK has and thats why they believe they should be in office. ODM rigged itself to power through killing and intimidation.

Anonymous said...

Kenyans are cheating themselves. If you steal votes, you will create instabilities in businness and development in your country thus hurting everyone forever.

The madoadoas, kwerekweres, athereres, etc will be displaced forever and boycotted.

Look what has happened within this short time.

1) Kivuitu is a millionare
2) Kibaki has forced people to accept him, the African style.
3) Kalonzo's miracle has come to light

Only these three have gained.


a) You RV IDP, what fun do you have? Are you really happy that Kibaki is ruling? Are you happy that the returning officer of Molo changed the figures on 16A in favor of Kibaki? Are you really proud? Can you condemn these open stealing in Molo and Juja or you are a tribalist?

b) You IDP, dont you know that some of the people ran away to South Africa. A Zulu man heard two Kikuyus saying "atherere meni". The Zulu said they are kwerekwere and must be killed. Are you proud to be a Kenyan or you are proud to be a Kikuyu? Can you understand why the Zulu man hates you?

c) You IDP, can you imagine what could have happened, when the tallying were fair and Kenya would have remained peaceful like in 2003?

I ask all Kenyan to shun tribalism, condemn antidemocracy bodies like Kivuitu, Moi and Kibaki.

Lets support only national parties. No Gema, No Kamba parties, no Luo parties, no Kalenjin parties, No Luhya parties.

The future of our land depends on how mature we grow. We are still very stupid, childish, halfbaked in thinking as far as our National Unity is concerned.

Dont allow genocide to take place in Kenya. Support democracy and all national parties only. The new constitution should allow only parties with 10% to send representatives to parliament!

Kwale said...

@Anon 8.14

When will you stop crying over spilt milk? Wherever you are today in life is by your own choice. Don’t blame it on Kibaki or Kikuyus. And don’t tell me your life came to a standstill 5 years ago when Kibaki became the president of Kenya. If this is how you think, then I feel very sorry for you indeed. And that’s should explain why Kenya despite having one of the most educated people in Africa; we have never managed to produce an inventor or a designer or an explorer. We don’t see what is ahead; we only like to dwell in the past.

You have been challenged time and again, if you have any evidence that Kibaki rigged the election you should present it before the court of law. By complaining it here in Kumekucha it make no difference ‘cause no one here have the ability to do anything about it. Not even Chris! It's only gonna leave you more and more frustrated.
Like the bible say, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants” Deuteronomy 30:19.

Taabu said...

What a dishonet preacher you make? Dissecting an event never made one a whiner but ignoring it and instead opting for the cheap shot of moving on is DECEPTION in disguise. Never quote the bible in vein brother and if you must keep it to yourself for we know scoundrels when they foam at the mouth while permuting few verses on the strrets.

Anonymous said...


am not crying over spilt milk, am drawing your attention to the fact that unlike you, i will not allow myself to bend over and be screwed over and over again. that it has happened before is no excuse to pretend, i will fight till justice is done and kenyans taking part in future elections can do so in the knowledge that their single vote will count in the decision process. and we are not standing still, we have moved on, there's a coalition which we grudgingly are participating in, there are reforms in the pipeworks, dubious kimunya, kirubi and other deals are coming into the open.

there is some movement on land issues. even as we move on, we are ensuring clean up of the spilt milk, those crying loudest over it are mostly the ones that kicked the milk jug over over

you may continue to lick kibaki and by extension kikuyu ass all you want, like i said, if you are ok with that, then thats good just dont expect everyone else to find some good in that.

Anonymous said...

Oh my Oh my! Kwale, Do you know the Bible you're quoting well enough to stand by the truth and the truth shall set you free.

A colleagues's son did some interview in Tanzania and when asked which part of Kenya he came from, he said Western (Luhya) and shockingly enough, they told him that were he from Central, they would not have hired him.

Now, this is not to say that am happy about that. This is indeed WORRYING. Instead of defending the perception already embedded in majority of people, would'nt it have been wise to try and change by doing fact findings and asking questions such as: What do we do that gives a wrong impression on our character and values? What can we do to change this? Are we sensitive enough to realise that we offend people in one way or another? Can we change approach in the way of doing (the very things)in a manner that we may not continue offending? Can we create a link that can bridge us with the rest of humanity. And as one author once said, Insanity is doing the same thing in the same manner again and again in the hope to achieve different results.


Kwale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kwale said...

Taabu, Anon 6.47 & Mwirethu,

I am not dictated by who runs the country as a matter of fact I couldn’t give a monkey which tribe he comes from. That scripture I have just quoted there does not say if you choose Kibaki, Raila or whoever you will live.
I would wish also to remind you that in Kenya there are many people who have no hope of their tribesmen becoming president of Kenya but yet, they fly out of the country first class at their own wish. I mean they live a fulfilled life.

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