Kenya Elections Crisis
Seafarers’ Assistance Program
Mombasa / Kenya
05 Feb 2008
Kenya faces a serious food shortage in the near future if the
on-going post-election violence is not arrested in time.
It is estimated that up to 500,000 people may have been displaced.
The loss of livelihood could result in a steep rise in poverty in
the near future.
During the violence, many farms were burnt and crops lost,
creating addition vulnerability not only for those who were
displaced, but also for those who remained on their land.
Families will need to extend assistance to families who have lost
their livelihoods and at the same time host families who have been
receiving displaced people since the violence broken out last
The crisis has drastically affected the fisheries, transport and
tourism industry in Kenya.
Tourism industry stands to lose US$ 3,125 million if the ongoing
crisis is not resolved in good time.
The crisis continue to devastate farmers and fishermen who supply
their produce to hotels as well as transporters, tour operators,
airlines, employees and hotel owners all who depend on the fragile
Already, investors in the sector are painfully refunding monies
paid in advance for bookings travelers lose hope that things will
return to normal any time soon.
This development spells doom for thousands who depend on the
Tourism sector has been on a roll over the past five years, from
less that US $ 156.3 million in earnings per year in 2001, the
sector earned US$ 937.5 million in 2006 and this was expected to
grow by another 30% this year.
The industry, which until December last year was projecting US$
1.03 billion in earnings for 2008, reports that this being the
high season, investors are starting at reversed earnings.
The usually busy Mombasa International Airport, which is mainly a
terminal for travelers to the Coastal towns, is now a ghost
facility with deserted runways.
Bed occupancy has fallen by 50% especially in Mombasa. Until three
weeks ago, tourist bookings were full up to April, when the high
The industry employees 250,000 workers directly and supports
another 550,000 in auxiliary services.
Some firms have laid-off hundreds of workers and more are on their
way home as scores of tourist class hotels are closing down due to
lack of guests.
Some 70,000 workers are expected to be let go by March this year.
The disturbances have caused disruption to transport in the whole
region; Mombasa Port is a hub for transportation of goods to the
Sea Port and from the Port to East Africa, the great lake region
and the Horn of Africa.
The chaos has also caused disruption of transportation of fish
from Lake Victoria to Mombasa Port for export to overseas market.
Kenya’s fisheries sector is mainly composed of fresh water (Lakes,
rivers and dams) and Marine (Indian Ocean), Sub-sectors with
aquaculture still at infancy.
With fish production estimated at 150,000 metric tones annually,
the sector contributes about 5% to the country’s gross domestic
product (GDP) had an average producer value of Kenyan Shillings 8
billion in 2006 and supported about 500,000 people the same year.
There are about 50,000 people working in the sector directly
mainly as fishermen, traders, processors and employees.
Taking advantage of the ongoing chaos in the country which has
caused break down in law and order, local fishing trawlers are
fishing without fishing permit and are fishing below 5 nautical
miles from the shoreline.
Due to corruption the local trawlers are fishing illegal with the
full knowledge of the law enforcement agencies and the officials
of the fisheries department.
Kenya is being held captive by a group of people whose primary
objectives is to rig the presidential elections and to inflame
ethnic hatred and cause death, destruction and displacement.
The results for 2007 general elections were doctored and they fell
short of international standards leading to the heavy loss of life
counting wide. Many more are in hospital nursing injuries.
There was lack of transparency in the tallying of results which
gave President Mwai Kibaki victory, raising doubt about their
Serious inconsistencies and anomalies in results announced by the
Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) led to differences in the
Presidential results declared by ECK and those reported by
Results from polling stations in the Central Province were altered
and some had difference of more than 50,000 in the number of
Presidential and Parliamentary votes.
Competition among the candidates in the national elections was
unfair as there was abuse of state resources while government
controlled Kenya Broadcasting Co-operative was biased in its
coverage of campaigns.
In the damning admission the ECK Chairman announced the
Presidential election results under pressure from leaders of
Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU).
During the Campaign period freedom of speech was generating
However, on the announcement of the final results for the
presidential elections at the Kenyatta International Conference
Centre, Nairobi Journalists were ejected from the building.
Immediately following the announcement a directive from the
Internal Security Minister ordered broadcasters to suspend all the
live broadcast, seriously infringing the right of the media to
report without undue state interference.
In more than a third of Polling Station visited by observers, the
results were not posted at the polling stations level,
fundamentally undermining transparency measures in the process.
It hurts very much to say that observers encountered difficulties
in obtaining results from returning officers at most polling
stations in Central Province and parts of Eastern and Coast
In Central, Coast and Eastern Provinces results were withheld and
only released to observers after confirmation by ECK officers in
Whilst results of the elections were announced, the official
figures for all the 210 constituencies in the country are not
available and adequate measures have not been taken at all levels
to ensure the results can be core-related in the public domain.
In one constituency the figure released at the counting hall was
50,145 votes for President Kibaki but the ECK announced 75,261.
In another constituency in Central Province, counting for
Presidential votes was suspended at one O’clock in the night
without any explanation.
In many constituencies in Central Province, observers were told
that they could only get the results of the presidential elections
after the returning officers returned from Nairobi.
It is disheartening to state here in that more that 900 people
were killed while about 300,000 are displaced and several others
seriously injured following the disputed victory of President
Kibaki in the 2007 General Elections.
While the media is reporting that post-elections violence in Kenya
stems from tribal rivalries a closer analysis shows that the real
root cause of the growing crisis lie on deep economic injustice, a
skewed distribution of political power, political manipulation of
ethnic identities and the persistent failure to respect civil
liberties and democratic processes.
Although Kenya is touted as a growing economic, (economic miracle
with a 5% annual economic growth rate), the benefits have largely
been concentrated around a small elite.
An incredible 60% of Nairobi residents live in slum areas and more
than a half of the people in Kenya live on less than US$ 1 a day.
Poverty and inequality are a regular fact of life, with Kenyans
exposed to enormous vulnerability in almost every shape of life:
income; access to education water and health; and life expectancy.
The majority of Kenyans live day to day, earning an amount which
is not enough to pay for their daily needs.
Frustration and hopelessness are the inevitable result of this
kind of daily struggle and socio-economic exclusion. It is these
underlying conditions and facts which made most Kenyans peg their
hopes on favorable outcome during the just ended general elections.
As this is a serious violation of human rights we call for
internationally supervised forensic audit of the vote to discover
whether a recount could be reliably conducted or whether a new
round of voting is needed.
In any event, a re-run must not be supervised by the current
Electoral Commission, for this Electoral body has lost integrity
and in the eyes of majority it is not a credible out-fit to
oversee any election process.