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Kivuitu Responds

Full details of the chronology of events can be found on Shailja’s blog.

Kudos to her for her persistence and showing fellow Kenyans why it is important to keep up the fight to hold leaders accountable in whatever way we can…it should not just be business as normal!

After reading Kivuitu’s response, let me know your thoughts…

In Shailja’s words (reposted with permission).

“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. The letter can be found here.

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 her 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 open themselves to 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. It is posted here, and for public distribution, with Mr. Kivuitu’s permission.

To: Shailja Patel shailja@shailja.com

From: S. M. Kivuitu skivuitu@nbnet.co.ke

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

(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.

8 comments to Kivuitu Responds

  • magothe

    Excellent response Mr Kivuitu. The almost suicidal need to believe in politicians has and will be our undoing for a long-time. This need is almost close to that favored clutch of “victims”. Its somebody’s fault but not mine…
    The question that has kepty ringing in my ears all this time where Kivuitu is concerned is when in Dec sometime he posed “when will Kenyans have a civilised General Election?”. Indeed…

  • laban

    based on kivuitu’s absolute clear conscious , why does he start by leaning towards the bible , Almighty God. he says leave judgment to God but then goes a head and accuse patel to be worshiping the politician he should check whats involved in worshiping as an act. he is not sure whether patel was God thats a lame argument GUILT “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.”
    ” a fellow appeared”……..???
    how about testimonies of irregularities yet the commissioner denies any wrong doing and said he obeyed the law ” when the fellow” as him to hand over the certificate so the commission choses when to obey the law yet one magothe wonders when wi’ll have a civiliced election?……its only when the commissioners address all the irregularities on both sides. and thats the law.
    kivuitu” knows” now dangerous it is to delay the results????and was HURT in 2002? why did he take the job 2007 then he claims he is not a sheer like patel? yet he say he knew irrespective of the winner there “was” violence. who is the sheer here?
    your view sir is not humble , HUMBLE is Christ

  • Christina

    What a conceited JackASS! His kind rarely take responsibility, they are too narrow-minded in applying the law on what suits their actions and have “killed their conscience” to suit their greed for power. His time will come – there is a God!

  • M

    I highly and seriously doubt whether that was Kivuitu writing!

  • Mr Kivuitu says his “conscience is clear”…how can that be when on one day he declares Kibaki to be the President re-elect and then in the weeks that follow admits that as he annonced the results he could not be sure who had actually won?

    And are we seriously supposed to believe that Mr Kivuitu had no idea that Mwai Kibaki was ready and waiting to be sworn in once more as he announced the poll results?

    One more thing…what exactly does Kivuitu know when he says “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”. Does he blame both sides or just one? Would be fascinating to hear more.

  • “that as he annonced the results he could not be sure who had actually won?”

    He has not – repeat: NOT – said this, such as you misquote him. Stop repeating convential untruths without checking. No matter how many lemmings bleat them, they are still a lie.


  • Chege Waweru

    That is a great reply from Mr. Kivuitu! Bravo.

    Dear Kenyans and Kenyans’ friends and foes! It is a great pity that what happened in this country shortly after the casting of votes of 2007 General Election.

    It would be naive if not totally disconnected with what happens to blame the violence in particularly Rift Valley Province to election announcement.

    I never saw the politicians go to war or burn down houses but ordinary citezens of this country did. They displace their neighbors, looted and burnt down houses not to forget killed their long time “friends”. That to say the least is barbaric and uncalled for. Dear friends can burning down houses, killing or maiming people may things right? Can it file a petition? It is wrong and that is a truth!

    As for Kivuitu he might be a “face” to ECK but he is not ECK. I would not expect to find him tarrying votes. His sorry would not mean anything. Kenyans lets sit down and think for a while….lets be civilized to say the least, at least for once…..this country belong to us and us alone. All of us despite the tribe or tribes you come from. Lets guard it! Lets think together and talk together…….

    Thank you
    Chege Waweru
    Time to EMPOWER our PEOPLE

  • Better sit idle than work for naught. – Spanish Proverb