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Cablegate: Kenya Elections: Countdown 6: 7 Days Away

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #4816/01 3541417
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201417Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3963
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9747
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5631
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 4965
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2459
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1751
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2507
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2432
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS NAIROBI 004816

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PREL PHUM KE
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: COUNTDOWN 6: 7 DAYS AWAY

REF: NAIROBI 4803 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Steadman Group released its final poll
results: 45.5 percent Raila Odinga, 42.7 percent Mwai Kibaki
and 9.6 percent Kalonzo Musyoka. Given the vagaries of
turnout rates, this makes the election too close to call.
Two pro-Kibaki parliamentary candidates in Odinga's Langata
constituency have stood down in favor of the candidate of
Kibaki's PNU coalition, making the retention of the seat by
Odinga more difficult. Most observers still believe Odinga
will win the Langata constituency he has represented since
1992, but it is not certain. Vote recounts are initiated
only at the level of the polling station. Election petitions
concerning the conduct of the election can take years to work
their way through the courts. Meanwhile, the candidate
initially declared the winner continues in office. END SUMMARY.

FINAL STEADMAN POLL: TOO CLOSE TO CALL
--------------------------------------

2. (U) The Steadman Group released its final poll on
Tuesday, 18 December. Whereas past polls involved interviews
of about 2,700 self-identified registered voters, for this
final poll Steadman interviewed over 6,000 voters. Steadman
accurately predicted the November 2005 referendum and is
considered to employ a technically respectable methodology.
Their results are 45.5 percent Raila Odinga, 42.7 percent
Mwai Kibaki and 9.6 percent Kalonzo Musyoka. Given the vagaries
of turnout rates, this makes the election too close to call.

RAILA FACING A TOUGHER FIGHT TO RETAIN LANGATA SEAT
--------------------------------------------- ------

3. (SBU) Raila Odinga's fight to retain his Langata
constituency just got a little tougher. Already being forced
to campaign harder than expected by PNU's Stanley Livondo,
two other pro-Kibaki candidates have withdrawn from their
race and endorsed Livondo. Ndura Waruinge (founder of the
Mungiki criminal organization and UDP-Kenya candidate) and
Karanja Mungai (FORD-Kenya) made the announcement on December
19th at a joint appearance with Livondo at a Nairobi soccer
stadium. We have long heard that Waruinge was willing to
sell his supporters (primarily residents of the
Kikuyu-dominated housing estates outside the Luo-dominated
Kibera slum) and lend his "security detail" to Livondo for a
steep price. The withdrawals create a unified pro-Kibaki
voting bloc behind Livondo. It is unclear that Livondo will
be able to convince his fellow Luhyas in the constituency to
back him, since the great majority of Luhyas back home in
Western Province are backing Odinga. Most observers still
believe Odinga will win the Langata constituency he has
represented since 1992, but it is not certain.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RE-RUN PROCEDURES
---------------------------------------

4. (U) To be elected President of Kenya, a candidate must
fulfill three conditions: 1) be elected to parliament, 2)
obtain 25 per cent of the vote in 5 of the 8 provinces, and
3) obtain the highest number of votes for president.

5. (U) If a presidential candidate fails to win a
parliamentary seat, he is eliminated and can not assume
the Presidency. In that event, the presidential candidate
that fulfills all three conditions and who polls the
most votes is declared President.

6. (U) If no presidential candidate fulfills all three
conditions, a re-run election is held between the two
presidential candidates with the highest number of votes
for President who have been elected to parliament. ECK
has budgeted for this eventuality, but we doubt the issue
will arise as Kibaki is likely to clear the hurdle of 25
percent support in 5 of the 8 provinces.

ELECTIONS RECOUNTS AND PETITIONS
--------------------------------

7. (U) Under Kenyan Law, a candidate or his/her agent may
request a ballot recount at a polling station no more than
twice. The law does not permit requests for recounts at a
level greater than an individual polling station. However,
any voter or candidate may contest the conduct of an election
through an Elections Petition, which must be filed in court
no more than 28 days after the election results are announced
in the Official Gazette. The law provides no deadline for
the court hearing the petition to decide the case. Petitions
can drag on for years, as happened in the wake of the 2002
elections. In the meantime, the candidate initially declared
the winner continues in office.

RANNEBERGER

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