Thursday, January 22, 2009



Tuesday, January 20 2009

Obama took office 78 days after the polls while Kibaki was sworn in soon after the results

As Kenyans joined millions across the world to witness the historic swearing in of Barack Obama on Tuesday, they must have been struck by the stark contrasts between the Washington DC ceremony and similar events at home.

Mr Obama took office 78 days after winning the presidency in a ceremony witnessed by one of the largest crowds in America’s history.

Hundreds of thousands of people converged on Washington DC — in buses, trains and planes — from across the world to celebrate Obama’s inauguration.

Inaugural parade

After the oath, they watched the new president and his family ride in an inaugural parade along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

After that, outgoing President George W. Bush — rated the most unpopular leader in American history — was escorted in a military plane to his home in Texas.

The organising committee threw 10 inaugural balls after the swearing-in.

Despite having been elected in November last year, Mr Obama rode into Washington on Saturday in a 10-car train retracing the route President Abraham Lincoln — his idol — took to the capital before he assumed the presidency in 1861.

Many other presidents had similar ideas for their arrivals in Washington. Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt came slowly by train while Bill Clinton took a bus from Thomas Jefferson’s home outside Charlottesville.

Obama’s presidency presents a sense of hope and renewal for thousands of Americans who flocked Washington DC for the event.

Someone great

“He gave us something different to look forward to. I want my daughter to have a sense of feeling that even though people struggle, there is always a chance that you could be someone great,” said mother of two Donna Allen in Washington DC.

Former Nation political editor Emman Omari compares the excitement generated by Obama’s feat to the enthusiasm with which Kenyans welcomed Daniel Moi’s presidency in 1978 after Jomo Kenyatta’s as well as Mwai Kibaki’s 2002 election.

“Kenyans had a lot of faith in Moi’s presidency. It was a relief as it marked the end of what many perceived as the political dominance of a small clique of people,” he said.

Like Obama’s election, President Kibaki’s 2002 win was a milestone; the end of the Kanu dictatorship and dawn of optimism for thousands of jubilant Kenyans who thronged Uhuru Park to witness what they thought was the break of a new beginning. It was not to be.

In 2007, President Kibaki was sworn in in a hurried ceremony at the lawns of State House amid chaos across the country on a dark, cold evening in the presence of PNU members and a handful government officials, shortly after he was announced winner in a poll disputed by ODM rivals.

“A small cabal of politicians almost certainly stole the result by fraud. In the parliamentary vote, President Kibaki’s ruling party was routed. Yet in the presidential vote Mr Kibaki emerged victorious and was sworn in only a few minutes later, forestalling pleas from all sides,” The Economist wrote.

Violence errupted soon after leading to the death of nearly 1,300 Kenyans and displacement of thousands of others from their homes.

Unlike the US, Kenya’s poll system gives aggrieved parties no time to file any complaints before announcing the winner.

Instead, the law says they should seek redress in courts of law.


Submitted by kisumu28
Posted January 22, 2009 04:56 AM

The difference between African "democracies" and the Western Democracies is the level of eduction on the electorate. The majority of the population are not only literate, but also have allegiance to and conception of a nation larger than their chieftain. Africans unfortunately found themselves cobbled together in territorial boundaries. Their allegiance is to the tribe not country.

Submitted by edenskid
Posted January 22, 2009 02:05 AM

The US is a livelier democracy than Kenya because people fought for it. It did not come free. We remember leaders like Lincoln, Martin Luther, etc who had to stand up for this democracy. Kenya will mature in democracy if Kenyans fight for it.

Submitted by zait
Posted January 21, 2009 09:37 PM

what!the first comapison,Obama had to prove he had paid all taxes from all of his income to qualify as a candidate.and all the senators and congressmen and women are well screened before they can assume office. how then can you compare them to the semi gods of kenyan politics who earn as much as these american leaders and pay no tax? even if you compare kenya to the state of mississippi,you will end up in more shame than comparing kenya to somalia.

Submitted by Gidmulinge
Posted January 21, 2009 09:15 PM

Writing from the USA, I want to encourage my fellow Kenyans to learn from the inauguration of President Elect Obama . This is what free and fair elections are all about .There is still hope for Kenya .I pray that God raises an Obama in Kenya in our day and time . We need to rise above petty and partisan politics and embrace those that God has specifically anointed to lead like Obama . Let's learn from America .

Submitted by caseka58
Posted January 21, 2009 09:05 PM

For those whinning about comparison of the two world apart, I think you miss the point. USA is the founder of our understanding and application of democracy. Should we therefore,presumably, shun democracy and turn to barbaric Zimbabwe and Somalia?

Submitted by akaiz1280
Posted January 21, 2009 07:04 PM

What is it with this PNU and ODM crap talk!our voting behavior is all the same deep down our conscience.And dont we know Kenya has political parties emerging every election window? There is all to compare with the US election process, and those contra this need to globally grow up!We all drool for the American dollar like it is oxygen..why dont you raise a flag on that? Ameirca is still no doubt a model for hundreds of countries in the world. Elections are elections, whether they are done within a SACCO, Union, etc.

Submitted by jaukakathevillager
Posted January 21, 2009 05:09 PM

Kenya' s ceremony was done under a bed.America's ceremony was done on the top of a roof top.A city on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither can a genuine winner be.

Submitted by oohsweet
Posted January 21, 2009 04:57 PM

Our system is lacking and i hope that the "new constitution " if any will include clauses for handling transitions to state house...... GOD GRANT US A NEW CONSTITUTION>>>>>AMEN

Submitted by Lotan
Posted January 21, 2009 04:22 PM

One more difference.... McCain and the Republican's brigade humble acceptance of the people's verdict vs Raila, Ruto and the ODM's irresponsible incitement of their supporters to kill other Kenyans for not voting for them, uproot the railway, torch and root hardworking Kenyans' property. Obama had a word for you though.... you'll be judged on the basis of what you can build not what you can destroy.

Submitted by narc
Posted January 21, 2009 04:06 PM

Ours was embarassing indeed!The same politicians want to be seen mingling in washington at our expense,

Submitted by makinionne
Posted January 21, 2009 03:59 PM

l am a Kenyan living in Canada,before the 2007 election l used to read daily about how our country was moving in the right direction,now our country is compared with Zimbabwe and Somalia,KIBAKI has taken our country years behind and its sad that the local mwanaichi is the one suffering the most,GOD BLESS KENYA.

Submitted by ConspiracyTheorist
Posted January 21, 2009 03:57 PM

We had a similar if not better ceremony in our own Uhuru park in 2002! I guess the Americans were so tired of Bush, just like we were of Moi, that had it been anyone else, the celebrations would still be as big!

Submitted by patriotickenyan
Posted January 21, 2009 03:51 PM

It's true that Kenya and USA are on different levels of development but the comparison is spot on because the writer is simply pointing out that we needn't be developed to make ethical political decisions...a stolen election in 2007 and speedy swearing in is simply unacceptable whether in developed or semi-developed countries. I hope our leaders will learn from Obama.

Submitted by naliweliwalo
Posted January 21, 2009 01:39 PM

Thank you Nation for highlighting the differences between the US and Kenyan ceremonies. The Kenyan ceremony of 2007 was shameful, and should never be repeated. A validly elected government did not need to have a swearing in at night! It is also a thought-provoking exercise, showing us the need for a transition period, using courts speedily for resolutions instead of violence, e.t.c. Well done Nation!

Submitted by gizah
Posted January 21, 2009 01:26 PM

It is not often that I support controversial editorial but this article is spot on for comparing two unequal but similar events. I dont think this writer is a twonk to expect a Kenyan to be the USA. All he is doing is to show us how different we are. Who said that you only compare things if they are the same?

Submitted by Annoyed_Kenyan
Posted January 21, 2009 11:19 AM

"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history ... ." Kibaki shame on you.

Submitted by asma_756
Posted January 21, 2009 11:15 AM

To be honest - those saying "no one voted for Kibaki" have to visit the rural areas and speak with communities as well. Finally - my own gut feeling is that if Kibaki was not sworn in hurredly, the likes of Orengo would have taken to Uhuru Park and declared Raila as president. They were after all announcing their own results over the news. And had rejected all defeat BEFORE the election. Lets be objective here - these are not saints we are dealing with!!!

Submitted by eobwaka
Posted January 21, 2009 11:09 AM

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.

Submitted by machiavelli
Posted January 21, 2009 11:05 AM

A few word of wisdom from the Obama Inaugural speech: That the Kibaki government is on the wrong side of History by continuing to cling to power through corruption and deceipt despite the hardships faced by Kenyans. Secondly, Kenyan must go back the old virtuals of hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism and desist from the culture of tribalism and patronage, shortcuts and quick deals. Thirdly all those who have been implicated in scandals must be held to account including Goldenberg, Anglo-leasing, Triton-KPC , Maize exports, land grabbing and others. givernment.

Submitted by simiyujames
Posted January 21, 2009 10:17 AM

Now I see Philip Ochieng does good research. This article is not worth publishing especially in a big paper such as standard. There is no comparison in what happened in Kenya and the US elections. We are at different stages of development. For us youths, lets be the change we want to see to push our Kenya ahead.

Submitted by womollo
Posted January 21, 2009 09:17 AM

the world knows what happened in kenya and how many steps we took backward in democracy(stolen victory).it was a good lesson for us kenyans watch and see how peoples choice was being sworn in office.remembrace of 2002,i regret of the choice we made.

Submitted by lord of the rings
Posted January 21, 2009 08:12 AM

the difference was stark as day and night.kibaki ought to reflect on how shamelessly he asumed office.kenya also needs a time period where the govt i waiting prepares properly for assumption of power

Submitted by emoit
Posted January 21, 2009 06:15 AM

What are you comparing? This is insane.The political structures in USA are very different-developed over centuries.Americans will not kill anyone if results are not announced even if it takes weeks/months.Because the system still works-no vacuum.Compare that with Kenyans who will kill if their tribesman is the not the winner.The issue of PNU winning less seats is a stupid argument.PNU people elected the best man/woman not party.Should Bush have resigned because both senate and house were democratic?

Submitted by JOBWAPILI
Posted January 21, 2009 03:34 AM

Thank you America for showing how to democratically hand over power peacefully. Shame on Kivuitu and the rest of the scrupulous ECK Commissioners, Shame on the chief Justice Gicheru, shame on the AG Wako, shame on police commissioner Ali and shame on the so called 'duly elected' for robbing Kenya of its electoral democracy and peaceful transition. Washindwe!

Submitted by selinajuma
Posted January 21, 2009 02:19 AM

May God bless President Obama, his family and his presidency as a whole. What a historic day, where the world can watch in awe, a dream that was never foreseen. America did it right!!! I'm very proud that Obama has Kenyan roots. Yes, we had to wait 78 days to see him inaugurated while Kibaki swore himself in immediately when those fake results were announced. Shame on you Mr. Kibaki and may you learn from Obama's legacy.

Submitted by NaturalSceptic
Posted January 21, 2009 02:10 AM

Unlike Kenya, the US losers use the courts rather than violence, like Al Gore versus George W Bush did. The Supreme Court ruled against him. Unlike Kenya, the number of US senators and representatives per state is proportional to population. Kenya has the widest divergence in the world. Unlike Kenya, the US relies on their citizens to declare and disputes results. Kenya fell apart courtesy of one EU observer disputing the results.

Submitted by PMM75
Posted January 21, 2009 02:06 AM

It amazes me how u manage to compare two things thats arent in any way comparable,,,you cant even compare US media leave alone voting system etc Why doesnt the media just compare itself with world meadia before comparing other sectors? Kweli Nyani haoni kundule

Submitted by zhong
Posted January 21, 2009 02:06 AM

Never talk of Kibaki election in 2007, he was never elected.

Submitted by jkimani
Posted January 21, 2009 01:41 AM

Not sure what message this article is trying to put across! As much as i dislike Kenyan politics, comparing Kenyan and US elections is like comparing apples with oranges! If the writer had bothered to do their research they would have discovered that American democracy did not get to where it is without trials and tribulations - presidents have been assasinated, others died fighting for democracy and Kenya is now going through the same experience. Please make an effort to write more thought provoking articles instead of recycling old garbarge!

Submitted by Jackmwangi
Posted January 21, 2009 01:11 AM

Kenya should learn a lesson from this transition of power. The constitution should be ammended to allow a new president time to pick his cabinet and other government members. 2-3 weeks before the new president takes power.

Submitted by lmakau
Posted January 21, 2009 01:04 AM

We have renewed hope despite our current leaders in Kenya. Their time has come and it can't last forever for we teh youth are a new breed and are growing by the day. Kibaki and the Raila's watch out coz when change comes, you can't stop it. It is like the arrival of a child amidst the labor pains... you get the picture.

Submitted by lagoondoctor
Posted January 21, 2009 12:46 AM

I thought the Nation should take criticism like all of us. Or is the media allowed to always criticize but never get criticized? Sad that what we hate in our politicians is there in our media. When will the common mans Messiah come and liberate us?? Shame! Shame!