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Winds of change in Kenya?

The violence of the previous election has been replaced with political intrigue, and a lot of mathematics.
Last modified: 10 Mar 2013 15:00

A warm and gentle wind filters through Nairobi's streets.

The people who mourned another Raila Odinga loss have stayed at home, waiting for the prime minister’s next move.

Those who celebrated hard through Saturday are today just taking it easy.

There is a strong message of unity within the pages of the Sunday newspapers, which unsurprisingly show a victorious Uhuru Kenyatta: president-elect of Kenya.

The Sunday Nation’s front page headline is simply: "My pledge to Kenyans.”

There is a picture of an emotional Kenyatta, with tears in his eyes, as he shows his certificate of presidency.

In the bottom-left corner of the page, a tiny photograph of Raila Odinga bears the deflated caption: "Raila rejects poll results."

The Standard on Sunday quotes Kenyatta's victory speech: "We will work on behalf of all citizens regardless of political affiliation."

Some foreign journalists have described this as a “boring election”; personally, I have found it anything but dull.

ICC factor


The violence of the previous election has been replaced with political intrigue, and a lot of mathematics.

One Kenya expert I have been speaking to throughout the week told me he is “exhausted” and has not slept at all.

This is a story that will continue to dominate the international headlines.

On Monday, Kenyatta's defence team will attend a status conference at the International Criminal Court at The Hague to prepare for his trial in July.

The ICC factor creates a dilemma for western diplomats here; they do not want to alienate Kenya, a key ally in East Africa.

However, there are strict rules about having direct contact with someone indicted by the court.

Odinga's appeal

On Tuesday or Wednesday, a team of lawyers from Odinga's Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) will present their petition to contest Uhuru Kenyatta’s election as president.

The team will be led by renowned Kenyan lawyer George Oraro with the support of cabinet ministers Mutula Kilonzo and James Orengo alongside Ababu Namwamba.

Raila Odinga told me in an interview that he has “faith in a new independent judiciary". 

That faith will soon be tested, as the Supreme Court has the power to overturn election officials' decisions, and to change the fate of the Kenyan nation.