The last couple of months have been a rollercoaster of uncertainty for Kenya as they prepared for their presidential elections at the beginning of March, waited several long days for votes to be counted, and held their breath to see if the results would be declared as valid. This was the first presidential election since the infamously post-election violence of 2007 in this East African nation. The country has taken big strides towards growth and development since the economic and political fallout of that election six years ago, including many reforms to the country’s constitution, government bodies, and electoral systems. The main contenders – Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga – as well as many other political figures and leaders urged Kenyans to be peaceful this year. And for the most part, they were.
The election did not come without a few bumps in the road. For one, the electronic voting system that was supposed to eliminate a lot of the discrepancies that occurred in the previous election did not work and most of the country’s votes had to be counted by hand. After several long days of vote counting, Kenyatta was declared the winner with 50.07% of the votes – a minuscule margin over the requisite 50%. With such a small margin of victory, Odinga called for the results to be looked at more closely. This past weekend, after a week of recounting votes at 22 poling stations and carefully considering all the evidence, the Supreme Court declared the results were valid and that Uhuru Kenyatta would be inaugurated as president of Kenya on April 9.
Here at Know Think Act, we have prayed for and followed Kenya’s 2013 presidential elections closely. My favorite moment was getting to talk to the founder of Action Ministry, Peter Ochiel, on the evening of the elections on March 4. He spoke candidly of the odd tension of uncertainty and hope that existed side by side that day. As a staff, we were able to pray over him, Action Ministry, Blessed Camp, and the country as a whole. Thank the Lord for modern technology and the ability to speak and pray in real time with Peter, despite the thousands of miles between us!