President Mwai Kibaki


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It is with great joy that I write this letter to congratulate you on your massive victory in the United States Presidential elections.

 

On behalf of my first lady, Grace, my daughter, Bona — who absolutely adores you (and swoons every time you come on television) as well as our three sons, I congratulate you on this great victory, which has made me as an elderly African statesman very proud.

 

I never thought in my heart of hearts I would live to see this glorious day when one of our own would win the highest seat in the US. I thank the spirits of the Gushungo clan and the spirit of my dearly departed mum, Bona (after whom my beloved daughter is named), who have kept me alive just so I could see this day. Those in the winds surely knew the objective of my continued existence on earth and in Zimbabwe’s State House. Our ancestors, yours and mine, knew that we have a joint mission.

 

I send my congratulations on behalf of my entire country, Zimbabwe. We are all indeed proud — barring of course the few misguided elements among us who think that only white people are capable of ruling nations. You know who they are. I don’t have to spell it out for you, my son. I am happy you proved them wrong, like I did.

 

I hope you don’t mind me calling you my son? I don’t mean to be disrespectful. But as you will know from the lessons learned at your father’s knee — albeit for that short time — this is the way of our people. Some people might even say I shouldn’t call you my son, as you and Grace are practically the same age! But that doesn’t make you less my son.

 

It makes you more so. In case you are wondering, Grace also loves you. I think. She hasn’t exactly said so in so many words, but I see the knowing looks she and Bona trade when we are watching you on the BBC. (Yes I thrive on watching the Beeb; don’t believe all that crazy stuff you read that I believe in so-called “100% local content” which my former minister of information thought was a good idea. Honestly! A serious man such as myself should have one’s hangovers. Mine is all things British. Oh I do miss my visits to Buckingham Palace, the shopping in Sainsbury and those dainty cucumber sandwiches that Number 10 Downing serves. But please don’t repeat this to Gordon Brown.)

 

A husband always knows when his wife’s heart is straying. Even an old one. In fact the other day I overheard Grace on her cell phone, saying to one of her friends, “that BHO is bho sha (that Barack Hussein Obama is great my friend)”. She also said you were hot! I asked one of my youngish security details what “hot” means, as I am out of touch with such language. Enough of this chit-chat.

 

I am writing this letter post-haste because I want to make sure you and I are on the same page. I want to share with you some lessons on leadership, which I have honed in my 28 years in power.

 

I want to prevent our enemies from getting to you with their side of the story first. And believe me they are already on their way to you. Passport or no passport, I am sure that cowboy in the White House will facilitate you-know-who’s entry into Washington soon.

 

I must say though I am rather frustrated remembering that you won’t be inaugurated until next year! You Americans are a funny breed. What is the point of winning if you don’t claim your prize instantly? Where is the gratification in that? Seriously, some of us can’t wait a whole quarter of a year before we take office. Who knows what strange things they will do to your office in these last few days? Watch and learn; I was inaugurated within 24 hours. My Zambian colleague, President Rupiah Banda bettered that; he was inaugurated in two hours and even better His Excellency Mwai Kibaki did it within 30 minutes flat! There is a Kenyan worth emulating my son.

 

One of the first things you must do is distance yourself from that lily-livered fellow Luo of yours, Raila Odinga. He just doesn’t think like us good African statesmen. You must change those constitutional rules of yours. A president must quickly take power. Three months is a long time to waste.

 

It is a great pity that my dear Comrade Eddison Zvobgo, who understood constitution-making so well and who of course knew the American system inside out, died many years ago. I would gladly have sent him over to you. The man was a genius. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have survived in office for this long. The man assumed that he was doing it for himself.

 

Can you imagine that he actually wanted to remove me from office before the good Lord that I pray to recalls me to his side? The Lord removed him instead.

 

You are so young; I am envious. You have at least about 40 years ahead of you in office. And if you listen to elders like us, you will stay until the White House is repainted maroon. Start working on fail-safe constitutional changes that will ensure your longevity in office. This business of being “recalled” out of power à la ANC is just totally unacceptable. People must wait their turn. And in some cases accept that their turn will never come.

 

When you choose your Cabinet ensure absolute loyalty. Plus fear. Look at my lot. None of them dares to say pwe (say a word) as we say in Shona, in my presence.

 

When they get too clever, demote them, humiliate them. Seal their loyalty with patronage, a soft loan here, and kickbacks there, turn a blind eye to mistakes sometimes. They will stay on side and on message. You may even learn some lessons from your predecessor on how he used the wars he is waging to buy loyalty from those who got contracts. Unluckily you can’t just kill your opponents over there, your laws being what they are, but hey, there’s always a way around these things. Let’s strategize once you settle down.

 

Now let’s move on to my problem. As I lamented earlier it’s a pity you won’t be in office soon. I need you to weigh in on this so-called crisis in Zimbabwe. As you can see our brother Thabo Mbeki is now out of his depth. So here is what you can do in the meantime. Start talking about Zimbabwe. Remind everyone about the armed struggle that I waged for independence. Then tell them that I am simply here to complete the mission of liberating our people. You, my son, understand history. I don’t need to remind you that both of us have a mission to accomplish. Comrade Obama, you are our new hope. You are the perfect person to make the connections with what I have been championing all along.

 

I will be happy to organize a celebratory event where you can meet many of my colleagues with whom I share these ideas. Just say when and it shall be done. We can use the event to talk at greater length about how we can work together for our continent’s benefit and I can share more lessons with you.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me to chat very soon, because the task ahead of you is a heavy one. Your young shoulders need all the help they can get. Consider me the African father that you didn’t really have for long.

 

God speed and take care of yourself, my son.

 

R.G. Mugabe

 

P.S. Your Michelle is “hot” too by the way! I will link Grace up with her so she can share lessons on how to be a beautiful and quiet wife. She needs reining in now. You will have enough problems to deal with in the world. Managing smart, educated women is quite a chore! I had that with Sally. Yikes! As you Americans would say.

 

To be continued over cucumber sandwiches once you put in a good word for me with Gordon. He seems a more sober fellow than that one named after our local ablutions.

RGM

 

Ghostwritten by Everjoice J Win, a freelance journalist from Zimbabwe.

 

Source: http://www.mg.co.za/article/2008-11-17-my-dearest-comrade-barack

Disclaimer: Author is a freelance writer, therefore opinions and ideas shared in the above article may not necessarily be those of the staff and management of the Zambian Chronicle.  The original text has been modified to fit Zambian Chronicle content and multi-media structure.

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

 

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b6_edited.jpegNegative Campaign ,Malicious Rumors, Gossip and Hatred on Aspiring presidential candidates are set backs and can bring a Destruction in Voting for a Great President. 

By Belliah K Theise

Having followed USA presidential debates and making comparisons of what is going on in the entire world with politics, we found similar paterns that has made third world countries be the way they are now, in terms of economy.

Here is what we have to say at Zambian chronicle:

As a presidential candidate aspiring for a public office, or you may be a voter. This is a time to revisit your weaknesses and try to improve on them.

Listed below are some of the things future Leaders should avoid in order to maintain peace and trust in people who they lead.

1.      Negative campaigns that may bring damage to the image of  the country and future leaders.

2.      Malicious Rumors, without meaning or basis

3.      Cheap Gossip

4.      Hatred

5.      Tribal 

6.  Racial discrimination 

  By all means, the above six elements  should not be used as a tool to bring down your rival or to pick a right candidate for president. Positive campaign builds and unites nations. Negative campaigns, brings anger, violent and divisions.

As a voter, learn to validate each rumor, do not be a follower.  Learn to use your own discretion, good sense of judgement and common sense, in critical matters like choosing or picking the right candidate as your commander in Chief.  Avoid operating like robots that are programed to perform certain functions.  Operating like a robot, makes both leaders and their voters look like idiots, when things go sour.

Important factor to Remember :

Separate Hollywood gossip of celebrities to  a presidential candidate gossip. We do understand that, there is no smoke without fire , but on the other hand,  Learn to separate facts from gossip,  Every voter should know that, NOT every rumor or gossip comes out to be 100% true. You as voters only  come to realize when it is too late, after you have voted for a wrong person, because you based your judgement on rumors.  People use rumors and gossip  for many reasons. May be for financial gain, hatred or other things.

Always keep in mind that, we humans always enjoy negatives, We all focus on unproductive rumors and gossip, that diverts us from dealing with serious topics that is affecting the country.  If a negative outweighs a positive side of a candidate, it takes away all the good work he/she has done.

Remember, Media and campaigns are there to help voters to pick the best candidate, but at the same time, politicians uses that as a tool to bring down their rival candidates, depending  how strong one has links to the media.  Many great leaders are brought down in no seconds, and voters end up voting for useless candidates.

Again… use your common sense and your good judgement, when you read negatives that comes flying on potential candidates.

Good luck to all the presidential candidates, as they go on the road to lead their nations with a passion at heart for their people. Stay focused on important issues that affects your country. Do not get rapped up in personal issues, that can bring harm to your country and comes back to haunt you.

You all have one purpose:- To save your nation with integrity. The same people you are trying to persuade to vote for you, will be the same people who will vote you out. Voters always keep a record. Campaign with a passion for your people and country at heart.

For voters, validate your candidates with facts, and basing your votes on malicious rumors or unproductive  gossip , that will not do good to your country in the future, will not help.

Thanks a trillion

Belliah K Theise

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

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By Belliah K Theise

 b6_edited.jpegThis week ‘s memo is about  the next Zambian president. Who should take the Zambian presidential sit in 2011?

I hate to admit this, the truth is, our leaders are always voted by villagers, marketeers and street boys who have no clue about education and foreign policies. 

 According to our observation, most politicians have a way to get into a mind of a person with little knowledge or no knowledge at all.  This includes developed countries. If you take a close look on politics, you will find that people end up voting for a candidates who keeps preaching what voters want to hear. People will go out to vote just because of a hear say,  without assessing a candidate  in practical terms.

In most cases, political Candidates have a tendency to study what the audience want to hear. Any one can stand and say I will give you jobs, bring rich breakfast, lunch and dinner in your home. Zambian Voters will listen because there are no jobs and are in poverty. As a candidate, you are happy when people vote for you. Are you going to keep your promise once you are voted in office?

 Practically, things always turns out to be different from all the promises that politicians make.

it’s time for candidates who are aspiring, to start preaching on practical issues and not to give fake hopes to people. Talk about real things that affects the economy of every country, and explain, to voters that it is not an easy path to bring stability to the country, it takes hard work and devotion to make things happen.

Disappointments, comes out when a candidate makes fake promises, do something else after being voted into office. We ask all the aspiring candidates to be more practical in the way they make promises to people, to avoid early disappointments.

It is not fair for voters  who have no clue on “Inflation” or economics, who listens innocently and line up to vote for a candidate who later does something contrary to his/her promise.

Zambia has highly experienced ,knowledgeable, and educated people.  Why is it that Zambians ends up voting for wrong leaders?

Could it be that all the educated Zambians, are too frustrated with the system, and has opted to sit back and watch, while the poor Zambian villagers , marketeers and street boys take their stand to vote for what they hear from those who can read their minds and give them fake promises? or could it be that qualified leaders and educated Zambians are  too busy with other duties and other personal stuff, or they are not brave enough to fight for their people or  is it lack of bringing themselves out with a positive approach to their fellow Zambians?

 If you are candidate or a voter. It is time to revisit your weaknesses and try to improve on them.

Our advice is:

Avoid:  Hate, tribal, gossip, and malicious rumors. By all means, should not be used as a tool to pick a right candidate for president. Validate each rumor, use your own discretion and common sense. Avoid operating like robots that are programed to perform certain functions.  Operating like a robot, makes both leaders and their voters look like idiots, when things go sour.

Remember:

Not every rumor or gossip is true. Yes there is no smoke without fire, but you have to remember that humans always enjoy negatives that appear on a candidate without using their good sense of judgement or common sense, they vote basing on those facts. If a negative outweighs a positive side of a candidate, it takes away all the good work he/she has done.

Remember, Media and campaigns are there to help voters to pick the best candidate, but at the same time, uses that as a tool to bring down a candidate, if the opponent has strong links to the media.  Many great leaders are brought down in no seconds, and voters end up voting for useless candidates.

Again… use your common sense and your good judgement, when you read negatives that comes flying on potential candidates.

On that note, we decided to re-visit Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika’s profile, as she seem to be carrying all the package of what makes a great president.

We at Zambian Chronicle, would like to see Dr Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, contest for president in 2011. We have well rounded Zambian candidates like, HH and Many more, Inonge adds to the package.

For years, Zambians have had a problem when it comes to picking a president. It’s time to check where Zambians go wrong when it comes to voting?

Weakness:

We Vote with emotions, tribal, rumors and hate, Worse more when it comes to gender. 

In the end we get disappointed with our own voting when things go in a different direction. 

May be it is time to turn around, and look seriously inside lives and works of the aspiring candidates, without looking at a tribe, relations, cheap gossips or malicious rumors.

It is even more difficult to convince a Zambian mind, when it comes to women leadership.

When we look at Zambians, we see a lot of potential candidates men and women, that can lead us in 2011, and bring light to Zambia. 

I am not here advocating for Inonge because I am a woman.

Here at Zambian Chronicle, we are looking at the credentials, Education and experience.

Zambia needs a candidate for president, that has both local and foreign policy experience. As an African country we can not rule out education. It should be very cardinal  in this aspect.

 Therefore when it comes to choosing a president, let us open our eyes and pick quality and not quantity.

Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika and Hakainde Hichilema are both quality.

Having said that, Zambian Chronicles will continue to bring out candidates, that we think can make great president for Zambia in the future.

As we pointed out, in our earlier debates, Hakainde Hichilema and Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, have the real package.

Therefore, without looking at the tribes and gender, we feel Inonge can make a great president for Zambia for 2011. This includes, the appointees of ministers and local government officials.

This forum may help the next Zambian President to pick right candidates for certain roles.

Below is Inonge ‘s profile and credentials:

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Princess Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika (born 10 July 1943, Senanga) is a senior Zambian politician currently. For more about her check

http://www.inongelewanika.com/family.htm

   1.   Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika is currently Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia to the United States of America . Before her appointment to Washington D.C.

 2. She was Ambassador and Special Envoy to the Zambian President during his term as Chairman of the African Union.

3. Dr. Lewanika served as a Member of Parliament in the Zambian Parliament from 1991 to 2001. She was the first Chairperson of the Zambia All Party Women Parliamentarians Caucus and also founding Vice-chairperson of the outhern, Eastern and Horn of Africa African Women Parliamentarian Caucus.

  

4. At a very critical time just before national elections in 2001, Dr. Lewanika chaired the National Crisis Committee of the Alliance of Opposition Political Parties.

5.  She is a former candidate for President of the Republic of Zambia in the December 2001 Elections.

6.  She is an Educator by profession and has worked in various levels of Education.

Prior to her involvement in politics, Dr. Lewanika worked with UNICEF in key leadership roles in Africa overseeing more than twenty countries at a time. Jim Grant, the former head of UNICEF once called her “the most knowledgeable person about the children of Africa .” Dr. Lewanika was among five women from various continents to brief members of the United Nations Security Council on the first and unprecedented debate that resulted in UN Resolution 13 on WOMEN, PEACE and SECURITY in the year 2000. She was among sixteen (16) eminent African Women Members of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) Committee on Peace and Development, an Advisory Group to the African Union.

She was President of Federation of African Women’s Peace Networks (FERFAP) from 1997 to 2002. As President of the Federation of African Women Peace Networks (FEFAP) she contributed to mobilization of peace activities. In that capacity, she was selected to be among ten prominent African Women Peace Workers that visited Rwanda soon after the genocide. She later led a United Nations delegation to Burundi and Rwanda to assess the effects of the genocide on women and children and recommend intervention strategies. She led the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) Observer Mission of 96 Southern African

Academicians, Researchers and Members of Civil Society to the Zimbabwean Presidential, Mayoral and Council Elections in 2002. She was one of the International Youth Foundation’s founding board members.

Dr. Lewanika holds a Ph.D. in Early Childhood and Primary Education from New York University . She is a mother of two grown daughters, a grandmother to four boys and a grand daughter. She has lived in five countries and speaks eight languages.

——————————–

A look at more of  Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika’s work Below: 

After 30 years of promoting girls’ education in the less-developed world, aid workers are now realizing that it is not enough to simply open the school door to girls. Unemployment, clean water and HIV/AIDS are now also on their agenda.
Inonge Mbikusita-LewanikaWASHINGTON (WOMENSENEWS)–Like many aid workers and activists trying to improve the lives of women in developing countries, Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika has long viewed education as the key to solving many of her countrywomen’s problems.Mbikusita-Lewanika, a former member of Zambia’s parliament and now the country’s ambassador to the United States, says the benefits of educating girls are so numerous– from raising marrying ages and lowering birth rates to stemming health and economic problems–that she would like to install a plaque reading “Send the Girls to School” in every village.But 30 years after the U.S. government and other aid-givers began to promote gender equality in their programs, they, like Mbikusita-Lewanika, have learned that relieving the burdens of poor women is more complex than once thought. Foreign aid officials from the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and various nongovernmental organizations say that it is not enough to open the school door to girls if their families are besieged by unemployment, unclean water, labor-intensive household chores and, increasingly, debilitating health problems such as HIV/AIDS. Nor is it enough to get a few women elected to the parliament or congress while women in the countryside still suffer age-old discriminations.To succeed, say aid experts, gender-equality programs must be integrally incorporated into the aid process from top to bottom, beginning with constant attention to gender issues at the policy level and ending with a wide distribution of burden-relieving aid in the rural areas where discrimination is often most ingrained.In Africa, for instance, women perform about 75 percent of agricultural work, according to Mark Blackden, the lead economist in the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Management of Gender Equity Division. He estimates the continent’s per-capita income would have doubled over the last 30 years if women had been given more aid and education to help with crop production. But aid givers have only recently realized that “one does indeed need to talk about the African farmer and her husband,” Blackden said.Instead, because of cultural misunderstandings, they have often directed agricultural education and technology to men. As a result, Mbikusita-Lewanika said, it is not uncommon to see men sitting on tractors as women and girls continue to cultivate with a hand hoe nearby.Clearing a small plot of land in this manner can involve 18-hour days, leaving women little time to raise their children, gather fire wood, walk long distances to find potable water and, increasingly, care for the sick. With such intensive household labor needs, Mbikusita-Lewanika said girls often have little time for school.”The average woman takes care of everyone else but herself,” Mbikusita-Lewanika said at a recent Capitol Hill briefing for legislative staff.In countries where economies have been destroyed by conflict or AIDS, another factor diminishes the rationale for education: The lack of jobs when a girl graduates. As a result, Mbikusita-Lewanika said that, while education “may be the most important investment, it may not necessarily be the first investment” that donors should undertake. For instance, providing drinking water would save women in many Zambian villages 1 1/2 hours a day, she said.In 1973, the U.S. Congress passed the Percy Amendment requiring that the nation’s foreign aid help integrate women into the mainstream of developing countries’ societies. Since then, the U.S. Agency for International Development–the main administrator of U.S. development aid–and other organizations have progressed from conducting a few gender equality projects a year to considering gender issues as a part of nearly every decision. While women’s issues once were often segregated in a separate office or set of discussions, all programs are now expected to address their impact on women.”The progress can be summed up in one sentence: It is no longer a separate thing,” USAID administrator Andrew S. Natsios told a Washington foreign aid conference earlier this month.

More Work to Be Done

Still, aid officials and activists say there is much more to do. According to the World Bank, more than 20 percent of the world’s population still lives on about $1 per day. The majority are women. And women’s burdens, especially in AIDS-stricken Africa, are growing as they bear bigger social and financial burdens.

One way donors can begin to lift that burden, Mbikusita-Lewanika told legislative staff, is to bypass governments and distribute aid money to local faith-based organizations and other groups that work at the local level and already know the intricate problems the women in their community face. Many central governments have not established effective ways to distribute help in the countryside, she said.

Other officials suggest increasing funding to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. The $2 billion the Bush administration is prepared to spend in 2004 “is not enough,” said Kathryn Wolford, president of Lutheran World Relief, based in Baltimore.

Wolford also suggests an increased focus on debt relief for poor countries, which would free funds for social programs and infrastructure that could relieve women’s burdens.

Other activists say aid organizations need to collect and process more data showing the positive link between women’s participation and economic development. While many activists suggest that there is already too much talk about women’s problems and not enough action to solve them, economists say that more convincing evidence of the link between women’s progress and economic progress could be found.

At the foreign aid conference, Phil Evans, the senior social development adviser for the United Kingdom’s U.N. mission, said that statistical gender analyses are often riddled with “methodological problems,” in large part because researchers have focused on studying women instead of placing them in a societal context.

Some say the United States should signal its commitment to gender equality by ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international treaty that aims to outlaw discrimination against women and requires signatory countries to periodically report on their progress. President Carter signed the treaty in 1980 but the U.S. Senate has not ratified it as 174 nations have done.

Ratifying the treaty would send a powerful signal that the United States will join the world to “use the instruments available to us to hold countries accountable” for improving women’s lives, Geeta Rao Gupta, president of the Washington-based International Center for Research on Women, told legislative staff.

New Solutions in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, USAID is attempting to deal with these challenges and its methods are not always very subtle. To encourage families to educate their daughters, USAID gives extra rations of vegetable oil to girls who attend school every day for a month, Natsios said. The number of girls attending school has increased overall from 6 percent to 35 percent, Natsios said, and is reaching 50 percent in some towns.

Not all of USAID’s work in Afghanistan is so targeted at women and girls but Natsios said he has found that nearly every project is having an impact on women’s status. For instance, the U.S. program that is building a 300-mile road from Kandahar to Kabul is unexpectedly improving women’s health in southern Afghanistan. Now mothers in childbirth and women in other forms of medical distress can be driven to medical facilities in Kabul in a matter of five to six hours. Before the road was built, the trip could take two days, Natsios said.

In addition, USAID has installed day-care centers in all Afghan government ministry buildings. Natsios said women who work for the ministries–many now widows with young children–said they would not return to their jobs unless their children had a safe place to go.

While many activists and government officials say gender issues are no longer seen as women’s alone, they hope the next 30 years will bring a greater resolution to age-old problems.

“It has taken a very long time to get as far as we are and (we) have a very long road to go,” said Julia Taft, assistant administrator and director of the United Nation’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

Lori Nitschke is a freelance journalist living in Washington, D.C. She was recently a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University in New York, where she received master’s degrees in journalism and business administration. Previously, she covered economic issues for Congressional Quarterly.

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

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NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) — Kenya’s incumbent president Mwai Kibaki has been re-elected, beating his rival by a margin of only 230,000 votes among almost 9 million cast, the electoral commission announced Sunday.

art.kenya.sunday.afp.gi.jpg Opposition supporters march at the entrance to the Mathare slum in Nairobi on Sunday.

Kibaki narrowly defeated Raila Odinga, of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, winning 4,584,721 votes compared with 4,352,993 for Odinga, the chairman of the electoral commission, Samuel Kivuitu, said in an address broadcast by the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation.

The television station later showed footage of Kibaki being sworn-in at a ceremony at the presidential palace.

The closest fought election in the country’s history threatened to descend into chaos after supporters of Odinga earlier disrupted a press conference where the electoral commission was expected to announce the results.

Kivuitu was escorted out of the room after shouts broke out from supporters of Odinga who accused the government of election fraud. He was taken under armed guard to his private offices where he announced the result in an address later broadcast on state television.

Following the swearing-in, Kibaki insisted the elections were “free and fair” and called upon opposition parties to set aside their differences and to “let us all work together to build consensus.”

Odinga’s party earlier had accused the government of “doctoring” the results.

Amid chaotic scenes, Odinga claimed the official counts from 48 out of a total 210 constituencies were flawed, saying that around 300,000 votes were in dispute.

He also introduced an official from the commission who said he witnessed vote-rigging by staff going on at the commission’s headquarters.

The official said he had been asked to sign off returns from polling stations from Kenya’s eastern coastal region that he claimed had been deliberately altered by commission staff.

Odinga said earlier that if the president was announced winner “it will do the biggest injustice to the people of this country.”

“The consequences are too grave to consider,” he said at a press briefing.

The election has been plagued by violence as some supporters of Odinga went on the rampage angry at the delay in announcing a result.

CNN staff witnessed gangs looting and then burning several stores.

According to Associated Press reports, at least 14 people have been killed in election-related violence since Thursday’s voting in Kenya. Nine died Sunday in the Mathare shantytown, AP reported.

Protesters waving machetes were shouting “Kibaki must go!” as buses and shops burned in Mathare, AP reported.

Kibaki’s slim margin of victory is a marked difference from his win five years ago, in a landslide election. He had run on promises to fight corruption.

Since, he has seen his authority erode amid a number of high-profile corruption scandals in his government.

He faced a serious challenge from Odinga, a flamboyant politician who hails from the minority Luo tribe and has won support from rural and urban voters after promising to share the wealth among all the people.

A peaceful election and a smooth transition of power were seen as crucial for Kenya, a stable country in an otherwise-volatile region.

The international community expressed concern at the tide of rioting and looting that had accompanied the election.

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In a joint statement released Sunday, British Foreign Minister David Miliband and International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander called on the leaders of the two main parties to “act responsibly,” and called for an end to the violence.

The U.S. State Department congratulated the people of Kenya for “largely peaceful and orderly voting,” but repeated the calls for calm while the count occurred. 

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