The Nation (Kenya) this week: Pontificating (from “pontiff,” from L. pontifex maximus, “supreme bridge-builder.”
The Press Association: Miliband in Kenya power share call: Here is where the problem of dueling polls and exit polls starts to rear its ugly head.
- Kenya: “Slate Says IRI Is Sitting on Exit Poll”
- Kenya: “Of Perception Surveys and the Statistics Act”
- Reuters: “Foreign observers praise Kenyan election”
- Kenya: “Recounting the Votes Would Undermine Democratic Institutions”
In characterizing the current , the British foreign secretary apparently prefers to stress the notion that the vote was polarized — “sharply divided,” “a technical tie,” “too close to call.”
As a Brazilian observer noted in last year’s election here:
If the polls start to converge on this kind of “technical tie” between [incumbent] and [challenger], we are in a risky situation. In the situation of a technical tie, the possibilities of electoral fraud are enormous. I would say that the temptation of electronic fraud would be impossible to resist.
The 21st century is just a few years old, and it is already shaping up as The Century of Technical-Tie Democracy.
These statististical freaks seem to occur with freakish frequency.
In this case, mind you, there were some reports to the contrary, and the results of the parliamentary vote would tend to indicate a serious spanking for the pro-government benches. See
The U.S. diplomat entrusted with the benevolent reengineering Africans’ political landscape on behalf of Africans — a Kennedy School (Harvard) academic with Pentagon affinities — is apparently winging her way to Nairobi to sell this package as well.
In his statement, Mr Miliband said: “Serious questions about the conduct of the count stand in the way of the formation of a stable Kenyan government that commands the confidence of the Kenyan people and is able to unite the country.
If it has not actually worked, it ought to be made to at least look like it worked:
“It is vital that the democratic process works and is seen to work. The message to Kenya’s political leaders is therefore clear: the basis for the country to move forward is political compromise which recognises the divided nature of the electoral vote and establishes a basis for politicians of different parties to work together in a way that reflects the will of the Kenyan people.
Was the taxpayer-funded gazillion-jigawatt megaphone fair® and balanced®? “Balance and access” in KBC election coveage. From left to right: Other, ODM-K, ODM (Odinga), PNU (Kibaki). Source: EU EOM Kenya 2007.
Is the Anglo-American special relationship angling for the “Nigerian solution” that The Nation was calling for yesterday? See
“The sharing of political power is the way to build bridges across serious divides.”
It is a bad sign when politicians start using fuzzy math to characterize a question that is designed to be settled by accurate beancounting — and can only be credibly settled by accurate beancounting.
How can you characterize the outcome of a beancounting procedure in any way while at the same time maintaining that the beans were not properly counted?
Further under the heading of “diplomatic communications, double-bind theory and ambiguous quacking in.”
Because Anglo-American diplomats are starting to look like they do not like the way the beans are stacking up, and prefer to try to find a way to let the coup stand — focusing their efforts on a campaign to make it look like it is not a coup.
But that is what the Economist is calling it, at least:
The problem is that the rest of the world, looking at Anglo-American diplomacy of this kind — perception management trumps accurate counting of the beans — are immediately going to ask the natural question:
Just how African was this coup, anyway?
Maybe the chassis was manufactured in Nairobi, but where did the CPU get made?
I will bet you a beer: That is what a lot of people around the world will wonder.
And the Karen Hughes-managed Brand America swirls faster and faster in the maelstrom of the toilet bowl, while Gordon Brown inherits Tony Blair’s reputation as Washington’s toy poodle.