An independent poll carried out by the International Republican Institute (IRI) on behalf of USAID Kenya in 2007, which showed Raila Odinga in a commanding lead, ignited chaos at a US Senate Hearing.
Details from a self-published statement on the Elephant website by then IRI's Resident Director for East Africa, Ken Flottman, disclosed the intrigues leading up to the controversial 2007 Kenyan General Election.
He described the exit polls, that showed Raila was set to become the next president of Kenya, like a hot potato that was at some point deemed as classified information.
"The exit poll that we conducted for USAID, which indicated a win for Odinga rather than Kibaki, was such a “hot potato” that it was held without public comment by IRI," Flottman divulged.
However, the poll results leaked and the US Senate addressed the resulting backlash during a hearing in which the results were declared 'likely invalid'.
Controversially, the same senate decreed that the exit polls were definitely 'invalid' only for them to release the very same results as 'valid' in August 2008.
The latest declaration regarding the poll results came just days before the experts from the University of California, San Diego, who had been heavily involved in the poll design and execution, were to testify about it to the Kreigler Commission.
Former United States Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, had come out and stated that the polls were invalid and were never meant to be released to the public.
He then went about on a campaign to encourage Kenyans to accept the results announced by the then Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) and formal congratulations were issued from a State Department spokesman back in the US.
"As long as the electoral process is credible, the US-Kenya partnership will continue to grow and serve mutual interests regardless of who is elected. While Kibaki has a proven track record with us, Odinga is also a friend of the US," the former ambassador disclosed in an internal memo shared by Flottman.
In a puzzling move, live broadcasting was shut down after tallying of the hotly contested 2007 votes, by order of the late John Michuki, who was serving as the minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration.
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