With political campaigns literally on the home stretch and the General elections just around the corner, it is now time to allow voters the time and space to decide at the ballot.
It has been a difficult, prolonged election year for both the voters and the candidates, coming in the middle of Covid-19 pandemic effects and a devastating economy. Everyone is tired and they can’t wait to see the election come and go.
Indeed, the critical issues of focus in the country going forward are peaceful campaigns for the remaining days, peaceful voting on August 9, speedy processing and announcement of results, and very importantly, all players accepting election results so that we go back to our daily routines.
As a young nation with a fledging economy, we cannot withstand prolonged post-election uncertainty. We tried that 15 years ago with dire consequences. It is an open secret that the socio economic development of this country is currently operating at below average as both local and foreign investors wait for how soon the next Government settles in and peace is guaranteed. At the centre of it all is the IEBC, which should be allowed to do what it must to deliver an election that is free, fair, credible and verifiable to deny any parties the chance to reject results.
We only have one IEBC at this point and the only thing we can do collectively is to build it’s capacity to be able to deliver. We must come to a point we all have sufficient trust and confidence in the referee.
That is why we have been urging all presidential candidates and any Kenyan with issues on elections preparedness to engage IEBC directly and exhaustively. Prosecuting technical issues and processes about the polls and the polls body at public rallies is sending wrong signals to the electorate and Kenyans in general. What is clear however is that this time round, no Kenyan is willing to lay down their lives for any politician and trade peace for violence and use of other unorthodox means to protest.
Hate speech and fake news
Because for the less than 2,000 leaders who will be elected on 9th August, we have more than 50 million ordinary Kenyans who need a conducive environment to wake up on 10th August, go to work and pay taxes so that the leaders can get their salaries and resources to run the country. To avoid close poll results that may lead to run offs or court cases, it is prudent to have a clear presidential win the first round. The campaign teams should currently therefore be focusing on the relatively huge number of undecided voters and overall voter turnout on the material day.
Meanwhile, as a people and through the relevant agencies, we should guard against spreading of hate and fake news through public forums and the thousands of social media platforms were flagged down by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission in its recent report as most likely to cause post-election violence in Kenya. The best way to manage conflicts is to prevent them. A clean and credible election in Kenya is possible. Let peace win.