What you need to know:
- The bloodletting that has been witnessed during past elections has no place in our democratic nation.
- The generally peaceful campaigns this year should usher in a calm post-election period.
Yesterday marked the end of the countrywide campaigns for the August 9 General Election, during which the candidates have had ample opportunity to convince voters that they have what it takes to hold public office.
The message that must go out loud and clear is that all eligible Kenyans should now get ready to choose their leaders in peace and tranquillity.
The 48 hours before the voting day are an important period for the country to cool down from the heightened political temperatures during the campaigns across the country.
Those who will continue any form of a political campaign during this period will be violating the letter and spirit of the law.
They should, instead, allow the political tension stirred by the campaigns to ease.
Peace must prevail for next Tuesday’s voting, counting of ballots and the announcement of the results to be fairly, freely and transparently carried out.
The two major political formations, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance, and several other parties and individual candidates have had spirited competitions to win over the voters.
To their credit, there have been no ugly clashes or violence on the campaign trail.
The presidential candidates, their running mates and campaign teams have conducted themselves with some laudable level of maturity. They deserve kudos for that.
This is, indeed, a tough competition, but it is not a matter of life and death.
The losers will still have another time to try again, as elections are held every five years without fail.
They just need to go back to the drawing board and re-strategise after reflecting on and analysing what they could have done better.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the National Police Service and other security agencies must be on the alert and enforce measures to ensure that peace prevails until the new leaders are sworn into office.
To this end, the IEBC has pledged to work with the security agencies to deliver free and fair elections.
It is a mandate on which the electoral agency must deliver by quickly responding to any alerts, concerns or questions from the candidates, coalitions or parties.
The electoral officials should quickly investigate and resolve any complaints touching on the elections.
Efficient and even-handed responses to any issues that arise hold the key to navigating through this challenging period.
People run for elections hoping to win them, but not everybody can be a victor.
There will be only one winner in each of the contests from MCA, to National Assembly, the Senate, governorships and the presidency.
Losing an election can be painful and many people find it extremely difficult to concede defeat.
Even if the elections are transparently managed, there will still be complaints but the losers can be persuaded to see why they did not make it.
The IEBC and the security agencies should not tolerate any candidates or their supporters who incite violence.
The next phase of the electoral process, which is the voting and declaration of winners, is the most emotive, especially for the losers.
This is why the winners should be gracious in victory, and the losers humble enough to accept the voters’ verdict.
Those who feel aggrieved should not take the law into their own hands. They should maintain the peace and instead file petitions in court.
The bloodletting that has been witnessed during past elections has no place in the democratic nation that all should be proud of.
Never again should the country be plunged into the kind of mayhem that was witnessed following the hotly disputed 2007 presidential election.
Then, some 1,500 Kenyans, the majority of them innocent people, were slain and several hundreds of thousands of others crudely driven out of their homes and farms.
Some of them still live in camps for the internally displaced.
The generally peaceful campaigns this year should usher in a calm post-election period, where any disputes are quickly and fairly resolved.
A country that has held elections every five years since independence nearly 60 years ago does not deserve post-election violence, brutality and shame.
This year’s election is an opportunity to demonstrate that ours is now a mature democracy.