Elections always tend to bring out the worst in Kenyans. Violence, voter bribery, toxic campaigns and other negative tactics come into play. This is quite disappointing, considering that regular elections are an entrenched tradition in this country.
An election should be an opportunity for the candidates to sell their manifestos and convince the voters to support them. For their part, the voters must be allowed to freely exercise their constitutional right to elect leaders of their choice.
It is hardly surprising that allegations of voter bribery and intimidation were reported in the recent Kiambaa parliamentary by-election. This has been a high-stakes vote, whose ramifications are still being felt on the ground and beyond. They include the burning of political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi’s house in Runda in the wee hours before polling began last Thursday.
This is of interest because Prof Ngunyi had dedicated his online TV programme to discussing the by-election.
During the show, his co-presenters made unflattering comments about one of the rival camps in the election. That has sparked rumours that the fire might have been a politically motivated plot to hit at the analyst for allegedly using his show to decampaign them.
It is for this reason that we urge the police to speed up investigations into the incident. The police have promised that they will seek to establish whether it was a case of arson or the fire was caused by other factors. It’s important that their findings are made public to clear the air on the matter.
Fortunately, nobody was injured in the incident, although there was massive destruction of the house and property.
As the country gears up for the next general elections, a year from today, the authorities must enhance security.
The electoral commission deserves praise for firmly managing the by-election.