- This piece analyses a few of glitches and lessons from the said elections.
The just ended general elections in Kenya left many pivotal lessons for democracy in Kenya and Africa in general.
This piece analyses a few of glitches and lessons from the said elections.
No doubt about this. Kenyans, though not all, voted along tribe cocoons. This means; issues were negated. You can see this on how the ballots were cast and the way the results indicated.
The incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) did well in Central and the Rift Valley areas while the challenger, Raila Odinga did well in Nyanza, West and Coast where their co-principals hail from respectively. As if it is not enough, it seems that Kenyans are going to be under tribal regime for yet a long time to come.
The deputy president Ruto says openly that he is going to take over from Kenyatta after his second term lapses. This means. Kenya is seen as country to be ruled by two tribes namely Kalenjins and Kikuyus if this anomaly isn’t nipped in the bud timely and quickly.
The opposition and some civil organisations promised they would tally, tabulate and announce their results alongside the IEBC. Interestingly albeit, none of them lived up to their words! Why? Maybe, just maybe; they didn’t have the facilities in place to do so. Otherwise, the world, especially Kenyans would like to know why this bottleneck despite being sanctioned by the laws. Why did they fail to live up to their words while they openly promised Kenyans they would do so? We all know that the opposition and some civic organisation adapted parallel tallying from Ghana that saw the opposition unseating the incumbent. Essentially, Kenya failed where Ghana succeeded.
Although this can be seen as patronising Africans, the truth of the matter is; African countries are still doing things differently from other countries when it comes to democracy, justice, and transparency. You can vividly see this in the elections in point. For example, there was no way one would expect computers to be hacked or tampered with as the opposition alleged had Kenya been willingly ready to use this advanced and expensive technology to do away with rigging. The signs that things would go wrong surfaced when the head of ICT at the IEBC Chris Chege Msando was butchered a few days before the balloting day.
Demonstrably, this was supposed to act as an eye opener-cum-wake up call, chiefly for the opposition. Ironically, even when the UK and the US offered to investigate this mysterious death, Kenyan authorities kept mum. Why?
For clean and accountable people, especially the opposition, this was a hunch they would have gripped to see to it that the government charged with the security of its citizens and electoral official investigate and come up with convincing narrative about such a criminal death. Sadly, this didn’t happen. Again, the opposition didn’t see things the same way they were supposed to.
Apart from hanky-panky, there was an unnecessary delay. For, it becomes difficult to understand how the elections set to be computerised to take such a long time to announce the results. This means that the computers the IEBC promised to use were but white elephants. And such a long time delay offered the opposition the ammos to attack the IEBC and deem the exercise spurious and unfair. The major question one may ask is: Why spending billions of shillings on something that could not effectively be used?
Politicians vs citizenry
As noted above, Kenyans voted en mass and peacefully to end up waiting for Godot simply because the IEBC could not declare the winner timely as expected and promised. Kenyans, once again, were treated to a shocking long waiting for no reasonable reasons if I may say so.
It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever for the entire nation to be on alert simply because two dynasties were flexing muscles against each other. Again, can we blame the two Kenyatta and Odinga dynasties while Kenyans intentionally or otherwise entertained them? This is easy to pin down.
Even where discordances against the results occurred, it is citizens whom were reported to have been killed but not politicians.
Kenyan politicians spent billions of schillings without showing how they got them. Choppers were at display virtually at every rally. Ironically, despite such an open secret that extravagance was the order of the day, up until now, no Kenyans are seeking explanations from their political leaders.
Neither the media nor civic societies seem to want to know how these billions were donate, solicited or made. Why? It is simple. Our leaders reflect who we actually are. The society of corrupt citizens produces corrupt leaders. Don’t expect a hyena to sire a lamb.
Despite all tribulations noted herein above, Kenyans voted peacefully. If politicians had been as sane and patriotic as the citizens they sought to lead were, maybe, the quagmire and controversies evidenced in Kenya’s elections would not have happened.
In a nutshell, for Africa to have credible, free and fair elections, many changes are needed. Instead of depending on strong men or personalities as it is in the case in Kenya vis-à-vis the said dynasties, and others in the region, Africa needs to build reliable and strong institutions that are accountable and capable to pull it out from embryonic practices as evidenced in Kenya’s elections.
Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada