Ensure peaceful polls

Ensure peaceful polls

By David Kigochi

On August 9, Kenyans will participate in a historic General Election that will mark the country’s third democratic presidential transition.

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta will be retiring after serving the constitutionally stipulated two terms.  Kenya’s first democratic transition was in 2002 when retiring President Daniel arap Moi handed the instruments of power to the National Rainbow Coalition’s flag bearer, Mwai Kibaki following Kanu’s Uhuru’s defeat in the presidential race.

The second democratic transition was in the 2013 General Election when President Mwai Kibaki handed the instruments of power to the newly elected President, Uhuru.

In 1978, there was power transition when founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta passed on and the instruments of power were handed to the then Vice-President, Daniel arap Moi.

Indeed, Kenya’s stability can only be credited to the peaceful power transition and the resilience of her people.

We have demonstrated to the world that we are a mature democracy where the winner in the presidential race bags the ultimate prize - the Presidency - while the loser comes to terms with his loss, at times grudgingly.

But as Farmers Party, we talk for the silent majority by stating the third democratic transition appears uncertain going by the political developments.  

More worrying is that the Wafula Chebukati-led Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) appears unprepared to handle the polls, particularly the presidential race.

The IEBC commissioners, on the face value, appear to be pulling in different directions at a time they are supposed to work as a team.

Claims of corruption in tendering are also flying all over painting the commission in negative light.

It is shocking that ballot papers are being printed and shipped into the country without the knowledge of some commissioners, police, political actors and the general public.

The arrest of foreigners with IEBC materials is also a pointer that the electoral body is either careless in carrying out its duties or compromised by political actors out to sway the elections in their favour.

The war of words between Chebukati and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti is also muddying an already bad situation.

Also, more worrying are the Executive’s pronouncements that power will not be handed to a candidate suspected to be a thief.

As Farmers party, we respectfully appeal to the Executive to campaign for the candidate of their choice but refrain from acts that show bias towards any candidate.

We submit the President should be bold enough to state he remains the country’s symbol of national unity and will pass the leadership baton to the presidential race winner, regardless of whether he is a thief or saint so long as Kenyans have elected him.

Indeed, the president’s remarks have seen Deputy President William Ruto, the United Democratic Alliance presidential candidate raise concerns over the transition committee responsible for organising the swearing-in of the President-elect declared by the IEBC.

As per the law, the committee is chaired by the Secretary to the Cabinet - a position that has been held by the Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua.

The committee’s top officials are drawn from the Cabinet and security organs such as the National Police Service (NPS), Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

Ruto is reading mischief, boldly stating he will be robbed victory by the Deep State which will be a sure recipe for chaos.

We take heart that Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang'i has allayed fears over the handover of power stating Ruto or whoever wins will be given the ultimate prize.

As Farmers party, we state that the exchange of words between the President and his deputy is not healthy.

We submit that whereas Ruto has the democratic right to tear into Raila Odinga’s candidature, and even poke holes on his boss’s support for him, he should refrain from making utterances that demean the Presidency.

The Deputy President is well aware that the President remains the symbol of national unity up to the day he will pass the leadership baton to the winner in the presidential race.

Assertions by the Deputy President that he would have slapped the President for threatening to leave the throne after the Supreme Court annulled the 2017 presidential race portrays him as anti-democratic and one who cannot accept defeat in a poll.

As we head to the polls, it is incumbent upon Ruto and Raila to weigh their public utterances to avert sparking chaos.

The writer is the Farmers Party leader


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