Time To Shift Focus On Planning A Credible, Free And Fair Election


Since midday March 19, Kenya has been engulfed in a heated debate on whether the March 4, 2013 election date announced by the IEBC is proper or not. What is clear is that IEBC acted within the law as guided by the Constitutional court which should take responsibility for giving an ambiguous ruling on the election date.

Despite this, the politics behind the debate should be shunned by all Kenyans of goodwill (including the media) and the country should now focus on whether the IEBC can hold a credible, free and fair election on March 4, 2013 or any other date.

What must be clear to all Kenyans is that Kenya cannot hold an election today even if we asked the gods for a miracle. There is too much work to be done and which will take time to be done properly. As the country continues to push IEBC for an early election date, Kenyans must ask themselves who will be responsible for a sham of an election if the electoral commission is not given ample time and resources to plan the poll.

Any sober Kenyan should heed the words of IEBC chairman Issack Hassan made on Saturday that; “As we know, successful and credible elections are deliberate designs of painstaking planning, logistics and collaboration of all key players and stakeholders. We appreciate and understand that there are Kenyans who may have preferred an
earlier election date, but we call upon all Kenyans to be understanding and support
the Commission in delivering a peaceful, free, fair and credible election.”

The IEBC gave a timeline that is derived from legal requirements that have to be met before the elections are held and key among this is that it cannot hold an election without a voters’ register which is tied to the new boundaries as registration cannot commence. There is also the issue of political parties compliance with the Political Parties Act and the Elections Act which must happen at least seven and a half months before the day of the elections.

There are other issues that must be done by IEBC such as procurement of election materials and recruitment of personnel, mapping the new electoral units, voter education on the new electoral units, fresh voter registration based on the new boundaries (keeping in mind that millions do not have ID cards) and inspection of the voters’ register.

From experience, Kenyan politicians are not likely to agree on when the date will be and Kenyans must change focus for an election acceptable to all whether this year or next year.

Kenyans should now focus on helping the IEBC put in place a tamper-proof election system unless we want Kriegler’s words that “the bloody events of January 2008 could look like a Christmas party come 2012″ if we fail to have a proper election structure in place , to come true.

Elections in Kenya have always been a high-stakes affair as seen in 2007 and is also likely to happen in the next election. The upcoming election is not only a transitional election following the promulgation of a new Constitution in Kenya but also key in ensuring that the country gets a government led by a president who is seen as the clear winner of the election.

The country will also hold one of the most complex elections in its history and without proper voter education, the poll is likely to be declared a sham. For instance, a large number of Kenyans do not know that their voter’s card is invalid and will not be used for the next election due to changes in boundaries.

With this in mind, the emphasis on a credible, free and fair election is critical and Kenya has no option but ensure that this happens. Politicians will never give Kenyans a proper election structure due to the partisan interests that they harbor and it is therefore the duty of all patriotic Kenyans to ignore their noise and focus on the actual election.

From experience, Kenyan politicians are not likely to agree on when the date will be and Kenyans must change focus for an election acceptable to all whether this year or next year.

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2 thoughts on “Time To Shift Focus On Planning A Credible, Free And Fair Election

  1. IEBC has a very tough job in preparing for the next elections. Already, 24th March, there will be mock polls in Malindi and Kajiado…… I’m not sure when it was decided to be these two constituencies only because last time I had checked, it was to be in 9 constituencies!

    Either way, looking forward to how that will pan out!!

    Lets handle this one step at a time…….recall there is also the pending case at the court of a appeal on the elections date and the rumours that IEBC has a second alternative Dec-17 date for polls….!!

    Curious!!

  2. I don’t think the IEBC chairman Issack Hassan has balls to stand up to the powers that be. I have a bad feeling about the coming elections. There is so much at stake, almost twice the 2007 elections, and as you know we haven’t learnt anything.

    I’d like to be optimistic, but gut feeling says otherwise.

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