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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Poor poll planning fans chaos

Poor planning
Poor planning

If we didn’t know it already, we are in trouble and fanning it further. That the IEBC is not ready for the election is not worth repeating. Kenyans acknowledge this looming misfortune but are doing nothing about it. We are hoping for divine intervention, but are not asking for it.

This festering of botched election-fanned violence will persist until the fire is lit, then the men of the cloth will become busy, as if they just flew in and were not here and part of the odyssey.

National elections for any country are such monumental exercises that they are treated as a national security imperative. You do not get the feel of urgency five months to a do-or-die election. What you get are agencies propelling the ingredients of an extremely violent election before, during and after.

If it isn’t government heavy-handedness against poor pastoralists seeking pasture and water to save their dying herds, it is the Registrar of Political Parties making a mockery of the office.

I shook hands with Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery in an airport hangar just the other day and he joyously encouraged criticism. Sir, your Samburu cousins in Laikipia county do not deserve the military label of ‘invaders’ and a military cordon imposed on them. These are desperate herders whose crime is commonsense; they cannot watch their livestock die as grass withers on ranches.

Don’t apply a scorched earth operation against them. Instead blame your Agriculture, Devolution and Water counterparts for being asleep on the job and not coming up with drought mitigation interventions in arid and semi-arid areas.

Some reserve silage and water tonnage would have done just fine to stop migration in search of pasture and water. I’ll also not touch the sensitive matter of underhand dealings on ranches whose leases have expired. It is for you to figure out if this is one cause of the Samburu uprising.

Neither will I delve into the implosion in the North Rift, for which you haven’t found a fitting label. Suffice it to say, sir, that population displacement is a crime against humanity.

Do not let your boys exacerbate the volatile situation with gung-ho macho power displays. We do not know what hell could break loose should residents resort to matching your firepower.

In both localities, however, your intervention has created instability that is not conducive for free, fair, transparent and credible elections. In conclusion, sir, you’ll do just fine to find a niche in differentiating between inter-ethnic conflict management and resolution.

Now to the mother of all gaffes. Lucy Ndung’u has confessed that her office – Registrar of Political Parties – should not even exist. Reason? Although it is the depository that shows which Kenyan belongs to which political party, it has abdicated its duty.

Technically RPP is the custodian of political party membership. If your party disowns you or another registers you without your permission, the RPP is the arbiter who certifies where you belong. The RPP is a Commissioner for Oaths of sorts.

The disconnect is political parties are preparing to beat the IEBC primaries deadline, yet the RPP cannot certify party membership. Its data is adulterated. By whom we don’t know yet, despite NASA’s concern over fraudulent ID numbers used to register multiple voters.

At the RPP, individuals hold dual party memberships or are registered in parties not of their own choice. That condemns the RPP as a conveyor belt facilitating multiple party membership registrations. It means Jubilee’s claim to seven million and ODM’s four million members are just wishful thinking.

The RPP has asked Kenyans to confirm (by letter, of all things) their party membership. How to speed this to allow for party primaries is anyone’s guess. Party membership is critical for nominations, which in turn are vital for a credible election.

While we are still grappling with the IEBC’s dirty voter’s register, enter the RPP chaos. Courtesy of the RPP, there probably won’t be credible elections on August 8. Wonder whether we’ve been set up?

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