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Monday, July 24, 2017

Sham nominations spew phony leaders

Ballot boxes
Ballot boxes

Two weeks into political party primaries, none dares echo their own clarion call to the IEBC for free, fair, transparent and credible elections. The anticipated manifestations of chaotic, shambolic and violent nominations are already there; political parties either don’t know or are manipulating their own elections.

The cumulative impact of fake nominations producing phonies will be felt when they converge after August 8 on their way to Parliament, governorships and the county assemblies. Key institutions will be largely populated by conmen; the kind sitting in parliamentary committees only for kickbacks, courtesy of party nominations fraud.

The point is there is nothing near free, fair and credible nominations in the ongoing charade. As for transparency, only the ballot boxes are, everything else is faulty.

Other than the logistical nightmare that political parties aren’t able to fund, credibility is sacrificed on the altar of a great appetite to circumvent the law. Whereas party constitutions specify who should participate in primaries and how, the farce reveals blatant abrogation rather than observance of best practice.

Every political party insists only members shall participate in decision-making. In matters elections, only members shall elect their leaders using the secret ballot.

But in the ongoing primaries, it is obvious that such rules only embellish party constitutions, but are sneered at in the reality of the rough and tumble of politics. Almost all political parties have already or will rescind this notion of membership participation.

In the untidy exercise, it’s apparent that by design or cultivated ineptitude, member lists were unavailable. Those available were incomplete, including missing names of candidates.

In other instances, the standoff was on whether to use the branch, party headquarters or IEBC generated membership register, each with its own gaps. In this instance, recourse was to allow anyone with an ID or voter’s card to vote. It didn’t matter that this was in violation of the edict that only card-carrying members could vote.

The damage extends to polling stations improvising on whom to admit to vote or not. It is this cocktail of voters who compromised the very essence of a credible poll. In the confusion, no election was held in some places, thus introducing ballot stuffing.

Delays in starting the voting, scarce materials and violence compounded further violation in the sham exercise. The anomalies in the incredibly high turnout in, for example, the Busia governor race, can be attributed to this manufactured fog of deceit.

It leads to the question, will the IEBC admit candidates emerging from such an illegally convoluted process? The answer is the IEBC has no choice but to admit the riff-raff spewed by a tainted and widespread process. Were it to have the luxury of time and to strictly hold parties to account on nomination rules, it would disqualify the whole lot of alleged winners.

The flip side is the IEBC did well to tactfully refuse invitations to conduct party primaries. Had it made the mistake, it would be the target of all manner of blame, much of it deliberately instigated to soil its credibility.

This leaves aggrieved aspirants in a narrow lane in seeking redress — their journey for justice is perilous. By the time they are through the maze set in the strategically inhibitive internal dispute resolution mechanism within their parties, the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal will be waiting with its fangs dripping.

It is one thing to claim your victory was stolen, another to prove it. If the process you willingly participate in is flawed, say by allowing non-members to vote, how do you disown the same?

Of course, litigants will be hard put to prove they were not willing plotters of their own fate. Unlike the IEBC-conducted affair, there’s no paper trail in party nominations.

For instance, if the promise of a members register was abandoned and ordinary ID-holding folks allowed to vote, only the biased presiding officers have such record, which they will guard with they lives, lest they fall afoul of their party leaders.

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