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January 20, 2019

Support by Jubilee not enough to save IEBC from disbandment

For any society, leadership is paramount. If in a society leadership goes wrong, everything else must also go wrong. Society must conceive good leadership, its foetus must last gestation period and its birth must be assisted by safe midwifery.

While evil midwifery can strangle baby leadership at birth, good midwifery can ensure that good leadership is safely born. In Kenya, IEBC is the midwife that will either assist or sabotage safe delivery of good leadership.

Whenever the Kenyan society is pregnant, it will carry twin babies, one of good and the other of bad leadership. At birth the midwife can then help the society to deliver or smother good leadership. If the midwife smothers good leadership, she will assist society to bear bad leadership.

Today, the question for Kenya is: has IEBC or Kenya’s midwife helped her to strangle or deliver good leadership at birth? On whether IEBC has been helping or sabotaging the birth of good leadership, the country is split right down the middle. Some people feel IEBC has been assisting Kenya to bear bad leadership while others are convinced it has been helping Kenya to deliver good leaders.

As a result of this argument, many Kenyans – led by the Cord coalition – feel IEBC has been a biased midwife championing the death of good leadership and assisting the birth of bad leadership at elections and should therefore be sacked and disbanded. Can we then say IEBC is a good or bad midwife and should it be disbanded or not?

IEBC should be disbanded, not because it has been accused in court and found guilty of any crime for which it should be disbanded but because its integrity and probity have been doubted, its trustworthiness has been eroded and cannot now be trusted to help deliver good or bad leadership without bias.

To have a society of truth and justice, we must have certain categories of public servants above suspicion or it will be difficult to rely fully on their services.

Top on the list of public servants that must be above suspicion are the doctors and midwives. How can anyone go to a doctor that one does not trust?

Another category of public servants that must be above suspicion are judges. Nobody can expect justice from a judge that one believes to be biased. Hence, when one cannot trust a judge, one is allowed to ask for their self-removal or there will be no justice. No judge should insist on trying somebody who does not trust him.

Wives and husbands are also expected to be above suspicion or their marriage will break. While Shakespeare spoke of Caesar’s wife being above suspicion, all partners in marriage should be above suspicion.

Good leaders should also be above suspicion or people should no longer trust them. Only dictators insist on ruling, when people no longer trust them.

Given the critical and most important role of assisting society to have good leaders , an election body like IEBC must be above suspicion. Even when losers are not expected to celebrate their defeat, they and winners should be able to say elections were free and fair or people will disregard election results, not see their purpose and elections may no longer facilitate change, peace and stability.

When Caesar’s wife was suspected, trust in her was lost. Thereafter she was investigated and found innocent. Notwithstanding, because trust in her had been lost, she was divorced.

Like Caesar’s wife, when IEBC is accused of infidelity or lack of integrity, it will be investigated and disbanded if found guilty. Like Caesar’s wife however, even if IEBC is found innocent, it should still be disbanded because a sizeable number of people have already lost trust and faith in it, making it impossible for all people to have faith in the results of its work. To be disbanded, IEBC does not need to be found guilty. As in the case of a judge, it should be disbanded even if it is only 50 per cent or 20 per cent that has lost faith and trust in its impartiality.

IEBC is not like a bank or an insurance company. The repercussions of its mistakes are dire to the whole nation and its future. If it bungles elections and lands wrong people into leadership, bad leadership will spell doom for the whole country for a long time, especially if that election is upheld by the courts. Because of the likely consequences of its work, IEBC should never ask to be treated like any other institution. Because of the dire consequences of its mistakes, they must be judged more harshly than others.

Even winners who have been helped to win an election by electoral corruption, they should be wary of an IEBC that is not able to do its job flawlessly. While winners may be the beneficiaries of its corruption or mistakes this time, they could be the victims of electoral graft next time.

Already a sizeable number of Kenyans have taken a petition to Parliament challenging further existence of IEBC. Some of its members are also already in court for corruption. On account of this, lots of people have lost faith and trust in IEBC and now want it disbanded and another one put in its place early enough to guarantee that it handles next elections better than the last one. Support by Jubilee government alone should not suffice to save IEBC from disbandment.

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