The first US President after independence was elected in 1789. At the time, only White men who owned property could vote. But the 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments to the Constitution have since expanded the right of suffrage to all citizens over the age of 18. Presidential elections take place every four years, and the campaigns and the polls have evolved into a series of fiercely fought, and sometimes controversial, contests.
However, in none of these elections has there been violence associated with the outcome, not even in 2000, when many believed George W Bush rigged out Al Gore, mad as heck as was many a voter across the nation when the US Supreme Court granted Bush the victory.
That’s what you call a mature democracy: Flawed as it may be in all other respects, including presently having produced a president many, both within the country and across the globe, continue to scratch their heads wondering why.
It’s a mature democracy nonetheless and so are others, where the will of the people as expressed by the majority is respected and held sacrosanct.
To be sure, the only one time peaceful transfer of power in the United States was threatened was late last year, when then presidential Republican candidate Donald Trump saw signs of impending loss and upped his ante in attacking the courts, and started blatantly lying that the only reason he would lose was because the elections were rigged against him, which was false and a made-up lie as one can be.
The reason he did this — as many rightly concluded — was because he was prepared to reject the loss and refuse to concede to his opponent Hillary Clinton, likely causing an outbreak of violence across the nation from among his mob of followers, many who were and are still armed to the teeth.
The country was spared the violence because Trump won in the unlikeliest of circumstances, and the country and the world is now suffering his presidency, short-lived as it might be.
Unfortunately, our beloved Kenya does not have a long history of peaceful transfer of power. Rather, what we have are presidents who cling to power until death does them apart as was the case for Jomo Kenyatta, or term limits as was the case for Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki.
President Uhuru Kenyatta now faces an angry and impoverished electorate that wants him out like yesterday but every indication is this man, like his father, Moi and Kibaki, is not interested in giving up power till death or term limits do him apart.
Every indication this far is that he is prepared to mobilise the state machine to rig himself back into office and, worse, unleash state forces to crush any attempt to protest his evil doing and if that means plunging the country into a civil war we avoided in 2008, so be it. This is according to what we can clearly read from his actions.
This is a looming tragedy that can only be avoided by the happenstance of three things:
First is for NASA leadership to remain strong, unwavering and committed to liberating the country from the bonds of corruption, impunity and economic suffocation.
Second, massive turnout of voters aligned to NASA to send a strong message to Uhuru that his time is up and, more importantly, let him and his henchmen not even think about rigging this election.
Third, the Supreme Court will be our last chance and only hope of preventing the country from plunging into a civil war were Uhuru and his henchmen to be reckless enough to try and force themselves back to power upon rejection at the polls.
In other words, the will of the people as expressed by the majority of those who will vote on August 8 must be respected and held sacrosanct, the absence of which shall be an outcome those ignoring or suppressing it will surely regret.