By- elections and referendum crucial for nation's unity and cohesion

In Summary

•A repeat of the Presidential elections polarized the entire nation.

•That led to unprecedented demos

IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati.
IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati.
Image: FILE

The dates and preparations for the Matungu, Kabuchai and Machakos by-elections have been set by IEBC . This is at a time when political stakes and temperatures both for the protagonists and antagonists of constitutional amendments are flexing muscles for a showdown; amid 2022 succession. This is within a peculiar aura as the country strives to flatten the Covid-19 curve,the spread of the pandemic and the return to normalcy.

Loop-holes ,inability or rather selective application of the law has been sighted among bodies; IEBC, NCIC, ORPP, EACC, Judiciary and DCI in taming electoral and  governance malpractices vis a vis enforcing the law with fairness.

 The sad effects of the disputed 2007 general election and the  subsequent post – election crisis that resulted in social-economic setbacks; is “food for thought” both to the political class and the electorates.

 A lot of unnecessary killings, intimidations, humiliation, looting, raping and gross human right violation was witnessed, aggravating the social stability in the country. Though Kenya was able to secure a new constitution in 2010, and though the 2013 general election was by and large peaceful it was also very tense particularly due to the petition lodged by the CORD coalition against the results of the presidential elections.

The year 2016/2017 witnessed violent protests around the question of the IEBC. Divisive political utterances, ethnic profiling of communities and circulation of hatred and threatening messages should not be tolerated;taming such will be a practical precedent in respecting the rule of law and bodies or agencies mandated to oversight.  The campaigns and electioneering periods should not be the catalysts of violence and destruction of property but rather avenues of spreading patriotism and unity irrespective of the divergence in ideologies, party affiliations, tribe or religion.In the history of Africa the 2017 presidential-election was the first where the supreme court nullified the results.

A repeat of the Presidential elections polarized the entire Nation, that led to unprecedented demos, economic boycotts and sabotage; This is a litmus test as we prepare for the by-elections and the proposed BBI referendum in 2021. The perpetrators of actions and events bound to trigger disunity among Kenyans should be dealt with horizontally by the law, irrespective of their status in the society; The ordeals and narrations from victims of election violence are still deep and hurting; all they pray for is a united and cohesive nation where one can live and invest feeling secure.

The handling of Matungu, Kabuchai, Machakos ,other declared ward by-elections  and the referendum by the mandated offices, will be an indicator of what to expect and the direction the country will take ahead of the 2022 General elections.

Dennis Wendo - CEO/Founder- Integrated Development [email protected]