• Considering Kenya's past history of post-election violence, Kenyans have a duty to be ambassadors of peace.
• Political leaders have the biggest role in leading their respective camps to this noble goal.
Political campaigns are now at a fever pitch as Kenyans head to August 9, polls.
Elective seats from the presidency, gubernatorial, members of the bi-cameral parliament and members of county assemblies are already up for grabs.
Considering Kenya's past history of post-election violence, Kenyans have a duty to be ambassadors of peace.
The task at hand of ensuring tranquillity before and after polls is not a preserve of a few but a collective responsibility of all Kenyans.
However, political leaders have the biggest role in leading their respective camps to this noble goal.
They have no option but to tame hate speech and vulgar language in campaign rallies.
As key players in the polls, leaders should tailor their messaging towards selling their manifesto and not inciting the public to violence.
In past elections, politicians have been blamed for taking advantage of the socio-economic inequalities afflicting the youth to advance their selfish agenda through heinous acts of political violence.
It is time we stress that political contests are not a matter of life or death.
In that backdrop, leaders must be at the forefront in demonstrating tolerance, preaching peace and upholding the same.
On the flip side, citizens, especially the young, should not allow politicians to use them for self-serving political expediency.
Often, when things turn ugly, it’s always the youth and other vulnerable groups including women and children who suffer the most.
The families of our political classes rarely get affected.
It behoves the youth to maintain peace by refraining from being agents of political violence.
In any case, the youth should work closely with law enforcers and other relevant agencies to have such incidents nibbed in the bud.
In the wake of the widespread use of technology in the country and its crucial role in pushing political agendas, social media should be in check.
Many a time, social media users tend to push their political positions based on tribal lines.
This irresponsible use of social media must be abhorred.
The messages shared online should be of promoting peace and national cohesion.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, on the other hand, must up its game in ensuring the Election Act is adhered to by political players.
Having gobbled up billions of shillings for election preparedness, the electoral body ought to move with speed and get their act together.
Recent court cases, uncertainty regarding the procurement of election materials and recruitment of a substantive CEO, barely six months to August, send shivers down the spine of Kenyans.
IEBC needs to prepare for and conduct a verifiable and accountable election.
State actors including the criminal justice system and National Cohesion and Integration Commission need to be on speed dial to quell signs of violence, with utmost justice and fairness, as the country makes the grand walk to the August elections.
Lest we forget, the past political incidents should remind us that our community fabric is more fundamental than the often broken self-serving promises by politicians.
Samuel Kimeu is the Executive Director of Africa's Voices Foundation while Derick Ngaira is the Communications Assistant.