Last December, Ghanaian opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo convincingly beat incumbent president John Mahama with 53.9% of the roughly 11 million votes cast in Ghana’s presidential elections. The incumbent only managed to garner 44.4% of the total votes cast. In Africa, it is almost unheard of for incumbent presidents to lose elections. This explains why it is very rare to come across a retired African president who has only served one term. In fact, most of them seek to change their countries’ constitutions in order to get rid of the presidential term limit, if any, so that they can rule for life Mugabe-style.
One of the most recent cases where the presidential term limit was successfully changed through a referendum is in our next-door neighbor Rwanda. President Paul Kagame, who was recently re-elected by a landslide, was actually serving his last term before Rwanda’s laws on presidential term limit were changed through a referendum. Therefore, you can imagine why Mr. Mahama must have been a bitter man after joining the very short list of one-term African presidents since the end of the colonial era in our continent. African leaders are famous for doing anything humanly possible in order to cling to power.
After winning the presidency, among the first people to congratulate Nana Akufo-Addo was an elated Raila Odinga who is his close ally. Raila was officially invited to the new president’s swearing in ceremony which took place in Ghana’s capital -Accra – in January 2017, and he gleefully graced the occasion in the company of his party deputy leader Ali Hassan Joho.
During his presidential campaigns in the run-up to our 8/8 elections, Raila severally used the Ghanaian example where his ally beat Mr Mahama, to remind his supporters that it is possible to unseat an incumbent African president. Apparently, President Uhuru Kenyatta was faced with a similar situation like the one President John Mahama found himself in last year.
The former Ghanaian president lost the election largely due to a poorly performing economy. Similarly, Kenyans were faced with severe economic hardships in the run-up to the just concluded August 8th elections to an extent that basic commodities such as maize flour disappeared off the shop shelves. There is no doubt that this made the Jubilee regime very unpopular with the masses.
The Jubilee administration has also been marred by numerous unresolved corruption scandals over the last four or so years. There is no doubt that President Uhuru Kenyatta stared certain defeat in the face, in the just concluded August 8th elections. He definitely risked making history by joining the short list of one-term African presidents. None understands the pain of being made a one-term president better than one Mr John Mahama, having experienced it firsthand a few months ago.
Is it any surprise then that the Commonwealth Observer Mission, led by none other than former Ghanaian president John Mahama, was the first one to give the just concluded sham elections in Kenya a clean bill of health? Did Mr Mahama have vested interest or scores to settle in the just concluded Kenyan elections? These are genuine questions that beg for answers in many Kenyans’ minds. Why would his Commonwealth observer group be so quick to proclaim to the entire world that the elections were free and fair when most of us know that all was not well?
As for the EU election observer mission and the John Kerry led election observer group from the Carter Foundation, there is nothing much to talk about since these were simply tourists who hardly had any clue about the Kenyan electoral process. To them, elections ended after Kenyans queued and voted peacefully! They must have happily taken a flight to the breath-taking Maasai Mara National Game Reserve, after the voting process ended on 8/8, from where they comfortably wrote a long report on how free and peaceful the voting process was. One thing they need to know though is; they were a complete letdown to the Kenyan people. They are going to be very ashamed once the truth of what happened in the just concluded elections comes out.
Gilbert Kenya is a graduate of Political Science and Communications (Double Major) from The University of Nairobi. He is a passionate website content developer, SEO writer, copywriter, and copy editor.
An avid reader and prolific writer, on various topical issues, Gilbert is convinced that writing is his raison d'etre. We are all here for a reason, aren't we?
The scribe also considers himself a global citizen, who strongly believes in human justice and dignity for all.
A certified aficionado of both local and global politics, alongside diverse literary genres, this writer believes that there is always enough to go around for all of us - but only if we become deliberate about it.
As the good old book of wisdom - the Bible - quips; what will it profit you to gain the entire world, but lose your soul in the process?
All the things we do, good or bad, have a strange way of going around and finding their way back to us.
Kenya's favourite maxim is: "LIVE AND LET LIVE." While at it, LAUGH and LOVE, even more, you are not here forever!
When not immersed in writing, Gilbert enjoys spending time in the company of his lovely wife, Betty, and their two beautiful children, Ray and Ivy, in the great "City in the Sun" - Nairobi, Kenya.
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