The just concluded 2017 elections might turn out to be the biggest defining moment in the country’s history and future politics. As much as we are all ready to march forward and live our lives as we have always done, so much remains unresolved about the authenticity and the legitimacy of the 8/8/2017 elections outcome. Just like millions of other like-minded citizens, I feel cheated because I believe something went terribly wrong with the presidential election results at the National Tallying Center in Bomas of Kenya.
In a hotly contested election, which pundits said was too close to call, IEBC still owes us a plausible explanation as to why Uhuru Kenyatta took an early lead and maintained a constant gap of 10-11% over his main rival, Raila Odinga, throughout the entire tallying process. Remember this was an exercise where results were supposedly streaming in randomly!
Kenyans are also eagerly waiting to hear the reason why IEBC was so eager to announce the presidential results to an extent that Chairman Chebukati almost declared unsigned results. It was obviously wrong for Chebukati and team to declare a winner before addressing the serious issues raised by NASA, let alone even wait for all the requisite forms 34 A and B to arrive at Bomas as required by the law! What was the rush all about?
For any society that believes in a democratic, fair, and just society, such glaring anomalies cannot go unchallenged. Now that a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court, everything must be laid bare for the whole world to know what exactly transpired after the 8/8 polls. In my opinion, the truth of what transpired is more important than who becomes Kenya’s next president. This is because it will determine how the communities living in the geographical territory called Kenya will engage each other, going forward.
The NASA Petition in the Supreme Court must help to unravel the truth of what exactly transpired during and after the August, 8th polls, which most opposition supporters believe was a total sham. A cursory look at the teams of lawyers assembled by both the petitioners (NASA) and respondents (IEBC & Uhuru Kenyatta) will confirm that this particular case promises to be the mother of all presidential petitions in the country. Both sides are not leaving anything to chance as they have assembled what we can call the crème de la crème of Kenyan legal minds in their respective camps.
It is now incumbent on the NASA lawyers to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the wrong person was declared president by IEBC. I hope they are armed with enough evidence to prove their case since it is obvious, even to any common layman, that a lot of monkey business went on before the declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as the outright presidential winner. Whether the Supreme Court might restore our faith in the seemingly “Dependent” (pun intended) institutions awaits to be seen.
It would be a very sad thing for Kenya if it turns out that institutions which are, by and large, supposed to be independent prove to be mere marionettes and flower girls of powerful individuals in the country. That will be symptomatic of the beginning of the making of a banana republic, where justice and fairness will be rudely thrown out through the window.
We have been told that we must now move on to other matters of nation-building. But, which nation are we building if communities cannot live in genuine peace? Which nation, if the voice of the people can be contemptuously subverted and disregarded? One would ask.
A country only qualifies to be called a ‘nation’ when its communities live cohesively in true peace and harmony. This cannot be achieved if elections don’t matter anymore and the voice of the people is suppressed by a few powerful individuals, who will lord it over the masses whether they like it or not!
This cannot be achieved where police shoot unarmed folks who have done nothing other than picketing, which is a cardinal right enshrined in our Constitution.
This can’t happen when people from one community taunt those from another community online and seem to be celebrating fraud because it appears to favour “their own” leadership’s aspirations.
A properly cohesive nation can only be achieved if we manage to build a free, fair and just society where every community not only feels accepted and respected but is assured of equal chances in holding any public offices. I am and will always be a staunch supporter of Raila Odinga because I believe that he has spent a better part of his adult life fighting for the tenets which make a free, fair, and just society possible. That is why, whether he remains in politics or bows out at some point, most of us will loudly continue advocating for what he has always stood for.
As it were, the ultimate cure for Kenya is having true reforms in institutions which are supposed to be independent. With properly working independent institutions, we can be sure of a free, fair, and just society; a society where elected leaders will represent the true will of the people. However, my biggest worry is the fact that the Jubilee side is poised to have a huge majority in both houses of parliament, even though it should not be lost on us that if the presidential results were fraudulent, then all the other lower political seats were grossly manipulated too.
In the past, Jubilee legislators have shown that they never think for themselves, especially when ordered by Uhuruto to pass any piece of legislation in Parliament. If this doesn’t change, our Constitution risks getting mutilated beyond recognition before 2022. We can only pray that those who have been elected, this time round, will not become as robotic as the Duale and Kindiki teams in the last parliament and that the courts will become true custodians of our supreme laws.
Going forward, we must all appreciate one fact. If we celebrate a culture where winning elections is all about who can rig best or use the most lethal force to have their way, then the incumbent or any candidate supported by the incumbent will always carry the day. This is because the government always controls immense state machinery and retains the monopoly of organized violence. We must all purpose to put a stop to this culture at all costs if at all we have any love for this country.
“Kama tuliwashinda tukiwa msituni wakati ule, sembuse wakati huu tuko ndani ya serikali?”
Does the above statement ring a bell?
THE SECESSION TALKS
With the blatant election frauds in the past three elections and the continued treatment of people from some Kenyan communities as third rate citizens, we must stop pretending that the current talk of secession comes as a surprise. It is a plain fact that for the last 54 years, Kenya has been firmly controlled by the Kikuyu/Kalenjin hegemony. Out of the four presidents the country has had since independence, three have come from the Agikuyu community (the largest ethnic block in the country) while one has come from the Kalenjin community (The second largest). Apparently, the trend is not about to stop anytime soon. This is abnormal in a country of 42 plus communities.
The just concluded polls have shown that the leaders from the two largest communities in the country are not only ready to use their communities’ numerical strength to retain the country’s top leadership for ages, but they are also prepared to employ the state powers and machinery, which they happen to have a firm control over, to manipulate elections in their favor.
Why are we then acting surprised that the other Kenyan communities outside the privileged big two (Agikuyu/Kalenjin axis) are eventually toying with the idea of secession? The time to candidly talk about these things is now because, as some pundits would quip, the moment we stop talking is the moment we start fighting. The Kenyan scenario is akin to an abusive marriage where the couple must either agree to amicably accommodate each other or divorce.
I completely disagree with those who are saying that talking about secession is the same as beating war drums. Keeping mum about all the sticky tribal issues affecting our society today doesn’t make them disappear. Our nascent democracy and the quest to build a nation called Kenya is ostensibly an experiment that has terribly failed. We cannot simply wish some thorny issues away and hope that they will not violently explode on our faces sometime in future. As our good doctors always tell us, “prevention is better than cure.”
Lest we forget, it doesn’t matter how long it takes but the will of the people must always prevail.