It is encouraging to note the efforts being made by the Government, political and religious leaders in search of peaceful General Election.
However, there is need to understand the root causes of election violence to avoid the same in the future.
National peace reconciliation conferences may be strategic and timely, but they may turn cosmetic, unless credible efforts are made to resolve underlying problems. There must be a change of attitude by all Kenyans towards the causes of election violence and their sustainable resolutions.
Ethnicity must be eliminated, unemployment among the youth ameliorated, ravages of poverty given due attention and hostilities that emanate from land ownership considered fairly.
The elections must be conducted in a credible, free and fair manner. Persons who engage in violence should be prosecuted. It is important to appreciate the importance and relevance of media and religious leaders in identification of the existence and extent of these underlying issues and providing guidance for their elimination.
That will call for the media to be factual, fair and objective and for the religious leaders to send the right message to the populace, and genuinely lead them in divine manner.
The electoral management team, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should be independent and impartial.
The integrity of the commissioners and officials they entrust with the conduct of the elections must be beyond reproach.
The commission must possess the appropriate competence and capability. These qualities and achievements will call for hard work, perseverance and highest sense of responsibility by the IEBC and its appointees. Therefore they should genuinely discharge their functions always bearing in mind that there is a supreme duty to all Kenyans.
The State must exhibit respect and support for the IEBC, especially in matters of funding; it should sufficiently cater for essential equipments, transport and services to allow for smooth running of affairs.
It is also for the State to provide sufficient security for the process, for the officials and even equipment. Most importantly, the tenure of the security officials should be protected from reprisals from State machinery simply because of the services they provide. The quest for a peaceful election will not be in vain.
Samuel M Kivuitu, Student on elections for democracy