All right-thinking Kenyans are of the opinion that the next general election marks a watershed where citizens hope to permanently part ways with a dark past.
It is well documented that election years have been the most volatile with hardline positions being reinforced, tribal animosities and racial differences accentuated and used by politicians to enhance self-interest.
Thousands of lives lost in 2008 in a less than a month, billions of shillings laid to waste as properties were targeted for destruction by forces of evil thousands of wananchi forcibly translocated and billions of shillings lost in frozen trade and investments have conspired to teach Kenyans to never again gamble with the brittle candle of peaceful co-existence.
In response, a referendum was conducted and a new Constitution promulgated, with far-reaching rights and freedoms entrenched in the document. Chief among its objectives was guaranteeing equity and addressing historical injustices. Institutions of governance were restructured, reforms throttled through after wide-ranging public consultations.
These included the constitution review, revenue allocation mechanisms, political boundary delineation, focus on infrastructural development, revamping of the education and health sectors and re-tooling/redefining the national development blueprint.
Many of the envisaged reforms are ongoing and Kenyans are again poised to queue at the ballot box to usher in their first post-reform government.
There has been mixed success registered as teething pains and newfound litigation take centre-stage. One of the most crucial bodies entrusted with moving the process forward is the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. That Kenyans’ dalliance with death in 2008 had much to do with a flawed election and electoral process is reason enough to ensure the next election is free, fair and raises the bar for all future election cycles. But is that the case?
Murmurs of disquiet are stalking the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) leadership. The push-pull over a controversial Sh4.8 billion tender deal to provide biometric voter registration has many throwing anxious glances at the 2007 debacle that had issues of transparency and accountability. This led to disbanding of the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) that oversaw the flawed poll process.
Billions of shillings
Whether or not the company known as Africa Symphony or any other firm is most suited to provide this service is immaterial.
The overriding concern is that none of the officers in the tendering committee or the other officers running the IEBC should be seen to be less than honest about such a critical process.