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Here is why the Opposition will not want polls this year

By Daisy Maritim Maina | Updated Sun, March 12th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3

Once upon a time, there was a country called Kenya. The people of the African nation, like any other country that minds its own business, went about life as usual - trading, reproducing, dying, working, stealing, praying, eating, starving, celebrating, begging and complaining on the Internet. Just doing life.

The country kept up its uninterrupted existence for a good three years. On the fourth year, the country, including the government, slipped into a prolonged day dream. The only ones who were wide awake, were the opposition. They were tiptoeing around quietly, careful not to wake the ones in slumber. But at the eleventh hour they went off like loud human alarm clocks shouting; WAKE UP! Elections are upon us!

The first to jolt up was the government. It began stumbling, fumbling and groping in the dark to urgently shake up the napping electoral commission. It was asking ‘wapi electoral timeline, voter registration, equipment na systems? Chap chap!

Unfortunately, before the electoral commission was properly awake to switch on the light and get to work, it slipped and fell on its own messy drool of ‘chicken-gate’. This was slippery spittle that had dribbled and accumulated underneath it during its open-mouthed four year siesta.

The alert opposition turned to the government and said: “We are not progressing before the floor is mopped clean of this chicken-gate mess. And all the commissioners who caused the mess must be fired”. A seemingly endless argument with the refrain ‘IEBC Must Go’ began. All the while: ‘tick-tock-tick-tock’ - the electoral clock kept going.

You see, while the administration was still scampering in its ‘nightdress’, the opposition was dressed and ready to move on to the next thing: stopping the election. Not to delay the elections, not to botch the elections or to cause contestable elections. Simply, NO elections. Here is how and why.

The ‘how’ happens through the post-slumber confusion that led to the installation of a rookie commission. Soon after their appointment, the novice IEBC commissioners were hit with a drizzle of lawsuits by the opposition. The result of this was two court rulings that upset the IEBC electoral time table. The first court ruling was the invalidation of a tender for the supply of electoral material, and the second was the halting of a contract for an audit meant to verify the voter register.

But this is just the beginning. My prediction is that the light shower of electoral court cases will soon become a heavy downpour of litigation from the opposition. There will be court cases aimed at causing further delays on activities within the electoral timeline. The result would be a constitutional deadlock, leading ultimately to a cancelled, then postponed election. OK. Now for the more important question: Why would the opposition carry out a deliberate plan to sabotage the elections?

If I were CORD or NASA or ODM or all the above, I would know one thing for sure deep down in my opposition heart. African incumbents hardly ever lose elections. Bearing this in mind, there are two reasons why a delayed or cancelled election would benefit the opposition.

The first reason lies in the Eastern European country of Albania. Currently, the opposition in that country is in active protests. Or doing ‘mass action’ as we like to call it here. But unlike their Kenyan counterparts, their demands are clear. They are asking the government to resign, and they want a caretaker government until credible elections can be held. If this becomes the case in Kenya, then it’s a heaven sent reset for the opposition; a guarantee that their competitor in the electoral game will not also be the referee.

The second reason is a photocopy of the 2007 elections. Chronic delays in the electoral process will cause a constitutional crisis, which will bring about a stalemate. The only way out will then be a negotiation. Giving us yet another ‘nusu-mkate’ coalition government. Simple. This allows the opposition to avoid a likely losing battle at the ballot. In doing this, they are working smart, not hard.

They say political reality is stranger than fiction, but electoral reality on the other hand, can be the stuff of nightmares. For all those who don’t see these possibilities, keep snoozing. To these people, I wish a goodnight and sweet political day dreams.



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