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Is queue voting better than secret ballot in terms of transparency?

By Standard Reporter | Published Fri, April 21st 2017 at 00:00, Updated April 21st 2017 at 00:11 GMT +3
Ballot voting

Queue voting, if well managed, is better than secret ballot because one is able to see what is happening. A case in point is the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) primaries currently taking place across the country.

If the party’s supporters were allowed to queue, it could have solved the problems of rigging being raised now.There would be no cases of stuffing ballot boxes irregularly by those who have access to them to give them undue advantage over their opponents.

Queuing has another advantage of being carried out during the day. This reduces the dirty tricks that happen at night and also helps enhance security of the voters.

It seems our political parties are still developing and some lack capacity to carry out credible primaries using secret ballot.

Queuing also helps rule out favouritism where party leaders impose their friends on the electorate, without giving them an opportunity to practise their will.

This comes about because incumbents or those with a lot of money tend to be close to party owners and are given nomination certificates at the expense of those who don’t have, though they might have better leadership qualities.

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Queuing is also easy to manage in terms of logistics and does not need to pump in a lot of money to employ personnel to manage the nominations and transportation of ballot papers. Queuing only needs security at the actual day so that it is done in peace and results announced immediately.

Mr Mositet is the Senator for Kajiado County

Secret ballot is the best because it gives every individual an opportunity to vote as he or she wishes. It is the best because it rules out animosity where a husband who might notice that his wife did not vote for him when using queue system might beat her up back at home.

Secret ballot eliminates sibling animosity where a brother can turn against a sister, brother or any other relative after realising that they didn’t vote for him or her. Kenyans recall the KANU era when the queue system was at its best.

This is the time political rivals and their supporters engaged in violence and even killed each other for political power.This is the time there were hijackings of rivals and party leaders could give you a ticket even if you had the shortest queue. Getting a nomination certificate depended on your loyalty to the party leader and the party. It depended on how much you gave at harambees and how loud you pronounced your party leader’s name.

In short, the system breeds sycophancy. But secret ballot is better because it gives you the opportunity to practise your will. Those who lose out in the nominations have courts and dispute tribunals to turn to because there is evidence to back up your case.

This doesn’t happen in queuing because people can be bribed and disown you. The best we can do as Kenyans is to promote secret balloting by putting up structures that will make them fool proof.

Mr Ndile is a former MP for Kibwezi Constituency.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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