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Heed Uhuru’s call for peace during party primaries

By The Standard | Published Fri, April 21st 2017 at 00:00, Updated April 20th 2017 at 23:40 GMT +3

The sight of Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura's bloodied ear and smashed car windows capped a week where our politics sunk to a low ebb as violence broke out. There were reports of abductions of aspirants across the country as competitors employed all manner of tricks to win nominations to contest at the August 8 General Election. The latest is Sigowet MP aspirant Ken Kuley who allegedly went missing on Wednesday.

The expected jostling for positions has created rancour. Perhaps it is an indication of a maturing democracy. It could also mean politicians have subverted the novelty of democracy where the majority have their way, creating a system where sadly, the end justifies the means. Ideally, politics should not be an end in itself, but a means through which the aspirations of the people are addressed. Those who practice it should cogently articulate their policy without breaking opponent's skulls.

It follows that a botched nominations exercise is a bellwether of what will happen at the elections proper. Indeed, the culture of hooliganism is the bane of our politics. The violent aftermath of the 2007 elections was largely because the losers did not believe they had lost fairly. They declined calls to seek court redress because they believed that as constituted then, chances of it delivering a fair judgement were remote. They resorted to street protests that inevitably turned deadly and disruptive; killing at least 1,300 people, displaced thousands and destroyed property worth millions.

Ten years later, IEBC is fairly competent to manage the elections: it has adequate funds with competent staff and equipment to handle the elections. Though aspersions were cast at the Judiciary after their ruling on the last elections' petition in 2013, it has the confidence of most Kenyans.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's assurance of a free and fair contest and most importantly his call for peace and warning that it will not be business as usual is therefore welcome. His government must come down hard on those out to cause violence.


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