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Target those who incite, not campaign slogans

By The Standard | Published Fri, May 19th 2017 at 00:00, Updated May 18th 2017 at 21:48 GMT +3

The conduct of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will largely determine what happens on and after August 8, 2017. IEBC is the arbiter in a game of high stakes and must ensure a level playing field. If the manner of planning and conducting elections is above board, any cries of foul play would be contemptible, and that is to be expected since leaders are yet to master the art of losing and admitting defeat, where evidence points to such, gracefully.

A campaign where one does not seek to gain advantage over an opponent, but within the confines of the law, is not a campaign. That is why there is propaganda and a campaign period to sell ideologies and manifestos. Inciting statements and obvious falsehoods are not acceptable. Where leaders incite the public through careless utterances, it is within the powers of the police to take decisive action.

Perhaps in a bid to counter the tyranny of numbers narrative and Jubilee’s 70+1 win, the Opposition created its own #10 million votes. This is a totally harmless campaign tool around which some people want to build issues. In 2008, when Kenya degenerated into election violence, it was not because of a campaign slogan.

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission and Joseph Nkaissery, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior, therefore have no basis in warning the Opposition against using their slogan as a rallying point for their supporters. The party that is good at convincing the public will carry the day.

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