On Tuesday, Kenyans go to the polls to elect politicians that will be in charge of our national and county institutions for the next five years. It is fair to say events leading up to Tuesday have not been ideal. Violence and hateful rhetoric marred the primaries conducted by parties.
There has been intrigues around the preparedness of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), and the legal processes that have sought to bring clarity to the conduct of Tuesday’s poll. The Judiciary has been dragged into our politics, and the integrity of senior judges questioned.
And last weekend a senior official at the IEBC, Chris Msando, was killed in cold blood after being tortured. His body was found next to that of Carol Ngumbu, a student at the Kenya Medical Training College in Karen who was due to graduate in December.
It is unclear why or where the two were murdered. What is clear, however, is that the deaths of Mr Msando and Ms Ngumbu cast a shadow of doubt over the integrity of Tuesday’s poll. Who wanted the IEBC official dead a mere ten days before the election? Why was he tortured? Who stands to benefit from Msando’s death?
These questions should pierce the conscience of all Kenyans of good will. These two likely unresolved deaths present the continued fraying of our already tattered fabric of rule of law. We are a country hurtling towards even more lawlessness; with myopic elites who erroneously think they have the power to turn the spigots of violence on and off. We have learned little from the disasters that were 2007-08, 1997, and 1992. Violence only begets more violence.
Up to this point, what is done is done. But there is more we can do to ensure the integrity of the electoral process next week. And in this regard, I would like to make an appeal to individuals in charge of our electoral process.
These are Wafula Chebukati, Consolata Maina, Roselyn Akombe, Abdi Guliye, Margaret Mwachanya, Paul Kurgat, Boya Molu and Ezra Chiloba. These are the members of the IEBC. Messrs Chebukati and Chiloba bear special responsibility due to their positions as Chairman and Secretary of the Commission, respectively. They took their jobs with a promise to uphold the Constitution. They know what they do or fail to do may determine whether will will have a peaceful election.
And all Kenyans into posterity will remember their conduct this coming week. They have the choice to do their job well and deliver an electoral process that reflects the true will of Kenyans, from the presidential down to MCA elections.
And here Chebukati and Chiloba must stand up and be counted among Kenyans who throughout our history have stood up to the powerful and skillfully got their way. We cannot afford yet another bungled election. The IEBC has a duty to make sure this does not happen. History will judge them harshly if they fail us.
- The writer is an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University