Zoning an affront to aspirants, democracy

Azimio la Umoja One-Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

With just 39 days to the August 9 General Election, major political coalitions are grappling with the headache of zoning for outright wins.  

Clearly, formation of coalitions in a bid to whittle down presidential candidates was the easy part, but the fielding of candidates, especially at the parliamentary level, presents a conundrum for the coalitions.

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya and the Kenya Kwanza coalitions must find a way of settling feuds where they have several candidates contesting for the same seat against the opposition, but therein lies the rub.

No doubt, these two major political coalitions have good reasons for zoning some regions, but the outcome would be denying some of the candidates an opportunity to vie even after they have not only popularised themselves, but have invested a lot in the rigorous campaigns.

Such moves fly in the face of democratic ideals that espouse the right of the people to choose their representatives without coercion, or having one imposed on them.

Essentially, any serious political formation would do everything possible to emerge victorious, with as many seats as possible to feel comfortable at the helm of government.

Thus, party leaders feel inclined to field only candidates perceived strong in their respective areas. However, in many cases, it is not possible to gauge an aspirants’ worth, and political parties tend to find the easy way out by favouring some candidates.

This is unfortunate because democracy envisages a situation where people who want to vie are allowed to do so, unless they are edged out during nominations. In many cases where the parties are willing, consensus has worked.  

Where it has failed, kicking out some of the aspirants on the whims of party honchos or doctored internal polls is not only an injustice to the said candidates, it is also an injustice to the voters, and that is because they end up being denied a chance to choose those who they truly want to represent them.