The 9th of August 2022 marked an important milestone in the democratic and constitutional history of the country. Kenyans exercised their civic responsibility of voting in their leaders.
They had their say in a peaceful and orderly manner. I congratulate them for this. The general atmosphere of peace and tranquility that characterised the campaigns, the polling day and in most cases, during the tallying, is indeed a sign of a maturing democracy.
This is laudable.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission deserves to be congratulated as well. It was evident that they were better organised than in previous elections. In order to cure the problem of mistrust and claims of election rigging, they placed the results on a portal that was accessible.
The international election observers were also happy with the way the results were conducted and were full of praise for IEBC in their report. We have an impressive report card on how we conducted the elections.
Winners and losers
The electoral process certainly produced winners and losers. That is democracy. Some seasoned politicians were shown the door while new entrants were ushered into elective positions. It is in order to congratulate the winners, as well as lauding the other ‘winners’, for having given a good account of themselves. They will live to fight another day.
As we congratulate the winners, it is important to remind them that they have been given an opportunity to serve and not to lord over the rest. They should accept this solemn responsibility with humility and gratitude to their employers, the electorate. They should be humble enough to appreciate the confidence the voters have bestowed upon them.
It is gratifying to note that in these elections a good number of losers conceded defeat as soon as this was evident during tallying. That is exemplary statesmanship. The courage to accept defeat is a mark of leadership.
It would perhaps be a good gesture for the winners and losers to shake hands and seek ways to work together for the good of their people. This would be another leap in the democratic progress of Kenya. As we have expressed before, elections come and go. Kenyans should accept the outcome and focus on moving forward in nation-building.
Whoever has won the elections is their leader, including those who did not vote for him or her. The winners must resist the politics of revenge and neglect and focus on the singular responsibility to serve everyone equally.
Close presidential poll
A good leader is one who embraces both those who have had their say and those who have had their way. A closer scrutiny of the results in many elective positions reveals that it is was a really close call. This is especially so in the presidential polls. So, from a national perspective, no one candidate can chest thumb and claim an overwhelming victory.
Both sides of the political divide are, therefore, important for the development of Kenya and for democracy to thrive as one takes up government and the other the opposition.
We cannot be whining over elections endlessly. There are more urgent and pressing issues to deal with, among them, the high cost of living, unemployment, famine and drought in parts of Kenya, high level of poverty, corruption and so on. As soon as possible we need to refocus ourselves on these issues.
It is also to be expected that there are those who will feel dissatisfied with the final outcome of the electoral results and would like to seek redress through the courts. We have addressed the urgency of being ready for the judicial process before.
We must be ready to expeditiously dispense with the election cases and appeals brought before the courts. The judiciary is the next phase in maintaining the confidence of Kenyans.
Be that as it may, it is however very encouraging to note that the number of candidates seeking redress may not be as many as previously projected due to the transparent manner in which the elections were conducted.
Lastly, I remind Kenyans of the importance of peace at all times. It is everyone’s responsibility to maintain and preach peace. Let us not be provoked by anyone into destroying what we have worked so hard to build.
Let the peace that has prevailed throughout the campaign and polling period be maintained for the good of generations now and in the future.
Kenyans have made their case and the country must get moving. Let peace prevail and Kenya will go far.