The pre-August 9 General Election period was largely peaceful, except for minor incidents in a few areas where campaigns turned chaotic.
On the whole, Kenyans conducted themselves remarkably well, tolerated each other’s views and gave aspirants the chance to sell their manifestos. That accounts for the peaceful campaigns, even where opposing camps ran into each other.
On Election Day, many of the voters were up and queuing long before the polling stations opened. That is how eager the voters were that nothing untoward should be allowed to taint that spirit of patriotism.
That is a testament to our appreciation, as a Kenyan people, of divergent views and proof that our democracy has come of age. But while that is largely true, what transpired on Monday in some areas after the announcement of the presidential results threatens to claw back the gains we have painstakingly made over the years.
In any competition, contestants get into the game fully aware there can only be one winner, and many losers. Thus, graciously conceding defeat when there is evidence to that fact is the most honourable thing any loser can do.
Kenyans of goodwill and supporters of Azimio la Umoja should heed the call for peace by Raila Odinga. They should exercise tolerance and patience as Azimio pursues the legal option.
Raila categorically stated on Tuesday that Azimio does not recognise the presidential results announced by IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.
Our constitution stipulates that in the event there are contestations in presidential election results, a petition should be lodged at the Supreme Court.
It is unfortunate that some Kenyans chose the path of violence on learning their candidate had lost. Apparently, the horrors of the 2007/2008 post-election violence did not leave an imprint on their minds.
Lest we forget, at least 1,300 people lost their lives in the most gruesome manner in a dispute they had nothing to do with. Over half a million people were internally displaced. Today, many families are yet to recover from that nightmare, yet a few individuals won’t mind taking us down that path again. It is unacceptable.
Shedding the blood of another Kenyan over mere electoral outcomes is the worst crime and unforgivable thing that anyone of sound mind should do.
Elections are a one-day event that comes every five years. Good neighbourliness and tolerance of each other cannot be gainsaid for even after elections, we are still Kenyans.
In the meantime, security agencies have a sacred duty to keep the country safe and peaceful. It is incumbent upon them to employ all means at their disposal to net individuals who plan, or who have already instigated the violence. That should include those behind the disappearance and killing of the Embakasi East returning officer.
We must keep the peace.