The August 9th 2022, we came out and voted peacefully for our chosen leaders and although the voter turn-out was not high a great number of us voted. High voter turnouts are rarely witnessed in Kenya and are motivated by various factors.
In 2002 elections, the voter turnout was significantly high because for the first time in 24 years, we were witnessing a change of guard at the presidential level after the late President Moi, who had been the ruling party’s supreme leader, having taken over from the late President Kenyatta following his death in 1978, completed his constitutional mandate of two five-year terms, fixed following the constitutional amendments of 1992.
In this election, the previously much divided opposition came together under an umbrella and fronted one of their own against President Moi’s preferred successor, now President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The euphoria caused by the prospect of an opposition win saw President Mwai Kibaki of the Rainbow coalition win. The second time the voter turn-out was significantly high was in 2013, also transitional elections, following the end of President Kibaki’s term.
These elections were the first the new 2010 Constitution, albeit under a cloud of the International Criminal Court cases against the then presidential candidate and his running mate. The duo campaigned with a message of peace, unity, reconciliation and hope, thereby galvanising Kenyans in their support and patriotic solidarity. The 2017 and 2022 elections lacked a rallying call to Kenyans and voters did not feel close affinity to the presidential candidates especially during the 2022 elections, where most Kenyans felt their leaders have lost touch with them. Also, during campaigns, the candidates had been treating and facilitating voters to attend rallies but same treatment and facilitation were not available on polling day. Regions which produce presidential candidates witness higher voter turnout as was the case in Rift Valley and Nyanza.
Many young voters also felt there was no significant change likely to occur. This is a strong message to the winner. He and his tram must not only keep their promises, embrace all Kenyans genuinely, they must preach and live unity, hope and reconciliation.
The cost of living must go down and prices of unga and other commodities must go further down! Healing should be prioritised from the divisive campaigns.
In every election there is only one winner. The winners must win with humility and reach out to losers, who should loose with dignity, accept and embrace the winners. Kenyans are tired of court cases and repeat elections!
As an observer, I witnessed peaceful, free and fair polling and counting of ballots at the polling stations I visited and from my fellow observers, the situation appears similar country-wide with minor exceptions. As I write this article, we are patiently awaiting tallying of the final presidential results at the national tallying centre with almost all form 34As already scanned and transmitted electronically and put in the IEBC portal, available to every person with access to the internet. Another milestone in electoral transparency in Kenya.
The IEBC chairman is obliged by the law and court decisions to await the physical arrival of Form 34As (from polling stations) and 34Bs (tally of presidential results at constituency level) to verify that they march with those scanned into the IEBC portal and provisionally announce them as they come from the 290 constituencies.
This will most certainly take time and Kenyans must be patient because their leaders demanded IEBC adhere to these decisions and the amended Elections Act and Regulations. In addition, several forms with security features were added and introduced, making the process of counting labourious and slow.
This is because we cannot trust IEBC to announce accurate provisional results without verifying with physical ones from polling stations neither can we trust them to handle the sensitive matter of our elections without microscopic scrutiny. We should not therefore complain.
Await IEBC’s chairman to officially announce the presidential results. Do something positively constructive for your country!