How IEBC portal helped Kenyans handle anxiety

A demonstration of result transmission screen by IEBC before the 2017 General Election. [File, Standard]

One thing I have learnt over the past few days is few people heeded outgoing Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago's 'usiweke siasa kwa roho' advice. I bet, going by a clip of him on social media, he also didn't heed his own advice.

You can see and feel the anxiety all over. People are commenting with memes of several rolls of tissue to mean their stomachs have not held up their anxieties. Others are honest enough to admit that they are yet to step out of their homes and back to their usual schedules.

Some have camped on the pages of well-known bloggers - depending on who they support. If it is not Dennis Itumbi then it is Pauline Njoroge or lawyer Wahome Thuku or lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi among others. These have become the online motivational speakers that keep hopes of whatever side they support, alive.

But that is not just it. Ask anyone in the media how many calls they have gotten from people who imagine they must know something they don't. Actually, those in the village believe those in Nairobi must surely be ahead in their interaction with IEBC tallies. Those in Nairobi think those in the media may know something but are keeping back. Those in the media are also busy reaching out to their political contacts and the contacts are also probably reaching out to IEBC officials. It is a merry-go-round of expectations.

For a whole a week, there has not been much traffic in the city signifying a downgrade of activities. Yet with all these, the country seems to be relatively at peace. Why? IEBC's decision to have the media, observers and agents access their polling stations and later open up its servers is the master stroke.

In previous elections, this anxiety pushed people to their limits and the only way to vent out, was violence. Now they are venting out back to their candidates. They are asking them why they didn't have reliable agents in all polling stations.

By August 10th each candidate would have had a reliable tally from original results declared. Instead, they are clutching at straws waiting for IEBC's tally-despite having 46,229 form 34As in the IEBC portal. You can imagine how the situation would be if the two top candidates were stuck at 49 per cent with the kind of opaqueness that was previously witnessed in the previous elections. No one would have believed the IEBC.

However, I blame the over 7 million Kenyans who decided to keep away from this election. They would have been the deal breakers. They would have pushed either of the candidates to a commanding lead thus allowing for quick acceptance of the results. As it is now, regardless of the peace, the final results are likely to cause some shocks. However, with everything in the open, they are likely to handle it better.

The writer is anchor at Radio Maisha

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