What to look out for in new polls team

For the umpteenth time now, the country has been presented with yet another god-sent opportunity to get it right on the quality of the persons to run the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission PHOTO: COURTESY

For the umpteenth time now, the country has been presented with yet another god-sent opportunity to get it right on the quality of the persons to run the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

For those stuck in the groove of our mundane politicking, the current process of reconstituting the electoral commission may be just another perfunctory episode in the long-running drama of our public affairs.

This may be the same for those of us who have been tortured by the contours of our politics into submitting to the flow of things, accepting outcomes as they are and placing little expectations on such important processes as this.

The fact of the matter, however, is that this is not an ordinary process and the outcome must not be ordinary. As the panel begins its work, Kenyans of goodwill must lay terms and genuine expectations they have of this process. They must place legitimate concerns and expectations on  the process.

One, Kenyans expect the panel will recruit top-of-the-range quality individuals in terms of their suitability and qualification to hold such exalted office. They must be men and women beyond reproach in terms of their integrity, disposition and virtue. The greatest virtue they must possess is excellence in their chosen areas of occupation.

Two, Kenyans are entitled to a transformative set of commissioners who are motivated into service by higher ideals beyond the mundane. The realm of skulduggery, sloth, incompetence and such is a no-go zone this time round and so are those preoccupied with search for money, fame or power.

If we get it wrong on this we will end up recruiting merchants, buccaneers and “tenderprenuers”.

Three, Kenyans want men and women with the positive ethos and fresh outlook, the kind the Kriegler Commission envisioned. These are men and women whom, in their outlook, are keen to cultivate new beginnings for the troubled commission, ones who will attract and command the respect of the overbearing political class.

They must not be like flags to be blown thither and hither by every wind which blows their way. They must have strong characters, like Julius Caesar, constant like the northern star, and yet ones who must be flexible in appreciating the mosaic of the national fabric.

Four, our new IEBC commissioners must be God-fearing citizens. It is an open secret, in all religions, that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The new commissioners must demonstrate their respect for God’s creation, will and purpose in their demeanour and conduct.

They must value and appreciate God’s gifts of order, justice and peace.

Five, Kenyans want the new commissioners to be men and women of great understanding. Our past experience with parochial minds has not been so pleasant. A great effort must be made to identify those amongst us who are highly perceptive and endowed with special gifts befitting public service.

They must be men and women who understand our history, our evolution as a people and our needs. They must not be adventurers or simple job-seekers without a valid or justifiable mission.

Six and last, the men and women we recruit to run our elections for the next five years must be persons who respect the collective will of the Kenyan people. They must be firm believers in the rule of law and our constitution.

They must demonstrate to the panel their firm understanding of the full scope and meaning of our national values. They must not only demonstrate them, they must exude them in the interviews.

I know time is out of joint for us. We must not however sacrifice any of these expectations at the altar of time. More than ever, Kenya needs an electoral commission that can withstand the tremors of our political experiences and still maintain credibility and reputation.

Kenya cannot afford another 2007 experience or the 2013 experience where both winners and losers are left scorning at the electoral managers.

The selection of religious leaders to sit in the panel to recruit the new commission has given us immense hope that they will not pander to the whims of political machination and scheming.

We expect them to actualise the will of God by selecting persons whom God would anoint for the task ahead.

Last but not the least; let us all learn from our past mistakes. Strong institutions and not strong personalities must be our refuge.

Let us take this chance to build the IEBC into a formidable institution which will stand the test of the times.