President Uhuru has on various platforms reiterated his resolve and commitment to ensure peaceful elections on 8/8.
That is a good thing. The importance of peace need not be overemphasised. Kenyans saw how costly, painful and destructive the 2007/8 Post Election Violence turned out to be, and do not want to tread that path again.
Many PEV victims are yet to come to terms with the loss, shock and agony that befell them courtesy of the chaos. The nation is yet to heal. So we don’t want to rub salt into the wound. Yes, Kenyans are not prepared to rekindle the tribal fires that burnt the country. That’s why preaching peace is good.
But to be continually obsessed with the message of peace is to suggest, if only discreetly, that someone is readying himself to avert the will of the people. Because, Kenya is not a nation of bumbling bloodthirsty citizens. No, over the years, Kenyans have shown that they can peacefully coexist, their diverse political leanings, and ethnicities notwithstanding.
Elections are not fodder for violence so that we treat every election period as potentially non-peaceful. The message every nationalist worth his salt ought to preach is the need for credibility in the polls. Nothing more. Nothing less. Naturally, if the referee is fair and above board, each of the competing sides accepts results. Even if that result is a humiliating and humbling loss. In this election, like in a football match, the referee must not only be seen to be fair.
It must also be uncompromising, incorruptible, beyond reproach and—as it’s is in paper—strictly independent. You can take this to the bank: no one is going to protest a fair, accurate and credible election outcome. Thus, if the government leaves the IEBC to do its work without undue influence, it is even needless to preach peace. Because peace will naturally be.
Raila Odinga and his NASA brigade are not asking for too much. They understand the place of peace but they know that credibility is primary. That’s the reason they went to the streets sometime last year demanding electoral reforms. It is why they went to court demanding that results announced at the constituency level be final. It’s also why they are in court over the Al Ghurair Group ballot printing tender, a case which need not be discussed further.
Again, the call for peace is good. But, if overdone, it can easily be mistaken as a warning that someone is hell bent on engaging in electoral malpractices which may precipitate violence. Those who love our beautiful motherland should all endeavour to make this election credible. Preaching peace when we are not standing on the precipice of violence is suspicious.