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Ensure transparency and peace prevail during party primaries

By The Standard | April 24th 2017

Elections have the tendency to bring out the worst in Kenyans.

Political party primaries began two weeks ago in preparation for the coming August 8 General Election and they have been anything but orderly and peaceful.

First to have a go at the primaries was the Orange Democratic Movement in Western Kenya and chaos ensued.

At every polling station there were complaints ranging from attempted stealing of ballots to delays in starting the process that were construed to mean sleight of hand.

The public may not understand the logistical challenges in organising such events and especially when they are conditioned to believe any deviation from their expectations is informed by mischief.

The Jubilee Party, and indeed all other political parties, had all the time to learn from the mistakes ODM made in the first week, and despite promises by Jubilee's elections Secretariat that they were on top of things, the reality on the ground was different on the first day of nominations.

The chaotic scenes that ensued forced the cancellation and postponement of the exercise to this week.

Gallantly, President Kenyatta apologised to the Jubilee Party aspirants and followers for the fiasco.

Parties, it would seem, have not grasped the complexities of organising successful primaries and because of it, have unknowingly heightened political tension across the country.

Suspicion is rife and wild claims are all over.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has maintained that all party primaries must be concluded by April 26 and that disputes arising out nominations must be cleared by May 10.

This puts Jubilee Party, which had pushed the Nairobi nominations to April 26, in a tight corner. However, the party should lead the way by showing fidelity to the law.

Timeliness must be observed to allow IEBC do its part. But most importantly, parties must act above board; ensure transparency and fairness to preclude the chaotic scenes witnessed last week.

The need for peaceful elections cannot be overemphasized.

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