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Voting: Why Kenya needs you

An elderly woman is assisted by a presiding officer at Mirithu Primary School voting station in Kiambu. [File, Standard]

Tomorrow Kenyans will brave long queues to vote for their favourite leaders including the country’s fifth president.

There has never been a better time for Kenyans to demonstrate their civic duty to vote.

This election comes at a unique time. The economy of the country is suffering. A series of bad decisions over the past decade by government have put us in a debt tunnel with no light at the end.

The debt problem compounded further by the coronavirus pandemic that erased most of the marginal gains that had been made before 2020. The result of these being unemployment levels at scales never seen before that have come with a heavy cloud of desperation among key populations such us the youth.

The high cost of living experienced in the past year and a half has not made things any easier.

Yet, in the face of all this uncertainty, we have a chance to fix the country. Your vote can be the key that opens the door for leaders who will be accountable to you and do what matters most for the collective that is Kenya. And equally important, your vote can be the key that locks out the corrupt, greedy individuals who have dominated public office since independence, leading the country onto a path of anarchy and great disappointment.

Your vote can help the country start over so get up, vote and give the country a chance to turn a new leaf.

However, while the sovereign duty to vote lies with the resilient people of Kenya, there are those mandated to ensure the vote is free, fair and devoid of any malpractice. This includes the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as well as the security agencies. These agencies mandated by law and obligated by morality to deliver a just poll need to step up and live up to the expectations of the public.

The courts have a paramount duty to demonstrate jurisprudence when called upon. This election comes at a critical time in the country’s history. It is not the time for courts to play favourites. Neither is it time for them to settle old scores.

It is a time for the honourable members of the bench to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the great Republic of Kenya did not error in entrusting them with upholding the constitution of Kenya. A chance for them to stand up for the law and allay fears built over time of their inability to remain unmoved in the face of pressure and coercion.

Good race

To the candidates, you have run the race. You have fought a good fight. What remains is not up to you. We want to believe that you  will not try to influence the elections and that you are mature enough to trust the electoral process.

Now, it is your duty to wait patiently for the results and baring any indications of malpractice, accept the final outcome of a credible poll process.

In the past, we have had candidates whip up emotions of their supporters against official results, a move that has only ended in catastrophe and the destruction of our fabric as a nation. None of us want to go back there.

Our faith in the Kenyan voter is unwavering. And we believe anyone in possession of a voters’ card has truly outgrown such antics. We hope, for the sake of peace and democracy that the political class too has outgrown this and neither Raila Odinga, William Ruto, David Mwaure nor George Wajackoya will push us back into the hole we worked so hard to get out of.

The President-elect will be trusted to make decisions and choices for the entire country. He will be given the tough job of lifting this country from its current state of desperation and general malaise into the greatness that we know Kenya can achieve.

As much as acceptance should be a deep-seated virtue within the losing side, humility must be engrained in the heart of the winning candidate. The winner and the loser should be bound by honest reconciliation.

We have a country to build and building it requires our collective energies. Nobody can go it alone.

Today, as you enter your polling station, your vote becomes much larger than your MCA.

It holds much more significance than that individual candidate whose promises and pledges register the highest in your internal scale. Your vote becomes an ode to the future. An ode to our collective ambitions as a country. An ode to you, to your family, to your children and to those who died believing in the greatness of our nation. Do not let them down.

Your vote is a chance for you to help the country course - correct. Correct from the massive debt path we have taken.

It represents a chance for our youth at employment. A chance for Kenya to once again not just dream, but achieve greatness. This is why your vote matters.