Give voters realistic promises and accept the verdict with humility

A video clip doing rounds in social media about a person who died and was given a unique opportunity by God to choose heaven or hell, helps demonstrate election campaigns.

Since he wanted to make an informed choice, he asked to be taken to see hell, where he found residents in grand celebrations and thought hell was a vibrant and lively paradise while in heaven, angels were floating around peacefully without fanfare, almost boring.

He quickly chose hell, wondering why religious leaders were so hard on the devil.

However, when he finally descended to hell he saw it totally different; terrible and frightful; and upon inquiry, he was told that when he had earlier visited, it was during the campaigns!

This video graphically demonstrates what we all know happens here during campaigns.

Candidates make grand promises, we and they know they have no capacity or resources to deliver on – like in a dream.  

We are entranced by hope as we yearn so much for everything they promise even though they don’t tell us where they will get the resources to deliver on their promises. Like the man descending to hell, we shall wake up from our trance and realise that we lacked grit to interrogate these promises.

This is why we need to courageously probe these outlandish and grand promises and choose wisely at the ballot. Remember, these candidates are looking for a job, so we should interview them seriously by examining their credentials, qualities, values and promises.

We need leaders capable of leading with passion, integrity, honour, wisdom and with our interests at heart.

Leaders who lie to us during campaigns will continue to lie and steal from us after we elect them.

This is the time they are in their best behaviour and if they can’t measure up now, they will be worse when they take office and then we shall be stuck with them for five years! Choices have consequences.

President Kibaki told us that the election will be finished in one day and thereafter we shall go back to our ordinary lives.

He meant that, although during the campaigns we align ourselves to competing candidates on opposite sides, we should do so with decorum, respect, tolerance and integrity.

We must support our preferred candidates within the law, peacefully, treating everyone with dignity and tolerance because before elections we co-existed peacefully and we shall continue to do so after the elections.

There will be only one winner for each of the six electoral positions in their respective constituencies; from the president to the Member of County Assembly.

For example, this means, of the four presidential candidates, only one of them will win.

The three losers and their supporters must concede and accept defeat and embrace the one who shall be declared the winner and live to fight in 2027. The one winner must do so in dignity and humility. Their win is because of our votes.

These elective positions, just like appointive ones, belong to those who bestowed them; voters.

Therefore, elected and appointed leaders hold these positions in trust for all of us and must enjoy them with respect, integrity and humility to serve and honour those who put them there.

The losers should do so also with integrity and without bitterness; their time will also come.

For the rest of us, we must continue to hold our leaders to account through our legal and constitutional mechanisms, commissions and through playing our roles as individuals, citizens, residents, civil society and other organised groups.

Finally, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) deserves accolades so far for continuing to reassure us and for allowing the media or those they authorise, to carry out parallel tallying of election results from polling stations, so long as the declaration of the final results is left to IEBC.

This will provide more witnesses, enhance calm and peace, credibility, transparency and reduce suspicion and tensions, which often result in post-election violence.