SECTIONS

Let peace prevail as Kenyans go to polls on Tuesday

Police control the crowd as Nairobi residents queue at Loita street, parking bay as they waited to nominate their preferred candidates for Nairobi at Starehe. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

In two days, we will wake up early and queue patiently to cast our ballots and vote for our preferred candidates in the County Assembly, National Assembly, Senate, Woman Representatives, Governors and the Presidency.

We should expect a peaceful process and that all voters, candidates and institutions will play their part. We trust and believe the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chaired by Wafula Chebukati will ensure the tallying and transmission process is transparent and free of any manipulation.

So far, the IEBC has shown leadership in sorting out the manual register conundrum, technology behind transmission of presidential results and the perplexing Venezuelan debacle.

We have only one Kenya and we must all individually endeavour to break the cycle of violence associated with elections. As a mediator and peace builder, I strongly believe that though conflict is natural it is not an automatic trigger for violence and disruption. We are uniquely blessed with a rich diversity of Kenyans from all racial, ethnic and cultural extractions from different parts of the world. We live and work together except the few days of every five-year election cycle. 

To the candidates, only a select few will be the first past the post since there are no polygamous seats for the taking. Their supporters can shout “kimeibiwa” even though we can already see the writing on the wall. Anyone who has lost an election knows the sting of defeat, it is public, you have nowhere to hide and you vividly recall the many promises of support on the campaign trail. But in case you are aggrieved and have the evidence that an electoral injustice has occurred, take the legal recourse and go to court.

Under no circumstances should property be destroyed or lives be lost in your name. As a presbyterian I convene the Justice Peace Reconciliation and Creation Committee (JPRC) of PCEA Milele Church and we dare seek direction from the scriptures on what to do when we fall short of expectations of the rule of law and God and when we feel conflicted by our brethren.

In this season we are guided by the theme “Consultation and not Confrontation” translated into Kiswahili ushauriano sio ukabiliano au vita launched in July. 

Secondly, there will always be antagonists and protagonists and the only way to deal with this is to first listen to understand, listen without questioning or respond and make a serious attempt to understand why the other person has taken that particular viewpoint. Finally, we begin to understand that the issues that divide us are a natural gift of diversity. 

We might not agree on everything but that is the beauty of diversity. It is normal to disagree but diversity must never be a basis for war.

The writer is an advocate and chartered mediator