Vote for upright leaders, vote for better tomorrow

IEBC officials gearing up for polling at a station in Kajiado north, August 8, 2022. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Today, August 9, 2022, is a defining moment in our country’s history as Kenyans from all walks of life troop to polling stations countrywide to choose a new crop of leaders.

It is the culmination of months of intense campaigns by candidates vying for various positions.  For the second time since the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010, an incumbent president will not be on the ballot. President Uhuru Kenyatta has served his two terms as stipulated by the Constitution.

Politicians have had their say and run for months, but today gives citizens the opportunity to have the final say through the ballot. By now, the campaigns should have put us in a better position to make informed decisions, especially for those captured by opinion polls as 'undecided'.

Today’s election will determine what awaits us in the next five years. We should take care to vote for people who are capable of getting us out of the financial morass the country finds itself in.

Thankfully, we have listened to the aspirants' long enough and gone through their manifestos. We have sifted what is factual from what is unrealistic and should be able to vote for people who hold promise for the nation.

The call to a six-piece mode of voting is not a guarantee for good leadership. In truth, it is through such voting that some mediocre individuals have sneaked into positions of leadership where they find themselves at sea. Voting for a candidate merely because they bribed with a Sh100 note is foolhardy and also breeds such mediocrity.

Past experiences with incompetent leaders should guide our choices today in order to avoid past mistakes that have consigned millions to life in penury as corruption and theft of public resources thrive. As often said, once bitten, twice shy, lets remain woke. Five years is a long time to wait should we make mistakes.

Above all, we should not, even for a moment, lose sight of the fact that we are brothers and sisters. The protracted campaign season has sowed seeds of discord with politicians pulling in different directions. Unguarded statements and unsubstantiated claims during campaigns have, on several occasions, threatened national cohesion. Mercifully, we have been able to restrain ourselves from being drawn into a vortex of political intolerance, which is as it should be.

We should be careful not to go down the painful road that we did in past general elections, the worst case being in 2007 when the lives of 1,300 Kenyans were mindlessly snuffed out over half a million people displaced in post-election violence. Candidates and citizens must not resort to draconian ways to protest if unhappy with the election process or the results.

Any candidate who is dissatisfied must follow the due process instead of inciting supporters to cause mayhem as has happened before. For those who step out of line, the law - including the International Criminal Court, if need be - will definitely catch up with them.

Voting is a one-day event, but neighbours are forever. Vote peacefully. Vote wisely.

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