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Why IEBC should vacate office willingly

By Derick Ngaira | May 18th 2016

The current debate on IEBC has not extensively interrogate the dire consequences the country may plunge itself in if the current commissioners in the Anniversary Towers administrate next year’s general elections.

In Kenya it’s only IEBC constitutionally mandated to manage elections and declare the victor.  Therefore, the body is expected to set the bar of impartiality beyond reach in the minds of Kenyans. This can only be attained through credibility it dominates among the members of the public.

Lately, the body has been adversely mentioned and termed as incompetent and corrupt by legislatures from both the ruling and opposing coalitions, civil societies and the church. As a result the occupants should vacate office and be replaced before the coming electioneering period.

The opposition has opted for the rule of the jangle that leaves many scores injured and latter succumb to injuries. However, the commissioners led by Isaack Hassan have stayed put and are yet to willingly vacate office in show of true statesmanship.

Kenyans, categorically CORD legislatures, are well vast with the due procedure to eject commissioners out of office, but this will be a battle the country will not win in regard to the time frames of the next general elections. This calls to for the commissioners to step aside on their own accord before the situation gets out of control in the coming post-election period.

Let us learn from the past (post - election violence in 2007 -2008) especially when the wounds are still fresh.

In Kenya, it is only through elections that citizens bestow upon their leaders political legitimacy. Such that the leaders are accepted to exercise their authority and rightfully serve those who elected them. Legitimacy is a system of government, where “government” designates sphere of influence.

This reminiscent me of Max Weber theory (1997), in his research he deduced that, any existing government constructed on the solids of “commands” and “obedience” are “induced by a belief in their existence”, and for this case the belief is what am referring to as legitimacy. It is worth noting that, one obeys regime because s/he believes in its existence along with its status.

The political legitimacy will only be granted if the body to declare the winner, for this case IEBC is credible, impartial and just. The credibility constitutes of the stockpile of how they supervised previous elections and plebiscites.  

For this case, according to the recent study conducted by Consumer Insight IEBC has lost credibility among Kenyans, especially among CORD devotees following the alleged Chicken gate scandal where the commission top brass is yet to account for and their conduct during Kericho by elections puts their (commissioners) credibility into question.

In addition, the coalition for reforms believes that victory was stolen right under their noses in 2013 elections in the favor of the ruling coalition. Weather the allegations are true or not (time will tell) the current commission should pave way for reconstitution of another body due to their dwindling integrity.

It is worthy to note that, political legitimacy impacts the management of the country due to trust citizens hold towards their leaders. And this helps the country to remain resilient even in the looming crisis including terrorism and other catastrophes. People are certain of the steps being taken by the regime to offset the crisis.

Legitimacy is vital for a government. It sustains political stability as it establishes the reasonableness of the regime. And it is at this point where Weber, in his theory expounds that for a government to maintain their rule they must arouse legitimacy belief of the people.

Where functioning democracy outdo personal glamour, IEBC should step aside for the country not to shoulder the yoke of poor governance as a result of political instability brought about by not trustworthy “referee”.  

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