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Politics
Manual voting in Kenya will be a recipe for chaos in 2017 general elections
By Mudega Oscar | Updated Dec 30, 2016 at 10:35 EAT

It matters to me little who really wins the 2017 general elections but just like millions of Kenyans who believe in absolute democracy and free will of the people to choose their leaders, the electoral system and process adopted should endeavor to deliver credible results. Moreover, the system should not be marred by any form of irregularities that would be deemed to have changed the course of a nation. The system should be reliable and one that can be vetted after the election to verify that the leaders chosen represent the common will of the forty-two tribes that make the nation.

However, the ongoing political wrangles on whether the electoral body should adopt the manual system in case the digital voting system fails has indicated the ulterior motive of the incumbent administration to rig or manipulate the final election results in its favor. This assertion is candidly true especially when house majority leader Aden asserts that the Cord alliance wants to use the digital voting system to rig the election or working with the West to install unpopular leaders on Kenyans.

Such pointless accusations and counter-accusations from both sides of the political divide have sharply risen the political temperature in a country that gets politically turbulent every election year. Furthermore, the malicious views that the opposition is bent on rigging this election by all means have out-rightly shown how pro-government politicians and sycophants like Aden Duale are so keen in keeping the status quo by denying Kenyans any meaningful change come 2017 general elections.

The shameful and irrational conduct in parliament when politicians were debating the controversial electoral laws and the lightning speed at which the Jubilee legislators passed all the contentious laws that would mandate the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to adopt the manual voting system are a pointer that a section of the Kenyan leadership will do anything it takes to keep power into the hands of few despite a wind of change that is sweeping all over Africa.

Sane wisdom would reveal that going manual should never be an option for an administration that came into power claiming it was digital friendly. The Jubilee administration has been on the rapid move to digitize many aspects of governance. It beats logic then for the same government to assume that voting can or should simply never be allowed to go the digital way. In fact going manual is not a plan but lack of a plan. Going manual a cleverly designed strategy aimed at obliterating the digital process so that manipulated results from some friendly zones tilt the eventual vote in favor of the government.

As a nation we have come a long way for us to fall back into potential anarchy that would be eminent should we risk adopting a system many Kenyans think will be used to steal an election or simply manipulate the results. I totally believe that going manual is obsolete and sure a recipe for chaos. The 2007 elections should serve as a stark reminder that changing or manipulating the votes is tantamount to short-changing the will of the people and the eventuality can be catastrophic.

President Uhuru Kenyatta should listen to the vehement cry of Kenyans, opposition groups, and religious leaders not to assent to the Bill on controversial electoral laws. The executive should aim to bring on board all the concerned parties with the aim of forging a unified platform instead of being passively misled by power hungry and irrational politicians like Aden Duale. Opposition leaders on the other hand, should avoid paltry politics on these issues and be ready to tear the hard ground by engaging the government via constitutional platforms instead of calling for mass protests.

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