Avoiding Anarchy In Kenya

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On 8th of August, 2017, Kenyans went to the polls to elect a new president and members of parliament. Unfortunately, the result of the presidential election which saw the incumbent president, Uhuru Kenyatta coasting home to victory with about 80 percent of the votes cast, did not go down well with the main opposition.
The results of the presidential election which were contested at the Supreme Court were, thereafter, annulled by the apex court on procedural grounds. The court, therefore, ordered for a rerun which came up on 26th of October, 2017.
The Kenya’s Supreme Court verdict notwithstanding, the main opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, fearing that the election would not be free and fair, pulled out of the rerun and urged a boycott, thus, heightening the already political tension in the country.
Expectedly, the rerun which held last Thursday and won by Kenyatta who has already been sworn-in as president, was marred by violence and poor voters’ turnout. There were reports of harassment and battering of journalists. Worse still, about 50 people were reportedly shot dead by security forces, while some others sustained various degrees of injuries.
It would be recalled that close to the date of last Thursday’s rerun election, a female member of the Kenya’s electoral commission fled the country on allegation of threat to her life. It is also on record that three of Kenya’s four previous general elections were marred by violence, including the 2007/2008 election in which about 1,200 people were killed.
Given the new pace of political development in Africa’s democracy, The Tide considers the current events in Kenya as a serious setback that must be nipped in the bud. We believe that whatever problems that may have arisen from the electoral process can be resolved through constitutional means.
Resorting to violence will not help Africa’s democracy grow and Kenya in particular. It will rather cause a great setback to whatever progress Kenya may have recorded in the last 20 years of its constitutional democracy.
We, therefore, call for peace, calm and political maturity on the part of all the warring parties in Kenya.
We advise all Kenyans to realise that politics is not a do or die affair, but a game that must produce winners and losers. Losers must be ready to accept the wish of the electorate, while winners should be magnanimous in victory.
The Tide acknowledges the fact that in most African countries, election results are usually disputed. But such disputes are better resolved through constitutional means. We believe it is high time African politicians saw politics as a vehicle for serving the public, and not a means of boosting personal ego.
The electoral process in Kenya, just like in other African countries, may not be perfect, but we believe that if politicians can play the game by the rule, all forms of irregularities, manipulations and violence that usually mar elections in Africa would be a thing of the past.
We particularly urge Kenyatta and Odinga to resist the temptation of reviving the rivalry between their fathers which actually polarised the Kenyan populace in the 1960’s.
Although the outcome of the rerun election in Kenya may not be acceptable to all, the Kenya’s political gladiators should save the ordinary Kenyans the agony of a civil strife which the current political logjam in the country is capable of producing. Kenya should emulate some African countries, notably Nigeria, Benin Republic, Angola, Ghana, Gabon and Malawi which have been transiting peacefully and successfully from one administration to another in the last few years.