It is now a week after Kenyans went to an election. The Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) released results on Friday 11th August 2017 proclaiming that the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta has retained his seat against his close rival Raila Odinga. The National Super Alliance (NASA) leadership has since disputed the results. The streets outside are virtually empty through self-imposed curfew. From experience with elections almost everyone is fearing that post-election violence might occur. Most shops have been closed within my neighbourhood for fear of looting by the rioters. This is the sixth general election the country is undertaken after the reintroduction of multi-party democracy in 1991 when section 2A of the constitution that made Kenya a de jure single party was repelled.
Everybody is tense while anticipating that violence might take place. Like the rest of the middle class, I was able to purchase enough stock of food to safeguard me and my family against this eventuality. The memories of 2007 post-election violence where 1300 people lost their lives while hundreds of thousands were maimed and displaced is still engrained in our minds. It is barely ten years when this event occurred.
The tension has been building up since the Election Day on 8th August 2017. As I write this scores of people have been reported killed by the police in some parts of the county. The Opposition has put the figure of those killed to 100 while the rights groups led by Kenya National Commission on human Rights (KNCHR) puts the figure to 24. The government through the police spokesman says only 4 were killed. Among the dead is a 9 year old girl killed in Mathera which is an informal settlement in the Capital Nairobi. There are also number of those injured, among them a 6months old baby in the lakeside town of Kisumu.
While the lower class from the informal settlement are engaging eachother in the streets, the middle class are also outdoing eachother within the social media like facebook where they are throwing vitriols and unprintable at eachother. Just like the election results, the country is divided in the middle with both supporters of each camp trying to outdo eachother in throwing insults depending on your ethnic extraction or your last name.
Already the economy has had a dip as a results of loss of human working hours. The opposition has also called for boycott of work and boycott of certain media house whom they have accused of being pro the establishment. They have also promised to release their next course of action come Tuesday 15th August 2017. One thing they have made clear is that a court process is not one of them. This in itself continues to send tremor down the spine of the citizens. The country is still gripped with fear and uncertainty as everyone fears on what this will result too.
As I sit in the house glued to the television with my bigger family, I notice that there is unease calmness outside as people whisper in low tones. I am a bit contented that I come from a family of “United Nations” where I have supporters of all parties under one roof. I am impressed that the children are playing together innocently even though there grand fathers are from different side of the political divide. My prayer is that no one will pollute their minds as they grow. No one will point it out that they are Kikuyus or Luos. No one will teach them how to hate. That their innocence will remain forever. That their diversity will be strength and not a point of division. That’s my humble prayer. I hope that the adults will take a cue from them. This reminds me of what Jesus said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven…” I switch to a cartoon station called Jimjam and we enjoy the programme of “Barney and friends.” They are so happy with laughter as I join them to dance and sing. This provides a relief from the politics that in itself is a comic!
I have done my small analysis and have noticed a repeated pattern of electoral violence each time an incumbent of the presidency is contesting an election. For instance in in 1992, 1997, 2007 and now 2017 we have witnessed electoral violence within our country. In 2002 and 2013 there was no incumbent who was defending his seat thus there was no electoral violence! It is a simple hypothesis that there is correlation of electoral violence with incumbency defending his seat. And this is not rocket science. From this analysis we need to make a decision as a county since we cannot afford any more loss of lives and property.
The decision here is simple, we have to forgo some rights inorder to enjoy the fundamental life to live. It is time we bite the bullet and decided that we will have a one term of 10years that is nonrenewable for any one elected president. Apart from saving us lives, this will go a long way to save us the 49billion being used by IEBC in undertaking the election. They will also save the politicians lots of money they will have to use during the campaigns including having a tallying centre in the clouds. It will also save the government in power from engaging in corruption as a way for seeking funds for campaign re-election.
It is time we had the first amendment to our beloved 2010 constitution. How many are with me on this?