“If how we did nominations is how we shall hold elections, God save Kenya,” Mituma Mathiu in the Daily Nation:
The political party nominations are a complete, utter fiasco, and they tell us a great deal about Kenya’s political culture.
First, and this is what puts the lives of all us in danger, is that politicians are a law unto themselves. . . .
The primaries are still not concluded and disruption of normal business directly linked to political campaigns has already started; the greatest damage will be inflicted on small business owners when employees spend all day trying to vote as ballot papers and related materials are not available when polling stations open. There is an undercurrent of uncertainty in Nairobi because of potential violence that could suddenly manifest itself without warning at any time. For example 150 rowdy youths wearing TNA colors blocked Waiyaki Way -a major thoroughfare used by vehicles going to Lavington, Kiuna, Limuru and into the Rift Valley- just before noon on Friday which caused traffic to snarl and tailback into the CBD; without information drivers assume the worst and start looking for alternative routes or abandon their journeys entirely.
I did not vote despite receiving a text from the IEBC on January 14th which thanked me for registering as a voter and a subsequent reminder to verify my details; as a foreigner I ignored all the texts from the IEBC exhorting me to register as a voter but perhaps someone else made use of my slot? As the usual suspects release learned reports and analyses about the likelihood of violence during these elections and local and international observers, experts and activists start flooding into Nairobi it is hard to avoid the sense of déjà vie all over again. The US Embassy seems to closed for the MLK Holiday and the inaugural festivities.
So many times over the past five years we have heard that violence can’t happen again because “everyone” was so shocked by what happened last time. But not so shocked apparently to have felt much urgency to take concrete steps to change the security situation, or to weed purveyors of violence out of electoral politics. Not sure how anyone can really think that the basic ingredients are not still in place waiting for a catalyst.
It is now official: an African Union/COMESA Team wrapped up its week in Kenya and confirmed that Kenya was ready to hold peaceful elections on March 4th; that is certainly good news even for those candidates from counties where primaries had to be cancelled or where the results are still uncertain! Meanwhile silence reigns over the various embassies and high commissions as the IEBC prepares to roll out its voter education programme some time next week.
I saw that. Good news indeed. Everything does seem to be in place, then, for a sound election, as in 2007. Apparently I was confused.