Opinion / Commentaries
Sunday, 16 Apr 2017 15:37 EAT
In his article, dated September 13th 2016, The Fatality of Democracy: Why Elections are rigged in Africa, Martin K.N. Kollie states that "Democracy in Africa is difficult to flourish, because there are too many kleptocrats, autocrats and opportunists flooding the political parameter. A free, fair and transparent election on the continent is rare due to anti-democratic precedents mostly devised by failed and corrupt regimes. Democracy in Africa is eclipsed by immaturity, impropriety and intolerance. Africa has democracy in theory, but not in practicality."
Going by Kollie’s words, for Kenya to realize democracy and the incumbents to accept the will of the people isn’t a ride in the park. With rampant claims of rigging that rocked the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) primaries held recently in Busia, it clearly reflects what will happen in August 8th during general elections. After voting and counting of results was done for gubernatorial race, Sospeter Ojamong was declared the winner by the ODM returning officer and then handed the nomination certificate.
Mr Ojamong's main competitor who is also the Member of Parliament for Funyula Dr Paul Otuoma rejected the results after citing many irregularities. During the vote counting, Dr Otuoma was leading by a landslide. It is said that after realizing that Dr Otuoma was about to emerge the winner, the Busia county election Board decided to delay the results for some areas to create room for rigging in favour of the incumbent Ojaamong.
The ODM National Election Board received the results. After scrutinizing them with the aim of making the final announcement as required by the party constitution, the Board noticed major irregularities and nullified the whole gubernatorial nomination exercise and ordered a repeat.
The development in Busia reminds Kenyans of what happened during the 2007 general elections. The biased nature of electoral officers, coercion, secret ballots, late printing of ballots, inadequate civic education, disappearance of ballot boxes, vote buying, invalidation of votes, disenfranchisement, artificial result, confusing ballot papers, voter impersonation and inaccurate recording of votes are concocted and anti-democratic strategies employed by incumbent regimes to rig elections.
The question many people are asking is “Should NASA expect to win in the upcoming general elections?” It is obvious that the predicament that has faced Dr Otuoma is calmly awaiting NASA coalition. Many are waiting including the NASA main competitor who is also the incumbent, the Jubilee party, the way they will handle the Busia case bearing in mind that ODM is built on the pillar of democracy and one of the main parties that build NASA coalition.
The writer is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press