Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Wednesday, 21 Dec 2016 15:35 EATakipchumba@kenyafreepress.com
The loquacious Garissa Town MP, Aden Duale, came out recently with some sensational claims that the storm petrel of the Kenyan politics, ODM party leader Raila Odinga, is conspiring to rig elections in 2017 using electronic system. This speaks volumes about the National Assembly majority leader. One could easily be ensnared into thinking that Mr Duale was descending the other day from the alternative universe. Or that he is living in the outlandish world of incessant fantasies.
What I find even more befuddling to the core is the fact that Mr Duale has wilfully and elatedly sunk too low to the point of entertaining the worst forms of ignorance, as long as he maintains his sycophantic relevance and sustains political clout. Maybe I am dead wrong. One famous philosopher said: “politics knows no stupidity”. I am certain the philosopher must have seen some of the shrewd politicians faking ignorance and feigning follies, so long as they are guaranteed of gaining prodigious political currency. Hence, the coinage of the above quote.
Mr Duale's assertions are questionable and ring hollow. Since I was parachuted into the domain of studying the patterns, trends, behaviours and influences of politics amongst other subjects related to politics, never in the wildest dreams of my imagination have I ever thought of any political opposition rigging election. Not even once. On the contrary, significant percentage of the incumbents are infamously known for rigging elections! In reality, Mr Duale wants us to believe that rigging an election is as easy as winking for those who are far from instruments of power. He would rather tell this to the flying birds.
Let me remind him some stubborn facts here. First, elections are essentially paramount in any democratic society. Through elections, people will be able choose their leaders freely, who will in turn serve them in positions of trust. The elected leaders, by and large, are given the constitutionally-prescribed social contracts, and by extension, term limits. In the same vein, the rules of the game are anticipated to be applied with unchallengeable equality. The electoral process, as a matter of principle, should be free, fair and transparent. Anything outside this sets the stage for uncontrollable pandemonium! Or if you like it, chaos.
The second fact that Mr Duale should comprehend is, incumbent presidents around the globe have predominantly been featured as “the most breakers” of the balanced electoral rules, much to the dismay of the oppositions leaders and hideous surprise of their backers. How do they, incumbent presidents, rig the systems prior to the election, or even amidst counting of votes? Well, the governments and oppositions have a rough outline of their political support bases. That is, their strongholds.
The powers-that-be are irrefutably in firm grip of state machineries, and can influence directly state departments and institutions. The incumbents call shots here. In young democracies like ours, electoral agencies often silently consult with the sitting president, under the cover of statecraft. Meaning if elections are to be rigged, then the person at the catbird seat will do as he wishes; influence electoral outcome. Mr Duale should know that Kenya is running short of foolish people, to borrow from the DP, Mr William Ruto. Oh! Allow me to eat a humble pie, please. Could be I misunderstood Hon. Duale, perhaps he meant “UhuRuto are planning to rig election next year”, given the state machineries at their disposal and the gullibility of the Kenyan voters.
Thirdly, Mr Duale needs to know that Kenyans have ceased believing in him, long time ago. Soon after the gut-wrenching and horrifying massacre of Garissa University students, Mr Duale went on record saying that he had names and identities of some Al Shabaab sympathisers and other key suspects linked to terrorism in Kenya. Kenyans waited for him to disclose the said names with bated breath, but to no avail. It later became apparent that Mr Duale was throwing dust to our eyes.
Some time back, this year, the top-ranking Jubilee legislator passionately said Mr Odinga was being paid staggering amounts by county governments run by CORD governors. He claimed he had “ironclad evidence” to underpin his allegations. This was so serious an issue that one could hope Garissa Town MP tables his evidences before the relevant authority. However, as expected, Mr Duale didn't prove his claims. Obviously, he had no evidence to support his claims, and was seeking only to malign Mr Odinga.
Mr Duale further claimed, behind the microphone, that Mr Odinga is working with American-Canadian identified as Michael Yard to hack into the system of IEBC and trounce the incumbent president, Uhuru Kenyatta. As if that was not enough, Mr Duale went ahead confidently to accuse Mr Odinga of meddling with the operations of the electoral agency, IEBC. Who is Mr Duale taking for a ride? Not me. He can't run away from this grim fact: going by what happened to the BVR systems in the 2013 elections, one thing is clear: the system was hacked by Jubilee's computer experts! KTN's 'Jicho Pevu ' and the 'Inside Story', ran by the station's fine investigative journalists Mohammed Ali and John Allan Namu, gave us very good hints into how the rigging was executed. Someone remind Mr Duale that the hackers are manifestly in his side of the political divide, Jubilee.
The last fact that Mr Duale must know is, Kenyans will judge Jubilee based on performance and merit! Kenyans want to know what became of the pre-election pledge of creating a half a million jobs annually, thousands of kilometres of tarmac roads, robust investment in irrigation schemes like the Galana-Kulalu, generation of more than 4,000MW of electricity, and so on and so forth.
The electorates hanker for explanations on where the Eurobond money went, NYS scandal that saw more than Sh790 million vanish into the thin air, the questionable use of the Ministry of Health's more than Sh5 billion, among other things that matter to the voters across the political spectrum. How mistaken is Mr Duale to ignorantly think that Kenyans have memories like sieves.
We deeply fathom Jubilee's diversionary and alarmist tactics aimed at psychologically boxing Kenyans into forgetting her terrible blunders; with the prominent one being runaway corruption! I can assure the likes of Mr Duale that corruption will come atop the list of major campaign issues. In a nutshell, the national assembly majority leader's unsubstantiated allegations linking CORD leader to poll rigging should be construed as part of Jubilee's wider diversionary political tactics. Nothing could be further from this truth!
Kipchumba is a staff writer/columnist at the Kenya Free Press