Actions point to attempt to influence election results

Friday March 10 2017

A voter casts her ballot in the Kajiado parliamentary by-election at Ilbissil Township Primary School on March 16, 2015. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A voter casts her ballot at Ilbissil Township Primary School in the Kajiado parliamentary by-election on March 16, 2015. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MAINA KIAI
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Over the last months, a number of seemingly unrelated events have occurred that should give us cause to worry about Kenya’s future. It is easy to see them as isolated events, but line them up together, and the dots connect in a way that bodes ill.

The first is the proposed deal to buy 12 military planes from the US for a price that is inflated by around Sh13 billion and from a “manufacturer” who seems awfully like a broker.

Given the sophistication and knowledge of our top military officers, there is little chance they could have been fooled on this deal. But if they were, then our security is in bad shape!

This seems like a deal to line some people’s pockets and with the elections so close, we should not be surprised that this attempted looting is thus linked.

Second, the frantic and coordinated efforts to stigmatise the person and office of Auditor General Edward Ouko are not coincidental. The fact that it is the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission leading the charge against Mr Ouko should give us pause, for it is this outfit that excels at “clearing” people in the favour of the regime, and persecuting those who are perceived enemies.

It is instructive that the push to smear Mr Ouko’s name intensified after he has persisted in doggedly pursuing the Eurobond scandal, which some would rather disappear.

NO WAY

The common denominator in these two apparent looting efforts is that there is no way they could be carried out without the support and approval of someone very high up in the regime, no matter the amount of anti-corruption rhetoric that comes from the regime.

Third, the recent hardline speech by Uhuru Kenyatta when he ordered doctors back to work, on penalty of the sack, as he ended negotiations with them following their months-long strike. The tone of the speech, the decision to maintain status quo, and the implied threat to disband the union should worry us all.

Remember that the problem with the doctors started with this regime signing off on an agreement that it patently had no intention to keep – much the same way Musalia Mudavadi was tricked just before the election in 2013.

Persistently signing agreements that one does not keep is called lying in plain-talk, and shows a propensity for impunity and a sense of entitlement. In the legal field, it would result in disciplinary action, including disbarment.

The doctors’ demands are not only about them. They include demands for a better working environment that would also benefit the ordinary people who access public healthcare.

By deciding to ignore and threaten doctors, Mr Kenyatta’s regime is showing that it’s contempt for ordinary Kenyans.

'PENSION' SCHEME

All this is happening as our MPs seek an exorbitant “pension” scheme for themselves, and after the ministry of Health showed us that it cares about connected tenderpreneurs more than about healthcare in the country. And now there is the request to increase the budget for State House to almost Sh10 billion, including for repairs and maintenance of State Lodges that are never used.

All these actions described above need to be seen within the context of the recent acquisition and public unveiling of trucks and armoured personnel carriers for the Kenya Police Service as it gets further militarised. We were “assured” that this military gear is for operations in hazardous security zones, but I bet that we will see them in action in many parts of Kenya after voting and as results are announced.

The fact is that when police forces have sophisticated military equipment, they tend to use them as soon as they can, and they tend to show them off. This is exactly what escalated tensions and led to chaos during the peaceful protests following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

All these actions point towards a firm effort to influence and force elections in a certain direction, by hook or by crook. They tell us that impunity will be celebrated, and harsh decisions will be taken, including by force, if people decide to protest – as is their right and is human – election results and processes that are too predictable.

Forewarned is forearmed.

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