MATHIU: If how we did nominations is how we shall hold elections, God save Kenya - Daily Nation

If how we did nominations is how we shall hold elections, God save Kenya

Thursday January 17 2013

 

By MUTUMA MATHIU [email protected]

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.

They will take whatever reckless risk they want so long as it advances their political agenda.

The big coalitions – Cord, Jubilee and Amani – put off their nominations yesterday (Thursday).

Their calculations is that by doing so, it would deny their members an opportunity to defect should they lose in the primaries.

So, they all went out, in the manner of sleep-walkers, to conduct a massive undertaking, almost in the same shape as a general election, allowing themselves only a couple of hours to do the polling, the counting, the tabulation of results, the processing of results, the appeals, adjudication and re-runs and dispute resolution. All within 24 hours.

It takes our usually incompetent electoral commission months, if not years, of preparation and billions of shillings to mount a similar undertaking, often with disastrous results.

The parties believed their own delusions of adequacy and thought that they had the mechanisms to carry out a nationwide election and have a credible result in a couple of hours.

The fundamental problem is that everything is subordinated to the base wishes of politicians. We wrote a constitution and laws which addressed exactly this kind of embarrassing chaos.

The Political Parties Act was written, I believe, by reasonably smart people, to strengthen parties and free them from being taken hostage by candidates at election time.

It required that one be a member of a party for at least six months before one is offered a ticket to run for office.

Therefore, they needed to have been party members in October 2012 for them to be nominated to run in this election.

In their own wisdom, and because they have no discipline, class or sense of proportion, MPs started messing around with those provisions to make life easier for themselves.

At first, they reduced the period to three months, perhaps because they were worried that if they declared that they were members of parties other than those that sent them to Parliament, they would lose their jobs.

They messed with the law until that safety period was completely removed, thus allowing political parties to attempt to carry out nominations for the senate, MP, governor, and women’s representative in a single day only hours to the close of the official nomination period by the Independent Electoral Commission.

Meanwhile, the IEBC, which has independence boldly displayed on its name and nowhere else, as well as the Registrar of Political Parties, have been sitting on their hands and trying to disappear into the chairs in the hope that no one notices them and takes offence.

Those two institutions appear to be run by nancy boys and inoffensive little ladies who can’t understand why people don’t seem to get along – people to whom the position, the prestige and the money is more important than the imperative need to exercise control over a political system long gone rogue for the sake of our country.

We can’t move ahead unless we get organised. The nominations would suggest we are far from getting it.

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I am a cynical fellow, but I wasn’t always like that. There was a time when I believed in the innocence of things. But after a lifetime of being lied to, I treat human beings with scepticism.

For example, when you see widespread or blatant criminality, you would be a fool to believe that it is the work of criminals acting aloof of society.

Thus, when you see thugs closing a whole street and ransacking businesses, you are an idiot if you believe that they are working alone.

Similarly, if you see cattle-rustlers slaughtering whole villages and stealing thousands of animals, it would be smarter to keep an open mind as to the perpetrators of the crime.

Someone is killing our elephants in industrial quantity, perhaps even mowing them down with powerful rifles from aircraft.

When this happens, and 163 tusks are found, only a fool would believe that this is the work of a group of villagers who have passed the hat around to buy a few rusty WW1 rifles in Eastleigh.

If any more elephants are killed, I will start a very noisy campaign against some people.

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