As the dust settles on the robust campaigns in the just-ended Kibra parliamentary by-election, there are some positives that should be lauded and negatives that must be denounced as they undermine democracy.
Elections remain the best means for the people to directly participate in choosing their leaders and, of course, it's the candidate with the majority of votes who carries the day.
But without the loser, there would be no competition and the voters would be denied a chance to evaluate and pick the best.
ODM candidate Bernard Imran Okoth and his toughest challenger, Jubilee's McDonald Mariga, deserve kudos for being magnanimous in victory and humble and respectful in defeat. These are qualities that are sorely missing in many politicians, who see elections as a life and death contest.
However, this election has also manifested the worst in our political contests. The campaign, though generally peaceful and orderly, was not entirely free of the orgy of violence that has come to characterise our elections at all levels.
Also rearing its ugly head was voter bribery, which is endemic and synonymous with our elections.
We must condemn in the strongest terms the politicians, from both the ODM and Jubilee camps, who behaved badly in the Kibra campaigns and on the polling day. It's utterly disgraceful for leaders to hurl base insults at their opponents, and we saw a lot of that on the campaign trail.
Also unforgivable is the involvement of some well-known politicians in crude tactics and directly engaging in violence. This is conduct that is beneath what is expected of leaders. The culprits, be they the candidates or their supporters, must be flushed out and punished.