Here is free advice to those seriously contemplating running for the Presidency in 2022. To Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Amason Kingi, Hassan Joho and Gideon Moi: If there is nothing done on electoral justice, uprooting and remaking the IEBC — from staff to commissioners — and ensuring that electoral laws are fair, just and promote competition, you have absolutely no chance.
You will waste time, money and energy for a cause that is already decided.
This is not about who has what votes and what sort of coalition you can cobble together. In the current scheme of things, actual numbers do not and will not matter. For who can affirm with confidence what votes were cast for who in August, given the fact that fake forms were reported in the court-led scrutiny? Who knows what the servers — famously in Europe — actually showed?
And who knows how many actually voted in October, given the strange figures that belied the turnout we all witnessed live on television? All we have are figures from the IEBC, full of contradictions and confusion!
Fact is, the structure of the electoral system is seriously wanting, and produces numbers that are convenient for those in power. It is about the fact that Supreme Court orders can be ignored willy-nilly, without contempt charges or pushback from the Supreme Court.
And it is about the fact that IEBC — from its staff on up — remains a tool for those in power, as Roselyn Akombe and Wafula Chebukati confirmed so graphically for us.
Some of you may be thinking that given this situation, it may be better to accept the bribes of Cabinet seats and other ‘lucrative’ parastatal positions so you build a war chest for 2022. But be warned: If there is no progress on electoral reforms and justice this year, you can kiss your ambitions goodbye. Time is of essence.
Never you mind the self-serving counsel of the US ambassador that elections are over and we should focus on development or something else.
That he speaks the language of Jubilee speaks volumes about his motives. He wants calm, not justice.
He wants calm on his watch rather than the turbulence we need as a country to sort out our problems or they will come back and bite us even more painfully in a few years, after he has written his memoirs on how he “saved” Kenya.
And for those thinking that they can somehow wangle the running mate position in Jubilee in 2022, you better think again. Precisely because of the lack of electoral justice and because numbers count for naught, all the cards are in the hands of the person in defacto power today. Period.
This is the person who will decide who the running mate will be, conscious of the fact that without electoral justice and deep reforms, the results are as good as done. So for the Mt Kenya mafia fighting over whether to support the status quo because it may lead to the running mate position, you are dreaming. And for those in Western Kenya salivating for the position and hoping that that will cement their status in their home regions, you are lost.
Essentially, the situation we are in is eerily similar to where we were at in the 1990s when Daniel Moi tossed around the Vice Presidency (VP) position as a bait to potential rivals to remain in Kanu with him.
So there was Simeon Nyachae in 1992 convinced that he was the anointed one, but coming to naught after he had messed his credibility with the opposition.
There was the “Central Province Development Group” (where the present Attorney General was a valuable member) bending over to ensure that George Saitoti was retained as VP so he could inherit the presidency. There was a vast array of inconsequential politicians in Western Kenya giving it their all to be seen as loyal so as to get the nod.
Ultimately, without electoral justice, we can be sure that the return of the Moi era will be complete in 2022 together with the corrosive corruption and repression that those of us born before 1980 know so well. Pity we are the minority now!
Maina Kiai is a human rights activist and co-di- rector at InformAction. [email protected]