The violence that erupted during the ODM nominations exercise for the Ndhiwa by-elections yesterday was very saddening. The violence erupted amid claims of vote rigging which forced the voters to attack the presiding officer at the Ratang’a Primary school in Kobama Division for delaying the voting exercise.
These actions by the Ndhiwa voters should leave us a worried lot, especially with the general elections fast approaching. At a time when we should be thinking that Kenyans must have learned a lot after the previous violence that engulfed the country after the 2007-2008 elections, this should not be happening. In fact, the actions by the Ndhiwa constituents should be condemned with the highest terms possible.
Our country has come a long way especially in elections related violence and the last thing we want as Kenyans is reviving those memories in our minds. From what was experienced in Ndhiwa, it was clear that the voters did not have trust in the electoral process for the by-elections nominations.
With preparations for the next general elections now in top gear, this is what the IIEBC, the body mandated to oversee next years general elections should be looking at. Already, the commission is working hard to ensure Kenyans regain the confidence in the electoral body and therefore, the Ndhiwa violence must be a very big setback for them. What is the commission doing about this? But this should not deter it from ensuring that Kenyans have full confidence in it.
Recent move by the commission to turn to the manual voter registration after the cancellation of the Biometric Voter Registration which was later revisit after the government came in should not also be a reason for Kenyans to loose faith in the Isaack Hassan led commission. This was one of the major setback the commission faced and the government came to its rescue promising to help it acquire the biometric voter registration equipments from neighboring countries which have used the same process.
The government intervention raised a heated debate across the political class and Kenyans with the independence of the commission being questioned. But as much as this is going on, we should not let IIBC lead us the Kivuitu way, and this can only be done if we give it a clean vote of confidence and trust.
Competitive as the coming elections are going to be, Kenyans should not let themselves manipulated by hungry politicians to cause violence. The electoral body should ensure that was experienced at Ndhiwa is not experienced in the future.
Nixon Kanali, Nairobi