The last time Kenyans rallied together for a national political cause was in 2002. We were all excited at the thought of doing away with a despot and begin our journey towards proper democracy. Kenyans have since 2002 reverted back to their tribal cocoons propping up individuals who could bring the cake closer if not home.
The CBA 7 are therefore a breath of fresh air considering that they are a group from diverse backgrounds but have stood their ground for what they believe. Personal and political interpretations aside, this is how all of us should approach this coming elections. What is in it for us? This is a question the youth should ask of our top contenders from both coalitions. The women and other special groups like people with disabilities and the old should rather than align with “their man” ask themselves, what they stand to gain from the next occupant of the House on the hill.
Thankfully, Activist Okiya Omtatah persuaded the court to direct IEBC to extend the Mass Voter Registration (MVR) by three more days ending Sunday. Those who were cut off by their reluctance or last minute culture should have no reason to fail to register. IEBC constituency offices remain open till 7th May.
And while we’re on IEBC when will this important institution ever be ready? Everything gets them flat footed. The Electoral Agency CEO Ezra Chiloba twitted his frustration with the Court’s ruling annulling the award of a Sh2.5 billion tender for printing ballot papers. The 145-page judgment by Justice Odunga, criticized the manner in which the procurement process was carried out, ruling that, “Fundamental departure from public sector governance practice is the idea that board members should be engaged in procurement activities.”
This commission is putting out so many fires it is unsettling considering how close we are to the elections. Already their decision to hire KPMG to audit the voter’s register has been challenged in court. Again, is IEBC prepared to deal with this in the event the challenge is successful or we shall have them sigh again at their lack of foresight? Needless to mention the myriad of challenges we’ve witnessed with this last MVR campaign.
Also while the IEBC Chairman has begun on a good note trying to get both political sides on the table to calm temperatures; it was rather strange for the electoral agency to meet key politicians in their backyards. Meeting the President at Statehouse moments before announcing their position on Diaspora voting; meeting Opposition leaders at Capitol Hill and finally meeting Jubilee officials at their Pangani offices only makes the politicians own the process rather than the other way round. Elections are about us-Kenyans and how we want to be governed and not how politicians want the elections to be carried out. IEBC need to make this clear and argue from a point of strength, not visiting people in their comfort zones.
Back to the CBA 7, while we may waste precious time arguing about the political influence that is playing out, one thing is clear. Their resolve for the welfare of their 5,000 members from different backgrounds and more importantly the doctors who have stood by them regardless. When people stand together for a common cause, ignoring the many things that make them different from each other and focusing on what makes them human, success follows.
The doctor’s strike has had adverse effects on the common man and sad as it is, we have something to learn from their resolve to stand by each other. Can we the people stand by each other on August 8th and focus on people who only have our interest? Like the doctors let’s stop aligning with “our man” and align with those with our interest only. But to do that, register to vote this last two days of Mass Voter Registration (MVR), and then identify true leaders you can rally around. And on that note, ignore the suit-voting idea that leading politicians are telling you. Choose your leaders carefully, both in parties and independent candidates too. That’s how we get proper leaders.