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Elections will soon be a ceremony of the few

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Elections will soon be a ceremony of the few

March 29 th.

 

There are several schools of thought, the most infamous ones being: that leadership failed to mobilize their supporters and IEBC failed to effectively educate the potential voters. The role of the duo is acknowledged amid their resounding interests. Let us view electioneering from a social contract perspective (where the voters are the employers). Do employers need the counsel of prospective employees on which tools are required, when needed and how to acquire them?  Certainly not. IEBC is the referee or the hired recruiter but the ultimate decision rests with the electorate.

The above scenario where power rests with the people may be merely rhetoric if it is not appreciated by the authentic possessors. That is why despondently the interplay of all stakeholders is needed to trigger the threshold required in the process. The authentic possessors (the people) ought to tread carefully because ours is a representative democracy. In instances where only 100 people may duly rise up to their call of duty, then a majority or plurality required in a democracy will carry the day. 

Any Tom, Dick and Harry would possibly be tempted to speculate further and they have the privilege to do so. But here is why the problem is bigger than it seems. The target population is largely youth who by any gambles would be vigorously interested in being voters so as to exercise one of their fundamental democratic rights. Voting. Their perceived let-down to turn up speaks volumes on the disenfranchisement of wider society and the underlying circumstances.

With lingering doubt now based on the turnout, Kenyans are termed as political in nature. To introduce new voters into the electoral system would be the most exciting process. New leadership is always keen on this populace. This is especially owed to the view that they are likely to vote without the heavy garments of tribe and bribe.  Perhaps this is what our country needs. Folklore has it that the youth have drunk from the fountains of the past and supposedly unwilling to soil their hands, are merely afraid to cast the ballot. Some claim they can attribute no relationship in their electoral participation to practical realization of their dreams and general well-being.

In moral and political philosophy, there are legitimate expectations of the governed, in our case the electorate. By wider consensus their rights are to be protected by the leadership they elect. While we should reckon that merely failing to register does not necessarily interpret dissatisfaction with leadership.However, reading from the dismal voter turnout in the just concluded by-elections in Malindi and Kericho signals a worrying trend which we may want to curb. But let us not take comfort that this could also be attributed to factors like timing, logistics, awareness, ID cardsand so on in their low.

 

The only viable solution to adapt to increasingly low participation in the highly competitive electioneering process is investment in the people and institutions.  These must undergo a process of change. On the other hand, they need to be accompanied with the implementation of transformative   ideas in the context of good governance principles as enshrined in the Constitution. Far from it, elections will be a ceremony of the few. 

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