I am actually frustrated with the “if the election is not credible, there will be no peace” narrative. But not for the reasons that most think. I’m frustrated because it is simplistic. The problem will not be a botched election.The problem will be that elections were the last option that Kenyans had to finally start the country on a path of social inclusion and dignity for most Kenyans, but the ruling class will have decided to take away even that.
My friend Lewis Gordon explains that oppression is the failure of options. To be a slave is to have no options. The slave cannot appeal to courts, to the church, or to the rule of law because the essence of slavery is to not be recognized by these institutions. So the slave has two options: to remain a slave, or to fight back.
Now, we Kenyans have exhausted our options. We did independence in 1963. Then we did multi-party in 1992. The Ndung’u report in 2005. The coalition government in 2008. A new constitution in 2010. TJRC in 2013. In between, we had major incidents of violence which we have never resolved. Kisumu in 1969. Wagalla in 1984. Molo in 1992. Rift Valley in 2008. Assassinations, extrajudicial killings and police brutality. You have to give it to Kenyans. We have tried all the options available. We have written novels and been detained. We have demonstrated and have been tear gassed. Except for 2007, we have voted and accepted results we didn’t believe in. We have asked donors for funds to do activism. Supported the ICC process. But when we allowed Uhuruto on the ballot despite the court indictments, and when the Supreme Court bench walked out of the court after a 10 minute ruling, following an unconvincing victory of the very family we’ve been trying to get out of power all these decades, that was the end of all options except elections.
That was what I was trying to argue when I said “this is what accept and move on means.” Jubilee supporters naively asked us to accept elections as the only option left for change. And not because they really believed that elections would change anything. They already knew elections were not an option, since they gloated about the “tyranny of numbers.” They told us that the Kenyatta family is destined to exploit this country and that there was nothing we could do about it. Not even elections. So if Kenya erupts after the elections, it will erupt because elections were the last option remaining for peaceful change. And we can’t say we didn’t see this coming?
So with less than 7 days before they vote, Kenyans have been treated to a spectacle of incidents that would be rejected by Kenihood (or Nollywood) directors for being too far-fetched and implausible in their entertainment value.
Unfortunately, these events actually occurred!
The country has seen its defense forces (KDF) roped into an increasingly acrimonious presidential electoral politics.
This was followed by an attack on the supposedly fortified Sugoi home of the man “one heartbeat away from the presidency” – Deputy President William Ruto – by an ever-shifting description of events and number of assailants!
The telenovela that played out in the verdant confines of Sugoi this weekend was immediately followed by news that the electoral body’s information & communications technology (ICT) deputy director Chris Msando had “gone missing”.
Mr. Msando, to help those who may be suffering from vertigo given the perpetually-shifting State House storylines in the run-up to the elections, was filling in for his boss, ICT Director James Muhati. James, for his part, had been sent on a 30-day compulsory leave for “for not cooperating with the audit department”.
For some perspective, let’s consider the universal truism that one of the principal areas of concern vis-à-vis a rigged or compromised election is its IT infrastructure. This concern was underscored by the presence of several IT specialists in the just-arrived EU and US elections observation teams this week.
(On a side but frustrating note, actions items such as ICT systems check should have happened months ago and the last week before D-Day dedicated to routine maintenance and checks. This was fully illustrated during the 2012 US Elections between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney when the latter’s voter-tracking custom IT system (ORCA) crashed – on Election Day!)
Regarding the leaked memo detailing the role of the KDF in “safeguarding” the upcoming elections, the usually structured and rigid military chain of command & communication, under the weight of dueling explanations between its spokesperson (Joseph Owuoth) and SecDef/presidential relative Raychelle Omamo, collapsed like the Sigiri Bridge.
And all this was happening even as the ballots were arriving from Dubai’s Al Ghurair, a company on whose board seats yet another presidential relative and First Bro Muhoho Kenyatta.
Folks, there is no mistake deciphering the now-fully formed tea leaves:
Jubilee will do whatever it has to do to stay in power; this as fully evidenced by what the country has seen this last week including:
– A staged assault, this time on the residence of the DP, to rally the base AND gain some sympathy votes and God knows what else,
– Dragging the military down the very slippery and perilous slope of involvement in the ethnically-stratified Kenyan politics,
– The tried and true disappearing/intimidation of individuals, this time key IEBC personnel, critical to Jubilee’s survival,
– And the equally tried and perfected art of ballot-stuffing – thanks to the incumbent’s direct line to the ballot printer – in case additional blank ballots are needed!
What portends a darkness that should worry ALL Kenyans is Mr. Kenyatta’s obvious willingness to use deadly force to extend his term in office!
I say “obvious willingness” because of the already-accomplished militarization of the Kenya Police and now -eployment of Kenya Defense forces to supposedly “safeguard” the elections, CS Omamo’s meandering and conflicting explanation aside.
The Kenya Police has been restructured into a para-military fighting unit; a mission far-removed from its “Utumishi Kwa Wote” motto. Like his father and political mentor who unabashedly used the security forces to extend their stay in power, the apple that is Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta has NOT fallen far from the diseased trees of corrupt and greedy appetite for power.
Fellow Kenyans, the only thing standing between the rest of the country and the power-satiated Jubilee incumbency is US – You and I – a tipping point of Kenyans willing and ready to turn out on Election Day – in numbers so massive and relentless that any attempts to deny them their will to vote out Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Ruto would be so obvious that it would compel the two to play it straight.
It recently happened in S. Korea in 2016 where a fed-up Korea ousted President Park Geun-hye.
It happened during Philippines’s 1986 “Yellow Revolution” under widow Corazon Aquino.
Brazilians recently ousted their corrupt President Dilma Rousseff and Venezuelans are just getting started pushing back against the maniacal government of Nicolas Maduro.
Finally, it happened in Kenya in 2002 when Kenyans, along with Raila Odinga, voted out the current president’s political sponsor Daniel Moi.
It CAN happen AGAIN on August 8 with enough Kenyans turning their back against the insatiable kleptocratic duo of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.