By Donald Kipkorir.
On Sunday, September 24, millions of Germans held its General Elections and same time ran the Berlin Marathon. Both ended peacefully with Kenyans winning the Marathon. How I wish we won the Marathon and also learnt and applied how the Germans conduct their Elections.
German electoral law is in its Constitution called the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) and the Federal Elections Law (Der Bundeswahlleiter). By them, all registered voters who number 62million cast two votes: one for their Constituency MP and the other for a party they like. There are 290 Constituencies like Kenya. So, 290 MPs are directly elected, and 290 additional MPs are allocated proportionally to all political parties that score over 5% of national vote. Such mix of MPs create a Parliament (Bundestag) that truly represents the face of Germany.
Elections are conducted by a Federal Election Board headed by a Federal Returning Officer. The Officer is appointed by the Minister for Interior. In turn, the Officer solely appoints 8 Members to assist him. This Board serve as Honorary members for love of country.
In turn, Elections are devolved to polling stations that are manned by volunteers. Party membership of the volunteers is irrelevant. Polling is manual though polling stations can use “KIEMS” like kit if they so wish. The polling station is open to the public and so is the counting and announcing of the votes. The polling returning officer then transmits the results by phone or electronically to the Federal Returning Officer. The manual ballot papers are also sent by courier.
All electoral complaints are scrutinized by Parliament. Thereafter, Petitioners dissatisfied can go to Constitutional. Very few are filed.
What makes German Elections one of the freest in the world are: Electoral Officials, irrespective of party affiliation are truly neutral, no one thinks of rigging or bribing in Germany, German integrity is impeccable and beyond reproach, polling station is truly open and so is the counting and announcing of the votes & people vote on conscience. Civil Servants including Ministers are truly politically neutral. Finally, all Germans love Germany. And no one is discriminated because of political affiliation. No wonder German is the only developed country with surplus economy.
If we are to do electoral reforms in Kenya, let’s copy Germany. We can’t just copy the manual voting without copying their integrity, patriotism and non-discrimination.