Opinion

After Kenya’s election results, what next should be done?

As the dust has been settled on Friday night by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) by declaring the final official results of Kenyan Presidential Election, the-55-year old Uhuru Kenyatta has been re-elected for the second time.The opposition should now respect the outcome of the election.

Whether there were indeed shortcomings and controversies surrounding the ‘electronic vote-tallying system’, as defined by the opposition’s ‘hacked claims’, and the subsequent refusal of signing off of the final results of the election.

Whatever the reaction of Mr. Odinga’s supporters might be, Kenya should not be driven back to its bleakest years. The ‘will’ of the people of Kenya ought to be respected whatsoever the case might be. The disputes over the election’s results must not be resolved through meaningless confrontation, but through constitutional gears or within the law.

The electronic vote-tallying system should be acknowledged as a major achievement for both Kenya and the region (EAC).It certainly offers a unique experience and opportunity to resolve the region’s complex election problems- should it be extra carefully examined. One must truly confess that Kenya is undoubtedly embarking on the road to the electronic government Club.

Kenyatta’s nostalgically re-election speech of extending hand for cooperation and partnership to the opposition-sets a good precedent. And it should be backed by all Kenyans irrespective of their social and political affiliations, by regional and international community. Though few incidents occurred after the National Super Alliance (NASA) leader fraud assertions and denial to concede defeat.I firmly refuse to entertain the perception made by some short-sighted politicians that Kenya will slide back into senseless civil strife, alike to 2007 crisis. The people of Kenya have individually or collectively learned from their past mistakes.

Most recent data from the World Bank Group (WBG) and Kenya’s Economic outlook 2017 shows that; “economically the country has had a significantly growth projected a 5.9 percent growth in 2016, rising to 6 percent in 2017”.The report continued that: “Kenya has met a few of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets, including reduced child mortality, near universal primary school enrollment, and narrower gender gaps in education. Interventions and increased spending on health and education are paying dividends. While the healthcare system has faced challenges recently, devolved health care and free maternal health care at all public health facilities will improve health care outcomes and develop a more equitable health care system”.

Kenya, on the other hand, has the potential to be one of Africa’s great success stories from its growing youthful population –who are more urban, better-educated, and more connected to the outside world, besides, it has a dynamic private sector, new constitution, and its pivotal role in East Africa; this all marks a dawn of a new era for development in the country.Thus, Kenyans has no strong reason to jeopardise their well-being and backtrack to the notorious 2007 catastrophe.

While I respectively submit to Kenyatta’s plea for collaboration with his foes the opposition, I must however underline that; the best way to peace, tranquility, and stability in the country goes beyond rhetoric and few emotional lyrics, it should require in the first place; honesty and the political will to encounter the glum truth or the shortcomings of the election . To make sense of this, there is need for a genuine National Dialogue that will ultimately occasion the following;

  • Reiterating the national sovereignty and protection of the supreme interests and loyalty to the State.
  • Denounce violence in all its forms.
  • Adherence to thelaw(constitution) to address the election problem, and the outcome of the court must be vehemently accepted.

 

  • Promote the culture of peace, tolerance, national reconciliation in order to heal the wounds created by the election.
  • Strengthen the social fabric and the consolidation of peace and peaceful coexistence among the Kenyan people.
  • Protect the families and care for youth to achieve security, protection and social security.
  • Enhance the capabilities of the state in achieving comprehensive security and fortify society against individual unscrupulous or countries that wants to see Kenya overwhelmed with socio political schisms.
  • Establish the values of justice and equality among citizens on the basis of the rule of law,

 

Of course all this might not be a panacea to the recurrent post-election conflict in Kenya!But if the President insists on enforcing it, it will surely absorb the tension and places the country forward into a deserving place.

But, what always prick my skin and irritate it,is the fact that East African leaders do not constantly learn from their past experience of handling elections outcomes.To be sure, after the 2015 Burundi’s Presidential Election, reports disclosed that the country plunged into chaos causing death toll of the innocent citizens and destruction of properties. That tragedy would have been shunned should the President resort to a dialogue with his rivals to restore peace and tranquility in the country. Evidently, they are now not living in peace.

Likewise, Uganda recently emerged out of terrible presidential election (precisely in February 2016), the opposition leader who is Museveni’s long standing rival Dr.Kizza Besigye was disgracefully humiliated-The New York Times reported that at least two people had been killed and 20 injured in riots during the week of the election . Rightly, all this could have been avoided had the President resorted to dialogue.

That is why, national dialogue is imperative. It should not always be held after the country leapt into troubles. It should constantly be held with a view to water the tree of civic rust and peaceful co-existence among the people of the nation.

In conclusion, once again I appreciate the President elect, Uhuru Kenyatta for his call for a unity and cooperation with NASA’s camp. He has truly exhibited leadership character and political matureness.

This election, regardless of its malice-represents a model in modern ‘East African History’ given the management, the resources stoked in, and the quality of the technology used.Therefore, I am of the opinion that; this election is the most successful election that has ever been held in the region (EAC).This opine is also substantiated by regional and international reports.

The author is a visiting lecturer at Upper Nile University. He can be reached at 0955450033 or at lokidenelia@gmail.com#

By Alex Lotiyu Elia

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