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The upcoming General Election will not be the end of our lives

The sooner we get this election off our backs the better for everyone.

There is too much tension and bad blood tied to it to make anybody comfortable.

Amid allegations of opponents wanting to postpone the election to seek a nusu mkate arrangement to numerous counter-claims of rigging plots using the military and God knows who else, many of us have been left not knowing what to except.

Once upon a time, our electoral cycles were so refreshingly unremarkable that nobody outside the country cared a hoot about them.

BLOODSHED

That changed irrevocably after 2007. Now every busybody from Africa and the rest of the world must turn up when we hold elections to sniff around anticipating bloodshed.

The Africa Union chief executive Moussa Faki was recently in town to meet politicians and IEBC officials.

He was accompanied by former South African president Thabo Mbeki who will be heading a large team of African monitors.

The Europeans have already sent their own big team of observers.

Like is their habit, they have been busy giving warnings about what they see to be the likelihood of widespread violence.

POISONED ATMOSPHERE

Many people had hoped that with the coalescing of individual-vehicle political groupings into two large formations, our politics would become less personalised and toxic, especially during election campaigns.

Yet what we are seeing is the same poisoned atmosphere witnessed in 2007.

Frankly I don’t expect there will be anywhere that level of violence, but unless the main candidates tone down their rhetoric there can be nasty pockets of it here and there.

For starters, the constant claims of rigging should be avoided where there is no irrefutable evidence.

They only cause alarm and needlessly de-legitimise the electoral process.

PUBLIC FATIGUE

The endless court cases against the IEBC, some rather frivolous, were already causing public fatigue.

Yet however cleanly the IEBC manage the election, post-election agitation about rigging will never go away.

That is the rule in Africa. However, whichever party is aggrieved by the election result, let it resort to the courts, not the streets.

The contestants should also do away with their endless use of martial language.

This is not a “war”, it is simply an electoral competition. The opponents are not “enemies”, they are competitors.

FIGHT

The supporters are not “soldiers” going to fight. They are voters going to vote with a ballot, not bullets.

The late Senator Otieno Kajwang’s anthem – Vijana msilale, bado mapambano – set a bad template.

Matters are not helped by the fact that there is evident bad chemistry between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.

Believe you me, the “my brother” storyline you keep hearing is quite fake.

It is only meant for public consumption. Raila considers Uhuru to be an illegitimate usurper of the crown which should have been his in 2013.

TROUBLEMAKER

Uhuru, on his part, has taken the line of the previous two presidents who considered the Opposition leader a disruptive troublemaker and bad loser.

***

The latest county polling results from Infotrack hold some interesting surprises.

Against all odds, Meru Governor Peter  Munya is ahead of his former political mentor Senator Kiraitu Murungi, albeit narrowly, in the governor’s race.

Less of a surprise is that Kisii Governor James Ongwae holds a commanding lead against his challenger Senator Chris Obure.

Another poll shows former cabinet secretary Anne Waiguru obliterating the competition in Kirinyaga, who include Martha Karua.

EVANS KIDERO

The poll also shows Mike Sonko pulling up against Nairobi incumbent Evans Kidero, with the rest of the candidates polling embarrassingly insignificant numbers.

It also shows Mombasa’s Wiper candidate Hassan Omar Sarai has a lot of work ahead to catch up with “Sultan” Hassan Joho.

Most Kenyans don’t trust polls at all. Perhaps that is why even the reputable polling firms have shied away from carrying out regular presidential poll surveys, unlike with the case in 2007 and 2013.

But done conscientiously, they can give good pointers. It’s not the size of the sample that necessarily determines accuracy. 

Warigi is a socio-political commentator [email protected]

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