Consider the following scenarios:
– The chairman of the African Union Moussa Faki Mahamat comes calling and President Uhuru Kenyatta tells him his governing Jubilee Party is ready for the August 8 General Election, but the rival National Super Alliance (Nasa) is keen on sabotaging the poll. Nasa tells him the story in reverse;
– A lawyer for the International Criminal Court (ICC) says in Arusha the court may revive the crimes against humanity cases against President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto if a cooperative government in Nairobi deems it fit.
The latter, without proffering any evidence, tells several rallies in a region that was hit by the 2007/8 post-election violence, which triggered the cases, that Nasa plans to revive the cases should they take power in August;
– Nasa supremo Raila Odinga maintains that given the official voter registration tallies, his coalition has the numerical strength to garner 10 million votes and whitewash Jubilee in the presidential ballot.
But Jubilee, he says, is determined to rig the election, which is why Nasa must safeguard its votes at polling stations on August 8;
– Nasa has consistently painted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the government as the Siamese issues from an unholy relationship between the vote umpire and the government.
Jubilee counters that Nasa has sensed defeat and is running scared and crying foul in preparation for a rejection of the people’s will;
– When DP William Ruto is heckled in Mr Odinga’s backyard, forcing him to cut short his address, his supporters in Baringo respond swiftly and in kind.
They make it abundantly clear that if the DP cannot campaign in Kisumu, “Ojinga” cannot campaign in Jubilee turf; and
– Mr Odinga says members of the disciplined forces, including the military, and among them 42 serving police officers, have been recruited by Jubilee to obviously act as partisan IEBC officials.
True or not, it is a sickening reminder of the recruitment and misuse of Administration Police in the 2007 General Election by the government.
What do these scenarios portend for the General Election only 15 days away?
One, the atmosphere has been poisoned by the President and his Deputy on the one hand, and Mr Odinga and his Nasa supporting cast on the other.
They have run negative, acrid and putrid campaigns and their supporters have religiously fallen in line and, as a result, the air is thick with foreboding.
Two, Africa is alarmed and fears Kenya may burn, which is why Mr Mahamat and the Thabo Mbeki-led African Union poll observer team came calling last week.
In 2008 it took a foreigner to stop us going hammer and tongs at each other yet we knew and know full well the folly and futility of poll violence.
Foreigners are struggling to open our eyes to reality nine years later.
Three, IEBC must deliver a free and fair or, in a word, credible, General Election.
It has to do this to avoid a repeat of 2007/8; prove it is independent; assure voters of security on voting day; and trust in counting of votes.
More importantly, IEBC must ensure that, overall, the August General Election is clothed and gift-wrapped in integrity.
Why? Listen to the Kofi Annan Foundation: “Elections without integrity cannot provide winners with legitimacy, the losers with security and the public with confidence in their leaders and institutions.”
Put another way, there is a heck of a lot riding on elections; if we get it wrong we could set in motion, as we did in 2007/8, a long and disastrous chain of events.
Mr Odinga and Nasa obviously have no time for IEBC as polls umpire and monster it as a vote thief for Jubilee.
The President and Mr Ruto portray Jubilee as the protector of IEBC against a peace-devouring monster named Nasa.
To save itself and Kenya, IEBC must, therefore, give the two devils a wide berth and only sup with them using a long integrity-seeking spoon.
Four, especially because our elections are winner take all, loser get nothing affair, it is absolutely important that they are free and fair if there is to be peace.
Listen to the Kofi Annan Foundation again: “When political rivals and supporters don’t believe that the electoral process is free and fair, they seek less peaceful methods to change political direction and leadership.”
Last, and sad, having not learned the lessons of 2007, are we ready to reap the whirlwind?
Opanga is a commentator with a bias for politics [email protected]