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Tuesday 8 January 2013

Kenya: Parties Must Act to Avert Violence Ahead of Polls

As the country prepares for the watershed elections on March 4, it is imperative that measures are put in place to avert the violence that sent the country on the brink of a precipice in 2007/2008. But if the current wrangles ahead of the party primaries are anything to go by, the situation could degenerate into unprecedented violence as contestants battle it out to get their names on the ballot come March 4. The current wrangles have been occasioned by methods of nominations adopted by parties that formed coalitions with a view to winning the forthcoming elections.

It is not lost on observers that the coalitions were formed by strange bedfellows, with the sole interest of clinching the country’s presidency. Be that as it may, the parties that form the coalitions and even the individuals gunning for nomination on these parties’ tickets are perennial competitors that have no love lost between themselves. It is against this background that they have rejected joint nominations proposed by some of the coalitions. The only way out of the stalemate is to allow individual parties to conduct their own nominations and pick the best candidate to face opponents from other parties, including the ones from the same coalition. After all, it is only the President and his running mate who will be elected on a single ticket. The rest of the candidates will have their names and party symbols on the ballot. The coalitions must therefore listen to the complaints from contestants to ensure that nominations are free and fair. Only then shall the country proceed to the general elections in a free and fair atmosphere.

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