Get the count right for peace, stability
Kenyans have conducted themselves peacefully ahead of and during the voting period. They have also demonstrated great patience as the counting and tallying of votes goes on. Their behavour has sent an encouraging message that indeed, it is possible to hold credible and trustworthy elections in Kenya. This, in itself, is a milestone that we all ought to acknowledge and celebrate. Indeed, it should become part of Kenyans’ national way of life as it is a demonstration that our democracy is growing and maturing.
However, like all good things, the prevailing peace and calm faces a major risk. Historically, Kenyans have never had problems during the voting period. Trouble starts during the counting and tallying, especially when citizens feel that the numbers do not add up. This is the risk that we must all guard against.
Electoral officials and security agencies must be constantly alive to the fact that all the great gains we have chalked up so far can be undone by haste in the counting and tallying of votes. That is why we urge election officials to ensure that they get their numbers right, even if that means taking more time.We also commend the Ministry of Education for extending the school holiday considering that many schools are being used as voting and tallying centres and the officials there still need the facilities so that they can complete their onerous task without pressure.
Despite the challenges that they faced when voting opened, majority of electoral officials have done a commendable job as have the officials at the national level who have been giving regular updates to the public. They must, however, maintain this going forward so that any citizen or candidate who feels aggrieved can be given a platform for their voices to be heard and their grievances to be addressed.
Finally, we urge religious leaders to pray for the country and for peace to prevail even after all the results have been proclaimed. Kenyans take elections seriously. A win or loss for their candidate has far-reaching ramifications. Whereas the government has a role in managing how citizens react to the announcement of results, religious leaders have a great deal to contribute by guiding the nation and counselling their congregations.
We encourage them to use their platforms to unite the country and heal any differences arising from political affiliations. They have a key role to play in guiding Kenyans as they prepare to go back to their normal businesses once the election dust settles.