In my oped this weekend Jubilee Don’t Dare Rig The Polls, I make the case why:
In the weeks leading to the last presidential election in the US, it became apparent that Hillary Clinton, though much loathed even by many in the Democratic Party, was inching closer to victory than her challenger, Donald Trump, started the talk of the election being rigged in her favour. This was a way to prepare his cult-like supporters for his loss, which never came to be.
The fact is, it is not possible to rig elections in the US and, according to experts, that has not happened in American history.
Rigging, however, is a mainstay of autocracies such as North Korea, Cuba, Belarus, Zimbabwe and less autocratic states such as Kenya, where incumbents, mostly rigged in to begin with, are never willing to transfer power.
Instead, they cling to power at any cost. What is rigging exactly?
For an election to be rigged, there has to be a top-down and intentional manipulation of the result, using the state machine such that the outcome is different from what it would be if the votes are cast and counted according to the elections law.
It’s interesting to note the only one time we did not have any rigging to speak of in Kenya was in 2002, when the opposition united to reject then President Daniel Moi’s project Uhuru Kenyatta. The wave and longing for change was too strong and formidable that Moi was wise enough not to even try rigging.
How sad Mwai Kibaki, the man whose presidency was ushered in with an aura of euphoria in 2002, would, just a few years later, nearly plunge the country into a civil war for his flagrant rigging and return of Kenya back to the dark days.
Thanks to the intervention by the Panel of Eminent African Personalities led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the opposition leader Raila Odinga’s resolve to find a peaceful solution to his being rigged, we had the formation of the Government of Nation Unity, making him Prime Minister while Kibaki remained as President.
Raila would yet again be rigged out in 2013, but under the circumstances, he found himself with few options but to counter the claim beyond going to the Supreme Court as he did, only to be rebuffed in what remains the worst decision to be rendered by that court, ever.
What about August 8?
Can one assume Jubilee operatives have continued to scheme ways to yet again rig out the opposition leader? Of course.
Will they succeed? The answer is No.
The winds of change and a united opposition, are just too strong and powerful to overcome with rigging, just as was the case in 2002, save in the minds of Jubilee hardliners.
What if that happens? What if these hardliners attempt to rig President Uhuru back to power, notwithstanding the clamour for change sweeping the country?
Well. We are a country governed by law and most Kenyans have no choice but to follow it. This means, seeking legal redress in the Supreme Court would be the first option.
However, in the event circumstances unfold pointing to a Chief Justice Willy Mutunga-like abdication of judicial duty to allow the status quo preferred by those in power, let it not be of any surprise to anyone such an affront to suffrage can and must only met with non-violent mass action to make sure the will of the people as expressed by the majority is effected.
Jubilee, you therefore have a choice: Let the will of the people be expressed at the polls in an uninhibited environment followed by un-interfered with vote transmission and tallying or the same outcome will be effected by either judicial or mass action.
NASA will not be cowed into not taking this route because of a few reckless henchmen more interested in clinging to power at any cost rather than ensuring peace and prosperity for our beloved country.