Thursday, August 14, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
August 13, 2008

In the last elections, Kamukunji constituency in Nairobi never got its results. The chaos of the day made sure no counting took place. Others blamed it on open rigging in the presence of the ECK appointed officials.

In the same elections, Kilgoris had to wait to be repeated nearly six months later. For Kamukunji, it became a forgotten constituency until the courts ordered the ECK to count and tally votes. And when the ECK officials returned to Kamukunji, it was not to carry out the courts’ orders but rather to do exactly what they did at KICC on December 30, 2007. They declared a candidate the winner without again tallying the votes!

Right now, as I write this article, the Kriegler Commission is rumored to be in the process of recommending for President Kibaki to disband the ECK. We understand that there is overwhelming evidence that because of their recklessness and negligence, the last general elections were the worst organized in fifteen years. If this be the case, why on earth would anybody with a half a brain ignore the mood in the country and go ahead and announce another fraud?

If what Professor Anyang Nyong’o is saying has any grain of truth, who in the name of God are some ECK officials acting for? If President Kibaki is planning to sack the whole lot, why would they be this suicidal with this blatant act in total disregard for common sense and basic decency?

It is true Kenyans are a patient lot. Leading the pack is President Kibaki. In other countries these ECK officials would have either been summarily dismissed or thrown in jail, their security of tenure notwithstanding. Causing the death of a single Kenyan due to their fraudulent act should have been a sure ticket to the courts of law to answer charges of causing the loss of human life due to carelessness. The crimes they committed against Kenyans are no different from those of careless motorists running over school children at zebra crossing.

The other day I heard the ECK moaning that it is powerless and that reforms should give it powers to prosecute election offenders! This is well and good, however, how on earth can a criminal be given the powers to prosecute?

The election frauds that were committed by various political parties and individuals took place because we had a compromised Commission. It was so compromised that it could go ahead and announce presidential results even after acknowledging that some field officers had disappeared with results.

Kenyans are yet to come to terms with the knowledge that Chairman Kivuitu went ahead and announced presidential results despite the fact that he did not know who won the elections. They must live with the fact that on his own admission, Kivuitu announced results after intense intimidation from certain political parties.

These unfortunate admissions are proof enough that these commissioners are not fit to hold public office because public service requires integrity, trust and sense of duty to one’s nation. In their case, they chose to serve narrow individual interests for reasons that Kenyans are yet to understand!

When selfless individuals are faced with a choice between individual and national interests, the heroes become those who choose national interest over parochial narrow individual benefits. The latter may suffer temporary setbacks and even persecution by the system of the day, but in the long run, they are remembered long after they are gone for the principles that they stood for.

In ancient Rome, Mark Antony stood for the good of his country as did Thomas Moore of feudal England. In our recent past, the persecution and even murder of Martin Luther King Jr. by forces in his society never killed his spirit. In death, his ideals have flourished a thousand times and his legacy is likely to live a thousand years.

For me street protests over the latest ECK saga are not the answer at this point in time. This country has buried too many of her children in the first three months of this year. The time now is not to organize protests but to kick the Electoral Commission out of office wapende wasipende! They cannot claim to have a stronger tenure of office than Dr. Andrew Mullei and Mr. Naashon Nyagah, formerly of the Central Bank and Justice Bernard Chunga, formerly of the Judiciary!