Duale ;“Free and fair elections” – Raila’s threat to peace

Duale ;“Free and fair elections” – Raila’s threat to peace


There were plenty of memorable moments from Raila’s one-man debate show – His virtual admission of a NASA tallying centre in Tanzania, the clear absence of any plan to implement policy and of course his confusion over the identity of the moderators. But perhaps the most telling and certainly the most menacing moment was Raila’s refusal yet again to accept the results of the election, whatever they may be.

It is imperative that every candidate vying for a position on 8 August understands that whatever the outcome, Kenya will wake up and go about its business on 9 August. The world does not end at the ballot box. The sun will rise and set again. Life will go on. Election day must be viewed as a celebration of Kenyan democracy, not doomsday. The memories of 2007 are still raw. We simply cannot risk another descent into violence.

That is why President Kenyatta has consistently, publicly stated that he will respect the results of the election, should it leave him unseated and jobless. He reiterated his position once again during a recent Facebook Live chat. He said that if defeated, in addition to accepting the will of the people, he will “ensure there will be a smooth transition” of power. Uhuru clearly believes that the welfare of the Republic of Kenya comes before everything else. That must surely be a pre-requisite for any Presidential hopeful.

And that is why Raila’s comments are so disturbing. Questioned directly in front of the entire nation, during the televised debate, he was asked whether he would accept defeat. Raila was simply unable to give a straight answer to a simple question. Instead, he declared respect for the vote conditional, saying “We will accept free and fair results.” He then added a sinister threat, saying that there will be “no violence in Kenya, so long as elections are free and fair.” In other words, if the vote is not deemed “free and fair” then we should expect violence to ensue. Effectively, Raila has given licence to any angry supporter staring at defeat under such circumstances to sharpen their tools.

Raila has conditioned the peaceful elections that this country so desperately needs, on the degree to which the vote is considered “free and fair”. The validity of the election process should be the judgment call of the IEBC – Kenya’s independent electoral body. But Raila has done his level best to thoroughly discredit the IEBC at every turn. He has launched a plethora of tendentious legal appeals against their work, he has demanded resignations and he has persistently portrayed the IEBC as a Jubilee lapdog. The net result is that in the eyes of Raila and his supporters, the word of the IEBC is worthless.

Moreover, Raila has steadily discredited a lengthy list of additional national institutions too, accusing them of colluding in a ‘plot’ to ‘steal’ the election from him. Most disturbingly, without a shred of evidence, he has repeatedly and publicly alleged that the security forces are conspiring to rig his defeat. Many others have found themselves in Raila’s firing line, accused of scheming to ‘rob’ him of victory – The National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Kenya Forest Service, National Youth Service, National Intelligence Service, Nairobi Fire Brigade, National Disaster Operations Centre, Humanitarian Peace Support School, wildlife officers, KPMG global auditors and more.

In other words, Raila has created a fictional narrative whereby practically every public body is working against him. With so many ‘plotting’ his downfall, who do public institutions and officials think they are to declare a “free and fair” vote? In the Raila narrative, all are tainted. All are biased in Uhuru’s favor. And so, almost by a process of elimination, Raila has engineered a situation in which only he can determine a “free and fair” election. You can be sure that nothing other than a Raila victory will meet his threshold. Raila has cleverly laid the foundations to challenge the results, should he be defeated.

But the implications of such a scenario are truly appalling. As Raila himself said in front of millions on television, an election which is not “free and fair” will likely be met with violence. Apparently, it is a price Raila is more than willing to pay, so long as he can cling to the chance of power. This is not the behavior of someone fit to lead our country. Raila must be forced to pledge clear and unconditional acceptance of the results prior to 8 August. He could have done so when he had the stage to himself, with the nation watching and listening. Instead, he set the stage for the discord, unrestand violence which we all hoped and prayed Kenya had left behind.

Aden Duale , Majority Leader National Assembly

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