NASA must never violate the rights of Kenyans in Thursday election
If NASA will not participate on the Thursday election, the best gift they can give this country is not to attempt to scuttle it. Whatever Raila Odinga’s intention is, it is his democratic right to boycott the presidential election. The constitution guarantees that. A candidate for whichever elective position can pull out of the race out of his or her free will. Voters can as well choose to vote or not; it is also their right that is deeply enshrined in the statutes. This is why turnout during elections is never 100 per cent.
On the flipside, democracy also dictates that those who choose to exercise their franchise must be allowed to do so freely without any interference whatsoever from any quarter. A candidate who decides to skip the polls for whatever reason must never interfere with those in the race. Any forms of coercion, intimidation, threats of violence are therefore unacceptable during elections.
Given this democratic precepts, it is wrong for NASA to say that elections will not be held on Thursday. There are millions of Kenyans who want to go to the polls. Who are they to stop them? The Independent and Boundaries Commission, despite facing a myriad of challenges, has been preparing for the elections. Billions of taxpayers’ money has been pumped into the process. Jubilee has also been campaigning spending resources and time. They have been doing this knowing that they are on the side of the Supreme Court ruling and the Constitution.
It is interesting that NASA completely stopped campaigning after the ruling. They have been complaining that the playing field is tilted against them. However, there are credible reasons to believe that they have never wanted the elections in the first place because they were thoroughly beaten on August 8. It is also emerging that they are cash-strapped; that is why they have resorted to holding press conferences at the comfort of their posh offices.
BY working to poison the atmosphere for the repeat presidential elections, NASA is being insensitive to the rights of other Kenyans. This is preposterous and intolerable. Already, they have made it difficult to conduct training for election personnel. The incident in Kisumu where IEBC staff undergoing training were assaulted is to say the least barbaric. This has compounded an already difficult job for the commission.
NASA top leadership is busy sowing seeds of discord and despondency with the ultimate objective of driving this country to a breaking point. Nobody has violated their rights just because they have threatened to boycott the polls. It is therefore wrong for them to attack and make life hard for those who are ready for the polls.
Just asking; is there any law that Kenyans and the IEBC will be breaking by going to the polls on Thursday? No of course. However, if NASA will deliberately foment chaos and make it impossible to hold the polls in a free and fair manner, they will be flagrantly violating the fundamental foundation of the law, which is that people have the right to choose the leaders they want. The preamble of the Constitution expressly states that the sovereignty of a nation is domiciled in the people.
This is not to discount the fact that there are political questions that we need to address as a nation. There are plenty. For instance, how did we arrive at the current dicey situation in the first place? Where did the rain start beating us?
However fundamental these issues are, we must deal with them within the confines of the law. The moment we set aside due process and circumvent the institutions set up to guide our affairs and ensure law and order prevail, we will be treading on very dangerous grounds of anarchy. This is essentially what we will be setting ourselves up for by failing to go to the polls.
Of course it would have been the best scenario if NASA principals adhered to the Supreme Court ruling and abided by the constitution and agreed to participate in the elections. This way, the apprehension that has suffocated this country would have instantly evaporated and Kenyans would have gone back to their normal daily lives devoid of fear. However if they boycott, the least they can do for this country is to allow peace to prevail.
We must hold this election. If we don’t, we will be deep in a perilous constitutional crisis. Admittedly, we will have a political crisis after the election, but a political crisis is easier to handle than a constitutional one
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