Politics in Kenya are going through a troubled period. On October 26th, repeat presidential elections were held in most counties. These were preceded by protests. The leader of the opposition called for a boycott, resulting in an unusual low turnout. Joshua Wambugu hopes transparent leadership will emerge.
photo Wochit Politics, YouTube
‘The recent elections are a rerun of the elections in August this year, when officials were elected for all six elective posts at different government levels. The narrow majority won by President Kenyatta was not accepted by the opposition. After a petition that declared the election procedure invalid, the Supreme Court of Kenya made a ruling that new elections must be held. Fortunately, everybody accepted this decision.
Meanwhile in the international news, I see that my country is portrayed as a mess, which I find exaggerated. For instance, some friends showed me the Dutch NOS headline “Chaotic election day in Kenya”. It is true that barricades are regularly built by protest groups, but this is also just a way of expressing their opinion. Fact is that many people are afraid of an escalating situation like we had in 2007, when widespread violence broke out after the elections. From what I hear, this is the main concern of Kenyan citizens about elections.
The main area in which Kenya needs to make progress is towards more tolerance. Kenyans still view each other as different tribes on political issues, while they are really fellow citizens in a comparable situation. People should learn to engage more in debate. At the end of the day we can agree to disagree, but there has to be continuity. I believe that it is the role of the president to demonstrate this by being transparent. That is the only way of showing that the government is functioning properly. This will hopefully build more trust in the democratic system.