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March 31, 2014 / bswitaba

ISOC Kenya Elections; A reflection of our mediocre political and electoral system?

Our character is a reflection of the kind of society we live in, so goes the adage.
Weeks ago, Kenya’s local chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC) went to the polls.
The main aim to get into office individuals holding the interests of the chapter at heart. Prior to the e-voting day, mails from aspirants flooded my inbox minute after the other, with each candidate pitching by promising what they intended to do if elected. This is certainly not a new phenomenon world over when it comes to elections! I thought to myself. I mean after every five years of our country’s election calendar, Kenyan voters are wooed in a similar manner with the same old promises – even from politicians who did not do anything worth close to what they promised the electorate in the previous elections.
Must be the syndrome NARC Kenya’s presidential candidate Martha Karua once termed as “voters selective amnesia…” Choosing what to forget and vice versa.

The ISOC elections don’t seem to be any different from our very own general elections so to speak.
The candidates are at it just like our politicians, telling the would be voters what they will do and not how they will do it. I haven’t met the aspirants in person so to speak save for one Barack Otieno. Barack Otieno happened to be seeking re-election. His profile is rich and unmatched as he happens to be actively engaged in the dotAfrica initiative amongst other top ICT networks across the continent.
For the rest seeking re-election, all they can say is “If elected I will do this and that…..” The “I will” are so bounty that I don’t bother to go through their so called “Manifesto” to the end. One question that remained begging on my mind is why those seeking a second term or third term weren’t telling us what they had done so far during their tenure in office. As I ponder over this, a new e-mail in my inbox. It’s from one gentleman highlighting what he has achieved while in office and what he hopes to achieve if re-elected. This one wins me over for sure.

On D-day – I don’t manage to vote though as I am air bound to Dubai.
Days elapse then I see an e-mail from the ISOC electorate mailing list.
The elections have been bundled! Goodness gracious me. Can’t we ever learn that we can lose with dignity? Must we always win in deceit?
The mail goes further to explain that there were election mal-practices. Some voters did double or triple voting. How is that even possible in the first place considering ISOC members have IDs. Why would people do double voting yet there’s a voters register?
I wonder if there were virtual MIB(Men in Black), similar to the infamous MIB at ODM’s elections in Kasarani.
The mails that followed afterwards from irate and dejected voters summed it all up.
That we are nothing but a reflection of our own mediocre political and electoral system. We moan of rigging at national elections but embrace it for our selfish interest when we are the ones running for office or involved in our circles.
Mahatma Gandhi once said “Be the change you want seen in the world”. How do we then change Kenya if we can’t start by changing ourselves and our mindsets?

We are living in the 21st century but democracy is surely now turned democrazy!



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