By Sammi Nderitu
My fellow Kenyans, the political campaign bells are ringing; they are getting louder as we speedily hurtle towards 9th August 2022. Party primaries are over and all counties, constituencies and wards have determined candidates who will go head to head with each other as they seek to bag the political seats. With a plethora of candidates on the arena, the promises are equally many. Some are promising heaven and one is left to wonder how they will fulfill them.
The leaders we have today were voted for in the previous elections based on the promises that they offered. Some have delivered on those promises while others forgot about them as soon as the last vote was counted and the certificate of victory handed over to them by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. (IEBC).
Dear citizens, I want us for a moment to forget about the promises for better roads, better school infrastructure, free bursary and medical care and what not. Let us look at the human and fundamental right to life, free speech and freedom of assembly.
As a nation, we have continued to experience gross violation of human rights especially perpetrated by those in authority. In our report, documented between January to December 2021, on the state of the nation, the ‘Twin Crisis- Police Brutality during Covid-19 Pandemic in Kenya,’ we recorded 210 cases of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment and punishment. Out of these cases 182 (86.6 percent) were violations attributed to police officers
Four months into 2022, we continue to document cases of torture and other forms of abuse that is being perpetrated by the police. This begs the question: Don’t we have elected leaders who can be trusted to stamp their authority in enforcing police accountability? Why should you vote for someone who promises to construct roads yet looks the other way when his/her electorate are subjected to inhuman treatment by those that are supposed to protect them? How will a road benefit you when a police bullet has sent you to your maker or has paralyzed and confined you to a wheelchair for life?
Dear Kenyan voters, let us not be blinded by rhetorical promises from those that are vying for political positions. Elect leaders with a sense of integrity and high moral ethics. Leaders who can be trusted to pass legislative bills in county assemblies and parliaments. Elect leaders who will actualize police reforms and ensure that every police officer is held accountable for his/her negative actions.
It is your utmost duty to ensure that your human right is upheld at all times. Your right to speak, assemble, freely move and get justice is paramount and should be upheld at all times. Your vote is your authority. It is your surety in ensuring that the people you place in authority do not use the police force to infringe on your rights or silence your voice when you demand for accountability in how tax payers’ money is put into use.
Vote wisely and soberly on 9th August 2022.