ballot box

Is Kenya the Emblem of Peace?

By Jackline Kwanusu

The 2022 electioneering period was a frenzy and a bee hive of activities, from the parties’ registers being audited by KPMG as mandated by the constitution, to the nomination list of candidates being submitted to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Committee( IEBC) marking the official campaign period that was marred by all manner of campaigns in the quest for the various seats in the ballot box.

Kenyans were treated to all manner of innuendos and the culmination of it all was the August 9th poll, where Kenyans streamed in their millions to the polling stations to choose their preferred candidates making the total number of votes cast to be 14Million, this was a drop compared to the 2017 elections that had recorded a high of voter turnout.

Voter apathy was attributed to a lack of civic education as IEBC in their defense stated a lack of control on their budget as a key failure in their delivery, this is as the monies were released late into the day. IEBC as the body mandated to conduct the elections did try in setting up just in time for the election of course with challenges here and there.

With the votes cast, tallying done, the inevitable was to be announced respective of the winner takes it all as is the tenets of the 2010 constitution of Kenya, there was a bit of discourse with President Ruto being declared the winner garnering 7.1 million votes trouncing his closest rival Raila of the Azimio coalition who managed 6.9 million votes, the announcements of the results was just the beginning of the long walk to the swearing-in ceremony as the Azimio team sought legal redress to challenge Ruto’s win.

The Apex court did seat and hear the case with a final ruling being made thereafter upholding the President-elect’s win. With the ruling having been made, the inauguration was evident and President-Elect William Ruto was sworn in as the 5th President of the Republic of Kenya. The 2022 election was rather peaceful with very few incidences of human rights violations, the police have been commended for maintaining law and order while exercising constraints in their operations, unlike in previous elections.

With President Ruto settling into office, he did move the autonomy of the police budget to the Inspector General’s office with this, we expect to see better security reforms on matters of police welfare and community policing as articulated in the police reforms working groups (PRWG)mandate where IMLU sits as a member. The announcement of the nominees for the cabinet secretaries is of interest as we await to see if integrity will be upheld in the vetting of the nominees or if will it be a matter of politics of loyalty where the president’s choice is seen as the choice of all the members of parliament who belong to his divide and the ones H.E has been able to woe to his side. Focus shifts to parliament as we await the vetting.

Kenya is and continues to be the benchmark of peace in the region, with the just concluded elections, we are cognizant of the fact that the absence of violence is not necessarily the presence of peace and President Ruto has a long way to go in reconciling Kenyans of all divide despite their political lining.