A clap for IEBC; a standing ovation for Kenyans
18 March 2013, 13:52
The whole world watched Kenya either directly or indirectly. It was the moment of truth for a nation heading into its Jubilee anniversary. March 4 was with no doubt a test of maturity for Kenya.
Having pulled off a comeback from the brink of total disarray, we were destined to undertake this baptism of fire to prove our worth before the entire world.
The very day we ushered in a new constitution, this day was planted on the path of our future.
Well the question is; how did we perform before the grand stage?
As early as 4am on March 4, polling stations started jamming with Kenyans who were eager to cast their ballots.
At exactly 6am, most of the polling stations around the country were up and running with long queues forming to facilitate order and systematic flow.
Clerks poured all over the open grounds to assist the citizens in locating voting streams and form orderly queues.
Kenyans did their part in ensuring they lined up to participate in their democratic right of casting a vote to decide the next governor, senator, member of parliament, women representative, county representative and president.
However, there are regions where voting was delayed for one reason or another. This made voting start late and resulted in disorder around the poling stations.
Kajiado County experienced a mini-stampede of sorts and this resulted to various injuries. The victims were however rushed to hospital in Kitengela.
In other areas, materials were not ready by the time voting was meant to start. This sort of scenarios created some unrest at the stations. Despite all this, the voting finally kicked off and they all were compensated for time lost by extending the closing time.
Of all that took place during Election Day and after, the most important part was the release of the results. The practical part of the test we were undertaking was the release of results.
This stage was critical because loss comes with disputes that are often physical in nature.
Actually, violence across the country is likely to be experienced during the release of results.
IEBC have proved that they are a credible team that can be trusted to manage an election. Although the electronic system failed, that was clearly beyond their scope of control because they only relied on a system that was designed by humans. To blame them for that technical hitch is completely outrageous.
Kenyans on the other hand played the biggest role in ensuring no violence erupted in any part of the country.
The peace messages that were flowing from all directions kept the fire burning.
People voted in a peaceful manner and later went home to keep a breast with the result as they “trickled in” - as the media houses preferred to report - from every part of the country and East African region.
Although the police service, national youth service, forest service, prison service and KWS were deployed in every corner of the country, Kenyans maintained calm that ticked up the NSE 20-share index up by 0.5 due to investor confidence.
This was the crown on the whole process.
A manual system was adopted to carry out the receiving, tallying and announcing of results thus creating some delay in the release of results for the presidential race.
However, all the other posts were being announced at various constituency and county tallying centers. This made it more transparent and credible before the citizens, candidates and the world.
As tallying was being done at the national tallying center, the media was let in with agents having verified the data at constituency and county level.
Such double confirmation made it even more transparent, free and open.
All over the world, Kenya has been portrayed as a mature democracy, and all it has taken was a peaceful people and a credible election managing body.
The security contingents in the country have also played a role but this time not by shooting around and arresting people but by helping around to ensure smooth flow.
Kenya has earned its place in the books of democratic and peaceful nations now the election winners should fold sleeve and get dirty at work.
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