With just under four days to go, there is still no clear front-runner in the upcoming general elections in Kenya. According to the latest opinion polls, there is a statistical tie between the incumbent President Kibaki and the veteran opposition politician Raila Odinga. Many observers have acknowledged that this is going to be a very closely contested election and therefore there is need to keep it absolutely free and fair because whoever wins will not do so with a wide margin – unless we have been fooled all along by the opinion polls, a fact that is not entirely implausible since statisticians have been known to get it wrong some times.
Statistics and opinion polls aside, the whole world is watching; which gives Kenya an opportunity to demonstrate that true democracy can flourish on the continent of Africa. The onus is on the electoral commission of Kenya to ensure, as they have guaranteed, that there are no irregularities in the December 27th poll. Only then will the losers of the election concede defeat respectfully and allow the country to move forward with whoever gets elected as president.
Even though the two major parties do not differ much in terms of their ideals and the contents of their manifestos, I think electioneering is still an invaluable process because it gives a sense of empowerment to the majority of voters since it makes them engage their leaders and feel as part of one country, even if just for the brief period of campaigns and emotionally charged political rallies as we have witnessed in the last three months.
May Kenya emerge on the 28th of December a united and peaceful nation state ready to move forward with a sound development agenda.