21 January 2013

Kenya: Violence Should Not Rob Poll Winners

Photo: IRIN
Post-election violence (file photo).


Violence continued in parts of the country yesterday over claims that some politicians had unfairly been handed victories.

The fighting, blocking of highways and burning of tyres contributed to an increase in tensions ahead of the general election.

Yesterday, more than 10 houses and shops were torched in Homa Bay county. Riots also broke out in Kisumu and Siaya counties.

Political parties largely contributed to this state of affairs by scheduling the nominations at the last minute, leaving no room for complaints to be handled transparently.

Any party that would have conducted its nominations a month ago would have had plenty of time to resolve disputes and even order a repeat where necessary.

While political parties must accept that their dismal planning led to the mess, they should remain cautious not to rob legitimately elected leaders just to appease the public.

There have been instances reported where voters have claimed, without justification, that candidates declared victorious were obviously favoured because of their close relationship to party leaders.

Every effort should be made to address such grievances, but caution should also be taken to ensure that the real winners, not necessarily those supported by violent protesters, are handed their hard-earned victories.

Democracy dictates that majority have their way and the onus is on the various election election boards to reassess the chaotic polls and determine who were the real winners, and then present them with certificates before the deadline expires today.

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