Kenya: Abandon By-Elections for Negotiated Democracy, Muslim Leaders Urge Kenyans

A section of Muslim leaders is now urging Kenyans to turn to negotiated democracy, a practice of agreeing how to distribute political positions in advance of an election, as an alternative to by-elections witnessed across the country so as to save taxpayer money.

According to them, the country is currently facing financial challenges and economic turmoil brought about by effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, hence no money should be wasted on mini polls.

Led by the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) Organising Secretary, Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa, the leaders say this is the way to go especially now that there's a pandemic.

Their calls come barely a week after elders and leaders from Garissa County settled on businessman Abdikadir Haji to succeed his late father as the devolved unit's Senator, a move Sheikh Khalifa has lauded.

On Tuesday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in a notice gazetted Mr Haji as senator-elect after no one challenged him for the seat.

The agency made a declaration of no contest, declaring him as the duly elected Senator for Garissa County.

Sheikh Khalifa noted that if the country follows this approach instead of conducting by-elections, the electoral body will save taxpayers money and reduce the toxic politics that comes with campaigns.

He also noted that people disregard Covid-19 Health protocols during elections.

"With less than a year to the general elections, we need to give Kenyans a break from politicking. Going the negotiated democracy way is an alternative we can embrace as a country. Kenyans have witnessed the violence caused by the campaigns in Matungu, Kabuchai and Nakuru," Sheikh Khalifa stated.

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