Are you a Jubilee supporter, and are unsure whether to celebrate Thursday’s repeat presidential victory? Are your friends and colleagues from the other side – the National Super Alliance (NASA) or National Resistance Movement (NRM), we are no longer sure how to refer to the Opposition – telling you there is nothing to celebrate because of a ‘poor voter turn out’?
Are they telling you that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election is invalid and illegitimate because NASA leader Raila Odinga was not in the ballot? That the courts will still overturn our sweet victory and push us back to the polls?
Worry not. Just listen to them, smile back and pat them on the back.
Remind them that we are all Kenyans, regardless of which political side they support, whether they voted or not. That we are still brothers and sisters united by our common motherland and that we need to now unite and build the country.
Because that is exactly what we should be doing. Preaching peace, calling for unity.
Elections are over. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be declaring Uhuru Kenyatta the winner of the repeat presidential poll anytime soon. Soon, President Kenyatta will be sworn in for his second term to allow him to unite our country. We now need to get our country back after months of endless political rhetoric, uncertainty and push and pull.
This was a big win for Jubilee through whichever means you want to look at it. At 7.3 million votes – as per Saturday evening – Uhuru’s haul was almost 91 per cent of what he got in the nullified August 8 presidential elections. A no mean feat by any means. If that was not a confirmation of his big win on August 8, then I don’t know what is.
Yet it could have been bigger.
Repeat presidential elections all over the world are charecterised by shockingly low voter turn outs. Kenya is not unique in any way. Picture this. On a normal General Election Day, a voter is expected to cast six ballots – for the presidency, governor, senator, Member of Parliament, Woman Representative and ward representative.
These are all high stakes elective positions in their own way, and candidates will stop at nothing to ensure they pull as many people to vote as they can. Hence the long queues charesteristic of any General Election Day. This time round, there was only one seat to vote for, and the nubers were bound to drop whether Raila Odinga took part or not.
And then there is the issue of the tension filled environment surrounding the vote.
Remember, the more than seven million votes polled by the President are minus what he would have gotten in the so called NASA strongholds, and other areas that are not necessarily NASA strongholds but are under their control. It is in such places that hired militia wreaked havoc, preventing Jubilee supporters from accessing the polling stations and even chasing IEBC officials. Granted, Uhuru had less support here, but they would have increased his returns. Elections are about numbers remember.
Add this to the fact that majority of Kenyans are tired of the endless politicking. Never before in the history of Kenya has the country been subjected to two elections in a span of three months. Never before have we had to endure so much political noise. The ordinary Kenyan was fatigued, and it somehow affected the turn out.
But as you celebrate, be mindful of that neighbor who is feeling aggrieved because of the endless lies peddled to him/her by politician. As Jubilee supporters, we need to rise above the hate being peddled in the other side. We need to understand that they — the NASA supporters who did not vote – had a constitutional right not to. That in not voting, their voice was heard, even though ours was heard loudest.
And if someone tells you that the election was illegitimate, remind them that Chief Justice David Maraga came out to vote. If you may, show them Maraga’s picture as he cast his vote accompanied by his wife in Nyamira. Ask them this one simple question: How was the election illegitimate if the Chief Justice himself — the man who heads the court that ordered a fresh presidential poll in 60 days – turned up to cast his vote?
The victory is ours. Let’s savour it by promoting and preaching peace.