NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Kenya was on Wednesday urged to replicate its digital technology developments in the general election, to promote transparency and avoid odds of rigging.
Larry Diamond from Stanford University’s Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, says Kenya is ranked among the best digitally established countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and should apply this to the elections.
“If people will accept results, then it’s very important that elections are fair and transparent. We now have the technology to do what is called the ‘parallel vote tabulation’, it should be possible,” he told Capital FM News in an interview.
He said the country should adopt the expertise during balloting and vote counting processes to counter malpractices witnessed in past elections.
He further asked Kenyan authorities concerned with elections to ensure an independent monitoring system is put in place to observe transparency during the polls.
Diamond urged the government to also ensure security is put in place for all participants to handle any threats to security and stringent penalties applied to culprits breaching the law.
He advised Kenyans to change their culture of viewing elections as ‘a do or die’ exercise reminding them that life must go on.
“If your man or woman doesn’t win, move on. Don’t tear the country apart. Make things work by making your leaders accountable. There is a lot of work, there is devolution in the counties, make things work, go beyond the violence,” he advised.
He said valuing peace is requisite for the stability of the country and development as opposed to violence that rips the country of its economy and security.
“Too many Kenyans have been manipulated by politicians into thinking that elections is a do or die struggle; that they need to do anything to win and if they lose it could only that they were cheated. Countries don’t move forward, what they get is political instability,” he advised.
The professor encouraged Kenyans to participate in the electoral process and accept the results even if their favorite candidates do not win for the sake of cementing peace and continuation of proper governance.
“People need to reject violence. Let them think of the long term interests… they need roads, they need boreholes dug, they need tourists, they need the economy to grow,” he explained.
He also cautioned Kenyans against tribalism and reckless remarks before elections saying taking things for granted can easily see the country witness a repeat of the 2008 post-election violence.
“Kenyans should not deceive themselves into thinking they are immune from violence. It is easy to get out of control and get drawn to violence again,” he warned.
He also urged Kenya to separate the International Criminal Court cases from the country’s politics since the matter was a judicial process that is paying no attention to the political arena.
Diamond is in the country to hold discussions on the global democratic surge and recession and its implications for Kenya’s development.