Opposition demands on polls recipe for chaos

BY FADHILI KANINI

Via mediamaxnetwork.co.ke

The coming election cannot be subjected to hardened political positions, poisonous hatred or baseless demonstrations. The eight-day ultimatum issued by Cord and threats are no more than mere political posturing borne of a constant rubble-rousing mindset.

None of these theatrics are conducive to a level playing field or a credible, free, fair and transparent election. It is reckless to conduct an election without a backup method of tallying the votes and transmitting the results where the ICTs malfunction or fail, or are hacked into.

Instead of stirring dissent on the basis of unfounded claims, the Opposition should be doing everything to ensure that any contingency is covered. Employing intimidation to exorcise the demons of serial loss at the polls at the expense of peace for 40-million-plus Kenyans is wrong.

According to CNN, the Obama administration is preparing retaliation against Russia for meddling in the recently concluded US election. The bone of contention in this developing diplomatic imbroglio is manipulation of the American electronic voting systems.

The ongoing standoff between Russia and America is a classical example of how vulnerable electronic voting systems could be penetrated by unscrupulous racketeers intent on delivering poll victory to losers and persons whose chances to win are out of question.

And if America, the home of Silicon Valley, can suffer such an attack, should Kenyans not be afraid a thousand times over of premeditated meddling of the electoral process via electronic manipulation? In 2007, the last time a President of Kenya sought re-election, the Opposition disputed the results and the country descended into a crisis.

In 2013, the Opposition, yet again disputed the result, but this time the Opposition went to the Supreme Court and its petition was dismissed. An electronic system devoid of manual back-up is a recipe for disaster; and which would cause the Opposition great consternation if the outcome of the polls does not go their way.

As the debate rages, Kenyans must ask themselves why anyone would be so desperate to make violence and disruption a tool for political negotiation. Kenyans should imagine the possible damage that despotic mindsets are capable of fomenting. Our decision on this matter must, therefore, be guided by sound reason.

Fadhili Kanini is a communications consultant

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