Rig elections at your own peril: Odm-SA warns Kibaki
Prof. Fred Otieno
Picture by Clifford Derrick
6th Nov, 2007
The opposition, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) chapter in South Africa has urged the independent election observers to intervene amid allegations of vote rigging ahead of the general election in December, Writes Clifford Derrick .
Warned of Anarchy
Vusiyeka Sunguti, the secretary general for ODM SA chapter warned of anarchy in the country if the incumbent president rigs the election. However, he said, an attempt to rig the plebiscite would be resisted by the electorate.
He said: “Let them know that we are not sleeping and we shall use all the mechanism within our reach to ensure a free and fair election.” He added that “Raila has fought many battles on behalf of Kenyans and won, we have confidence that this is yet another battle that we must support him with all our resources and intelligence, and he will win.”
Kibaki determined to rig
Fred Otieno the ODM SA chapter chairman conceded. Otieno claimed indications show that Kibaki is determined to rig the election. He cited the trashing of the 1997 IPPG, and the replacement of deputy commissioner, Gabriel Mukele by people perceived to be aligned to president Kibaki as a precursor of undemocratic election ahead.
The presidential hopeful, Raila Odinga recently claimed that the voters roll had been tempered with as a way to rig the polls. It also emerged that Kibaki six people were “planted” in the electorate system.
Call for international community
“We are dealing with serious issues that need to be taken seriously by the international community to prevent anarchy from taking place in the event that the president and ECK continue to behave in the manner they have been behaving. When people loose trust and hope they can resort to undemocratic methods that may have serious ramification top the image of the country,” Otieno said.
Odinga’s action defended
Otieno defended Odinga’s action to expose attempts by some of the ECK officials to interfere with the voters records. “There is nothing wrong with what Raila did because he has officially written to the ECK to launch his complain. One can not trust ECK because of the ongoing interference with its leadership structure by Kibaki. Otieno argued that Raila’s decision to use the media was appropriate because he appreciates the role the media plays in enhancing democracy in the country.
According to Sunguti, Odinga’s decision to blow the whistle through the media was necessitated by lack of established independent systems to handle the electoral malpractices in the country. He sited the recent spates of violence netted to ODM members particularly in Kisii in which William Ruto, Omingo Magara and other members escaped death with a whisker.
Otieno warned of economic sanctions if the Kibaki government rigged the polls.
Crime against humanity
In Sunguti assertion, poll rigging was equivalent to a crime against humanity, “and perpetrators should be taken to the international criminal court of justice”.
He also accused Kibaki of violating issues of human rights, democracy and clinging on to power like some African leaders.
Presidency shoundnt be passport to plunder
Otieno said that presidency should not be seen as a passport to mismanage public resources. He argued that the devolved government through the new constitution will solve this problem. Otieno added that Kenya should move to a system where all the appointments to the public offices are done democratically through vetting to avoid cronyism, incompetence and plundering that has characterized most of these institutions.
Majimbo represent new managament style
On the majimbo debate, Sunguti argued that opponents of the devolved government are arguing from the ignorant perspective. People, he argued should desist from using historical definition of majimbo to link it with today’s situation. “Devolution of power means new ways of management where the country is divided into manageable regions,” he said.
Professor Otieno said that unitary government had created an economic imbalance in the country by creating a few rich individuals’ verses the majority of poor people who could not afford a dollar in a day.
Civic education on devolution
He said that devolution had succeeded in many countries including the United States, South Africa, Nigeria and Uganda. He challenged the civil society organizations to conduct issue-based voter education to clarify certain aspects of devolution that some few rich individuals have tried to distort.