It is still under a week since the political big wigs (and some smaller wigs) rushed around in a final day of frenzied activity to sign up their coalitions for the run into the election. Six days later and the rag-bag coalitions are coming apart at the seams, an important element of the pre-election nomination process has all but collapsed and voter registration is in a mess. Forget post-election chaos for a moment, Kenya is witnessing pre-election chaos on a grand scale.
‘A DAY OF HIGH DRAMA’
Sunday Nationcolumnist Gitau Warigi termed the events of last Tuesday (the closing day for announcing political coalitions) as a‘day of high drama’ and brilliantly set out the farcical nature of the day as Charity Ngilu ‘stormed’ the ‘ODM-Wiper nuptials’, Mudavadi ‘frantically’ tried to contact Peter Kenneth, and Eugene Walmalwa tried to negotiate with just about everybody.
‘GROTESQUE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE’
On a day of massed arranged marriages no one wanted to be left at the political alter waiting for the bride to turn up. The result, as another Sunday Nation columnist Kwendo Opanga noted in an excellent article, was ‘marriages in the most grotesque political landscape Kenya has seen since the return of multi-party politics’ that brought together some ‘strange bedfellows’ come the wedding night.
COALITIONS SPLIT AT THE SEAMS
Now what do we have just these few days later?
Charity Ngilu has now ‘stormed’ in the other direction, left Raila Odinga’s ODM/Wiper/Ford Kenya coalition talking of ‘betrayal’ and is apparently talking to Uhuru Kenyatta’s team; Uhuru is at loggerheads with Mudavadi in the ‘Jubilee coalition’, and Wamalawa has reputedly had further discussions with Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga, William Ruto and others.
POLITICAL PARTIES DISPUTES TRIBUNAL – BROKE
Who will sort this mess out if it all ends in acrimonious dispute? Well not the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal who are supposed to arbitrate in the case of disputes between political parties in the run up to nominations.
Peter Simani, the tribunal’s chairman, is reported in today’s Star newspaper to have written to the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga stating that due to a lack of funds it can longer discharge its duties as required under the Political Parties Act.
It’s not just a lack of money that has hampered the work of the Disputes Tribunal, they also do not have an office. They were accommodated in Anniversary Towers but that space has been taken over by the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
IEBC CHAIRMAN – SIX MILLION WILL NOT BE REGISTERED
Talking of the IEBC its chairman, Mr Issak Hassan announced at the weekend that they are unlikely to meet the target of registering 18 million Kenyan voters by the deadline of 19 December and are now looking at a figure nearer 12 million. So that’s six million Kenyan voters who could be disenfranchised.
That’s going to be useful come Kenya’s next election – useful for the side that loses that is. Imagine, whoever loses will just claim that their voters were not registered; and they may have a point.
VOTER REGISTRATION KITS ALLEGATIONS
Meanwhile the IEBC is embroiled in a dispute over how the expensive (and lucrative, for someone) contract to provide the ultra high-tech BVR voter registration kits was awarded (‘New tender row hits IEBC over supply of voter roll equipment’, The Standard).
Brilliant, isn’t it?! We’ve only had four years or so to prepare for the elections and look at it! The only thing Kenya’s up to time with is laying the grounds for electoral chaos and more post-election violence.