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Ethical issues in elections in Kenya


Date Posted: 1/1/2014 9:30:01 AM

Posted By: saucer  Membership Level: Gold  Total Points: 4885

Ethical issues in elections

Since the attainment of independence, Kenya has made great strides in the realization of a democratic country. We got our own president in 1964; in 1992 we had the first multi party election system; in 2002 we saw an end to Moi ’s era of 24 years; In 2010 we saw the promulgation of the new constitution; in 2013 we shall have the first election under the new constitution. These are all major steps taken to see Kenya have a good democratic system. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who fought to see these accomplishes to light.

Though Kenya has come a long way to uphold democracy, it still has a greater distance to cover to combat the ills that put democracy in bad light. These evils include; tribalism, corruption, ignorance, neo colonialism among others. If they are not put to an end democracy in our country will forever be handicapped (on its knees at the mercy of these evils). The scales will always tilt in favor of those who know how to use them to gain the upper hand, leaving those with good intentions and the poor voiceless.

The election period in any country is usual a tense time because it is a period that determines who will have power given to them by the people to represent them in parliament, senate or on an international level. During this time, the true colors of politicians are shown or suppressed whichever will get the vote in the ballot. Election games are the most dangerous because everything is allowed and many people get hurt. Murder, intimidation and bribery are the most common vices associated with elections.

To avoid such misconduct by vying candidates and supporters, there is an election act in Kenya that

is aimed at keeping everybody in check and make sure there are no foul plays during the elections. This has however not reduced the number of election fraud by considerable margins because the enforcement stage of this election act is marred by corruption and corrupt politicians get away with murder and election fraud. This is unfortunate because if evil wins the people’s voice will be suppressed and their opinions will not be heard.
So what are some of the ethical issues that should be addressed during the election period to avoid fraud cases and loss of lives?
1. Bribing of voters
2. Intimidation of opponents
3. Making of false promises
4. Disuniting people along tribal blocks

1. Bribing of voters
If you ever have a sit down with a politician who has won a seat he/ she was vying for and ask them in he or she won without bribing voters. The answer is a definite NO! in Kenya it is almost like a tradition to get bribed by politicians during the election period. It is almost impossible to run a clean campaign and win. Even good leaders who are ethical and out to represent the people properly find themselves forced to bribe the voters in order to win because it is the norm. This vice started with the first multi- party elections that saw massive bribery of voters and from then on the only way to win an election has been through bribing voters.

2. Intimidation of opponents
This intimidation of the opponent has been accomplished by death threats to the opponent or threatening the family in order to compel he or she to drop out of the race or to stop opposing the one carrying out the threats. Normally goons are hired to beat up and rough up the candidate. In the previous elections we have heard of political candidates claiming that acts of violence have been carried out against them to force them to drop out of the race. Such cases have been thrown out of court because the one who threatens is now in power and in a position of influence the decision in his favor. Some unfortunate politicians have died when the death threats have been carried out and end their lives and political dreams. Politicians hire goons to disrupt the campaign rallies of their opponents where they are throw stones and chant anti- slogans. This is unethical.

3. Making of false promises
Kenyan politicians are fond of this unethical measure to ensure they slyly lie to the electorate to get them the vote and power. The people have been for a long time have been lied to and they have continued to vote for politicians who are not fit for the position but the false promises draw the curtains on their eyes so that they can not see beyond the lie. The making of false promises is given a boost by bribery and the electorate especially the illiterate do not see the conniving schemes of the unethical politicians.

4. Disuniting people along tribal blocks
This is a scheme that has been used by all politicians to get votes in their respective tribal blocks to get more influence on the national block. This is a very bad way to go about in politics: voting for someone because they belong to the same tribe is not a wise way to choose a leader. This is why there have never been any development projects in some areas because the elected politicians sit on the chairs knowing that the people will not vote against them because they are from the same tribe. This is very unfortunate because most of the time he or she is right to count on the votes of his or her people.

The elections of 2007 and the violence that followed soon after was associated with politicians disuniting people along tribal blocks to achieve their political ambitions. This led to senseless violence that saw loss of life and destruction of property. Neighbors turned against each other because they realized that they were not of the same tribe which was not an issue before but politics used it to be a weapon to destroy the Kenyan spirit.

Now that we have seen some of the vices associated with elections; what are some of the ethical issues that should be upheld during the same period?
1. Educating masses
2. Debating policies and issues affecting Kenyans

1. Educating the masses
Fighting illiteracy is the first step to remove the shackles on the feet and hands of poor Kenyans who are manipulated by politicians and used against each other to elevate and get a seat of power. Educating the electorate on how to choose good leaders by looking at the qualities of their leaders. The people should make smart decisions that will benefit the community at large. They should reject leader who come to buy their votes, use intimidation techniques on their opponents, make false promises and disunite the people along tribal blocks.

2. Debating policies and issues affecting Kenyans
Ethical leaders should be engrossed on the development agenda of the country and instead of engaging in political propaganda discuss issues affecting the people and find solutions to problems affecting the people.

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