I have the right not to vote in 2017

Written by
  • 3 years ago
  • Posted: February 22, 2016 at 2:28 pm

As I pen this article, IEBC is busy registering new voters or allowing existing voters to change their voting stations in order to vote in 2017. According to news aired on NTV last evening, by the end of the first week only 18,000 new voters had been registered in Nairobi County against an expected half a million new registered voters by the end of registration period. Knowing that Kenyans are generally a last minute population, it is too early to write off the voters registration exercise as a failure, as, even in the past voters registration exercises, the deadline for registration had to be extended to allow for the influx of those requesting registration at the last minute to be accommodated.

Even so, by the end of the registration exercise, there are millions of those who wouldn’t have registered as voters, me included.

I will not waste my time to register as a voter for three reasons:

  1. There are no foolproof processes for a free and fair elections in Kenya
  2. The political candidates especially those vying for the Presidential positions are not those I would waste my time to vote for
  3. Even if there would be some desirable candidates that would truly change the politics of Kenya from tribal, corruption filthy and pettiness to ideological, developmental and sound economic values, the status quo will still ensure that such persons don’t win the elections.

1. Foolproof electoral processes

Let my friend Ephraim Njenga explain this point on my behalf:

Unless the following changes are instituted there may be no need to roast in the sun voting next year;

1. Constitutional amendment that bans politicians from making any explicit or implicit reference to tribe or tribal groupings during their campaigns. Any politicians who does to be banned for life from any public office

2. Voting to be strictly electronic through an ATM like machine with facial recognition camera. Identification of voters to be exclusively through biometric features. Counting of votes to be entirely electronic with no human intervention

3. All polling stations to have CCTV cameras during voting. Results from any polling station without CCTV recordings to be excluded from final tally

4. All politicians to declare their source of money used for campaigning and to file with IEBC details of any donation they may receive

5. All people seeking to vie for elections next year to declare their wealth and its sources and to go through a lifestyle audit undertaken by international detectives. A person declared unsuitable by this committee to have no right of appeal and to be subject to further investigation and possible prosecution.


6. The Presidential election to be separate from the other elections.

Part 6 of Ephraim’s recommendation for a free and fair elections doesn’t have to be implemented, but without a foolproof electronic vote casting and counting system, I do not see any reason why anyone of the right mind should waste their time to go vote in 2017. And, as an emphasis of Part 1 of his recommendation, I want to state that unless a time comes when at least a third or better still a half of Luos, Kalenjins, Kambas, Kikuyus and all the major tribes think politically differently, that no political candidate or party can use tribal groupings as important variables when calculating potential wins or losses, then the few whose political ideologies have surpassed ethnic thinking have the right to refrain from voting in tribally inclined political processes.

2. All current potential Presidential Candidates are hogwash 

There was a time I believed wholeheartedly that Raila Odinga is the Presidential candidate that could remarkably change this country for the best, and that’s why I voted for him in the 2007 general elections. Then the PEV happened that gave him the premiership. His behaviours as the country’s Prime Minister revealed how the same side of a coin he was as Moi and Kibaki and now Uhuru Kenyatta – all hogwash. You only need to have a shallow look at those who constitute his political party and coalition to arrive at this conclusion. His constant defence for his friends adversely mentioned in corruption related scandals also speak for itself. His own involvement in some of the corruption scandals that for reasons of political expediency haven’t been conclusively investigated are also a matter of public knowledge.

The ills of Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy are as clear as the day. Kenya is broke. According to information available to anyone who dares asks, almost all government suppliers haven’t been paid for over six months, and the situation is getting worse. Recently the government admitted to not having funds to build new politechniques after close to all high level politechniques were turned to useless Universities that offer half baked courses. In Maasai Mara University, one of the lecturers turned out to be a form four dropout. To make matters worse, the amount of money needed to build new politechniques this is year is equivalent to the money missing as a result of NYS scandal.

Then there is the Jubilee Manifesto. In there we were promised five world class stadiums build in five regions in Kenya. 2017 is next year, do we have even one complete? Or even started? The laptop project for class one that’s still years away from being fulfilled clouded the promises for free school milk. According to a recent anecdotal survey, Kenyans are sicker (healthwise) than they were two years and are not able to easily obtain medical care.

And lastly, every pocket that does not have direct access to tenderpreneur opportunity is broke. The youth have no jobs (just post any form of job on OLX and monitor the response), and Kenyans are today surviving on loans – the M-shwari type of loans.

Who do you think deserves your vote? Personally I have none. So why would I waste my time lining up to vote in 2017? Maybe to vote for a governor and a senator and a women’s rep (what do those women reps do in the first place?) and an MP and an MCA? Maybe.

3. Even if there was someone to vote for

Assuming after reading this article one of you manages to convince me that there is a Presidential Candidate worth wasting time on during the voting day come 2017, you and I know that Ephraim’s recommendations will not be implemented between now and 2017. With the current electoral process in place that have minimal input from technology, we know that the status quo will still ensure that there is no way a totally new unknown person can come from nowhere to register a meaningful impact results wise during the elections. After 2017, unless unforeseen political shift happens, the President will either come from Jubilee or CORD – the two hogwash political entities.

That’s why you have the right not to vote in 2017

Kibaki called those who don’t vote fools. All politicians and those who buy into their charm term those who exercise their rights not to vote as voting for the opponents. The two statements are silly. Even matters that involves voting at the UN, countries usually exercise their rights not to vote do so at will and no one terms their decisions not to vote stupid. If there is nothing worth voting vote for, or when the voting system doesn’t respect your voting rights, it is better to sleep at home and as Ephraim concluded, watch a movie.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Analytics Ltd
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Odipo Riaga is a Technology Blogger interested in emerging tech such as VR and AR, AI, Life Extension, Exponential Biotech, Immortality, Cyborgs and many others.
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