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Published:April 23rd, 2007 07:48 EST
Kenyans go to the polls this year

Kenyans go to the polls this year

By Francis Karugah

In December of this year, Kenyans will go to the polls for the civil elections, parliamentary elections and, more important, the presidential election.

Honestly, campaigns for this election started five years ago when the last poll ended. That poll saw the end of a 24-year regime headed by the then president Daniel arap moi.  He was not running in that poll because he had chosen to retire; but, he made the mistake of hand-selecting a candidate for the then ruling party K.A.N.U. This decision split his party in the middle.

Those against this move chose to quit the cabinet and proceed to form their own parties, thereby officially joining the opposition. After this misstep by the president, the opposition united to form the grand coalition which won the election headed by mwai kibaki to become the new government.

THINGS FALL APART

Two years into their five-year term, trouble started.  The president began to ignore parts of the M.O.U. the opposition had signed.  This brought discontent among those who saw this as a move to sideline them from the government.

In 2005, Kenyans conducted a referendum concerning the proposed draft constitution.  The battle lines were drawn between those supporting it and those against.  Some cabinet ministers in Kibakis government chose not to support the draft saying that it was not constituted in a transparent and inclusive manner.

The draft was eventually rejected but the campaigns for the draft had turned nasty and it looked as a show of might-- who would first mobilize Kenyans in large numbers. The main issues were not properly highlighted or made clear.

Because this is an election year, all of this will be repeated. Most polls indicate the current president has a following although he has not declared to the party he wants to run.  It is a crowded field with one party having more than 8 presidential hopefuls. By May of this year, we should have a complete list of those who will actually run against others come December.

This is bound to be a tight race as most Kenyans are more informed of the issues and their rights. This awareness is a result of the continuous media coverage about politics in the country.  A new poll shows 64% of Kenyans surveyed will not re-elect their current mps this should make the politicians start thinking about the reason they are in politics, the people.