Article by Mr. Gad Kanyesigye (The Patriot), Advocator for peace and good governance in Africa. Looking at the Great Lakes regional political chronology; pick Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, DR-Congo, Malawi, Zambia and their political dynamics in the recently concluded elections, save for DRC, you realize how Kenya has put up a challenge for all these countries to read up from.
You realize how Kenya committed itself to consolidate peace, preventing violence, bolstering democratic institutions and processes, and furthering the fight against impunity by government institutions in dictating the outcome of elections most especially the national military forces and other security limbs as it has been in our region. Kenya’s general election conducted on Tuesday, 9th August 2022 still stands as a remarkable homework for the Great Lakes region.
Kenya facilitated and mediated democratic processes by rectifying past election mistakes most especially mistakes that prompted 2007 political turmoil where over 1000 Kenyans died and over 3000 people were displaced, supported constitutional reforms, and promoted and defended human rights from the beginning of their electoral campaigns until Monday, 5th September 2022 when the seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissed Azimio La Umoja Party (One Kenya Coalition Party) presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s petition citing lack of sufficient evidence. Dr. William Kipchirchir Samoei Arap Ruto was later sworn in as the fifth President of Kenya at Kasarani International Stadium in Nairobi on Tuesday, September 13,2022, at 12.44 pm in a swearing-in process led by the Judiciary under Chief Justice Martha Koome and the registrar Anne Amadi. A peaceful transition of power from Uhuru Kenyatta to William Ruto was witnessed worldwide.
Kenya promoted dialogue pathways between the administrations and their opposition heads through handshakes which sealed the population’s trust in their governing administration and consequently strengthened accountability and citizen participation in decision-making processes.
Like Kenya, when working to protect the civilian population and win public trust in governance, there must be a resemblance of institutional independence and interdependence between the state institutions and the citizens since there’s gradual trust that inherently grows with time under those circumstances, and this aids in democratic growth of any given country practicing democracy. Kenya has turned the democratic litmus paper blue and passed the democratic efficiency exam with 98%, which leaves other countries in the region with a lot of questions to answer but with fewer answers, if not none.
Most of our elections in the countries in the great lakes region are always characterized by the violent repression of the opposition rather than safeguarding the democratic playing field for free and fair elections, hence resulting in elections that do not reflect the will of the majority voters, which has transmitted more political unrest among the populace, led to corrupt systems among the self-imposed administrators, weakening government institutions and disabling private sector, the aftermath is perpetually manifested in economic, social and political retardation. Our hopes and confidences lie in the current administrations of all these countries in the great lakes region, to take the Kenyan path, since it has opened a way of possibilities and has awakened the Democratic spirit among the populations of these same countries, it’s either now or never. Article by Mr. Gad Kanyesigye (The Patriot), Advocator for peace and good governance in Africa.