Kenya needs a campaign break” period few days before election



“There comes a time when the nation is more important than an individual.” – Professor George Saitoti

Kenya is a fast evolving and developing country and its citizens especially the youth are fast to catch up with western style of living on communication and its not secret that the fifth estate is growing and more vibrant than the fourth estate. Bloggers and face book pages have made citizens more engaged and aggressively defensive and this needs to have a control mechanism to ensure the same moods do not spill over past the voting day.

For a country whose regional tensions among tribes are high and mental and emotional tensions during campaigns go to elevated levels it would be prudent for the government to set some regulation that would enable and ensure decorum, continuity of peace and harmony days before an election takes place.

A country like Kenya and any other country in Africa  that has experienced  marching resistance in demonstrations, post election violence and death would see it fit and right that an established system meant to calm heightened tensions during campaign are systematically reduced and lowered days before voters go to the polls. It is important that just as politicians have a set aggressive campaign period (90 days)  thus then should there be an established “campaign break” period a few days before election date  that the country uses to establish a moratorium on how to restore its citizens back to their normal working lives days before they get to the polls to elect their respective leaders.

It would be wise for a 7 days (1 week) campaign shutdown period before elections where all campaign activities come to a complete stop, Politicians go to their homes and stay there while citizens adjust to getting back to normalcy which would be supported by civic education and citizen harmonization days before they go to the polls.

Knowing Kenya the way we do and understanding citizens and their politicians, it would be hard to enforce this law at first but just like there’s a known time-frame of when campaigns kick in fully months before the election so should there be a time to stop a few days prior to voting for the citizens would   already have made-up their minds days before on who their proffered candidate of choice is going to be so a 7 days (1 week) “campaign break”   window would be more advantageous to a country than trying to lower tempers and anger after the elections . Prevention is better than cure and Politicians cannot claim that the waiting period before voting would really harm their chances and that they have to campaign right up-to the eve before elections. A country is greater than its politicians and that would be the main focus in setting this rule.

The fifth estate is relatively new to Kenyans and with its citizens getting access to smart phones and online forums there is no way to control the intelligence and brainwashing involved since everyone wants to have their thoughts felt even if the tone used in expressing them is aggressive or the content there in deemed to be harsh. extreme or  simply unbearable because the person posting “feels” they are secured and protected by them only being there in virtual mode. And that nothing much can happen to them beside the post being deleted by administrators or moderators if and when they happen to chance on the posts in time. A growing country that is just maturing in social media communication needs a restricting and controlling stopgap measure to ensure citizens don’t take the emotions felt online to the streets.

It s easier to prevent than to restrain a voter  days before an election than after when the results have been declared and voters are still hyped in the campaign spirit both on the ground and in social media forums.  You cannot shutdown social media sites like specific face book pages without effectively stopping the Politicians from continuing on with their campaign that is simply a communication  blackout and voter disconnect for members who are not in a specific region following their region of interests but not controlling what vitriol the politicians continue to spread around.  A complete Campaign shutdown and a ‘campaign break” needs to be emphasized on where even politicians now revert back to their homes days before the voters go to the polls and let the country slowly simmer back to normalcy pending only the vote casting process.

With Campaigns and politicians stopped from moving about due to the 10 days break before voters go to the polls this would actually enable the electoral bodies and appointed agents to seamlessly setup the polling stations without overcrowding and stress of interacting with voters and citizens en-route in case they come along campaign teams and politicians.

Kenya and other African countries need this stopgap measure that allows members to go to the polling station in a controlled and sober mind days after which would ensure peace and harmony for they will have adjusted to understanding that their life continues after politicians have said their bit and convinced them who to vote for.

Peace, harmony and love of a country as patriots is the reason we go to the polls so let make Kenya first by using and establishing any measure that would ensure that our opponents during elections are once again partners in growing the country and not adversaries brought about by campaign fever.

God bless Kenya.

Charles Kabaiku.

Economist Blogging enthusiast & Investment consultant.

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