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5 Reasons Why You Cannot Afford Not To Participate In The Jubilee Primaries On Friday.

An elderly man casting his vote for senator during the last General Elections.
By all standards, Friday’s Jubilee Party nominations will be the ‘Final before the finale’ for the 2017 General elections especially in the Mt. Kenya Region.

The hour of reckoning is nigh for the 8,012 aspirants seeking elective positions on Jubilee Party tickets as the dreaded primaries kick off. The looming nominations are causing jitters as the party grapples with logistical and security nightmares.

Friday 21st April (and some 24th and 25th) marks an important milestone in the 2017 election calendar as Jubilee Party picks candidates for various seats ahead of the final showdown on August 8. The fight for these seats across the counties is expected to be fierce as incumbents seek to retain their jobs against other political heavyweights in what promises to be a cut-throat race.

Jubilee Party is the biggest prize today for any candidate in this region. For the aspirants, winning the party’s ticket, (depending on the way the party will handle them) is as good as winning the elections. It will definitely guarantee the nominees a 99% chance of being the next MCA, MP, Women Representative, Senator or Governor.

That explains why the stakes are so high in the Jubilee primaries and if make a mistake at these primaries, it will definitely be a grave one. The ability to vote allows you to express your opinion and choice on a variety of issues. 

The elite amongst us represents the smartest brains but unfortunately that intellect does not equal enthusiasm to make the changes we always complain about. It has been a tendency among the elites, especially in the urban areas, to treat the voting day as a day of rest or to strike business deals. 

Voting is your only way to back the issues you care about and the representatives you think can best effect the changes you want to see.  It is a civic duty and the desire of people who care about public affairs to express themselves.

Why it’s a must for you to vote in the primaries.

1. It will give you the power to create change you desire.
Previously, the elite and business people have always ignored party primaries and reserved their votes for the main elections, in the argument that they were not really important.

The end product has always been having to be ruled by the wrong leaders who, in most cases, have bought their way into nominations. Their stake has always been decided by a handful of ‘paid up hooligans’ who really do not care what culminates after the exercise.

That explains why corrupt leaders have been having it easy as compared to the straight and honest ones who would have otherwise been the best options.

Considering that whoever wins on Friday might be as well your next leader, participating in these primaries will give you the power to decide how you want to be governed by nominating the candidate who best suits your views and will best represent your views at both the local and national level.

If you really think that a certain leader in office is not performing their duties satisfactorily, you can only show them the door by voting against them. Refraining from doing so can result in the same people or a worse one, being elected for the next five years.

Therefore, if you don't vote in these primaries, please don’t complain about who wins or the wrongs these leaders will instigate in the next five years.

2. Elections are not just about the President.
Other than the President, there are many other positions that definitely way in the future of Kenya and your local area. Through voting you have the opportunity to influence the government and governance from the local level up to the national level.

How much the next president can do will definitely depend on the people we will offer to him to constitute his government. If you allow dunderheads to get into power, be lest assured that you be faced with another five years of total agony. The consequences of ignoring such important exercise can reverberate for years.

If you let in opportunists and corrupt leaders get their way through the backdoor, just expect them to cripple the President’s agenda, both in the National Assembly and in the counties. 

3. The margin of victory is very important.
Any voter might feel that a single vote does not make any difference. However, the balance tilts when this becomes a ward, constituency or national attitude, resulting to thousands of votes not cast.

By casting their vote, citizens may not necessarily be able to get the best candidate elected, politics being what it is, but by avoiding casting their vote they improve the chances of the unsuitable ones winning the polls. At the end, it is only you the voter who has to suffer through poor governance.

One vote, especially in a competitive election is very crucial. You may assume that it is ‘just one vote’ and cannot make the difference, but all you have to bear in mind there are so many other people like you who are thinking  the same way as you. In the end, that translates to hundreds or even thousands of uncast votes which may be the reason your candidate loses.

You must vote because even if the candidate you loathe is destined to win in a landslide, you can make a dent in their margin of victory. That limits how much of a ‘mandate’ they can claim once in office, encouraging them to promote more moderate policies so as not to jeopardise their re-election. Remember, people elected in squeakers are reminded of it constantly for the people would not let them forget they were not elected by a plurality.

Conversely, even if your preferred candidate is poised to win, adding to their margin of victory can only help their advance their agenda in office.

4. A vote for a third force can have an impact.
In an election where there are two very strong candidates, there are possibilities that the outcome would be decided by a third force.

Some undecided voters might sway towards a neutral candidate, thus reducing the chances for each of the two frontrunners. In such a scenario, every vote counts and your vote might be the difference between the loss and the win for your preferred candidate.

5. Leaders tend to respond to people who bother to show up.
Elected leaders in most instances respond to voters’ policy preferences and award a greater chunk of public resources to the people who bothered to vote them in. that is why in some cases you find leaders neglecting certain areas they perceive never voted for them.

While it is true that the outcome of elections is seldom predictable, by not casting your vote, you are simply giving up on the chance of getting heard.

In conclusion, we cannot deny that Kenyans have been time and again being disappointed by the people they elect into office. For the past five decades, we have been struggling with rampant corruption, unsure economy and other uncertainties. Election after election has seen ineffective governments come to power that have done more harm than good.

However, not casting one's vote will only worsen the condition. It is our duty as responsible citizens of to make informed decisions and choose the best candidates from those presented. Moreover, with the context of the 2010 Constitution, it wouldn't be long before the system of elections is improved. 

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