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BE WARNED! This Is How Politicians Are Planning To Rig Themselves Into Office.

One of the best things that will happen in the Jubilee Party primaries (and the General Elections in August) is that the choices of the Kenyan voters will be upheld. It does not matter who wins, as long as every vote will count. That will be great.

But the menace of election rigging has been entrenched into the Kenyan DNA and has almost become a ‘sure’ route to electoral victory, subverting freedom and fairness in the process.

Mediocre election rigging tactics involve ballot box snatching and stuffing, conflict between party agents and electoral staff, illegal printing and usage of voters’ card, falsification of results as well as tampering with the voters register as witnessed in the ongoing primaries.

But those who are smart have always devised sophisticated methods to seal election victory by ‘remote control’. Some of these tactics do not involve the actual voting process inside the polling booth but actually happens in discreet outside the polling stations themselves.

The following tactics constitute some of the methods used by sly politicians as gathered by our Thika Town Today (3T) team.

Propaganda of defection or stepping down.
This is the most commonly used ploy to hoodwink voters. Between now and voting time, you will hear so many cases of candidates defecting and others stepping down for their opponents. This is a ploy to help sway the voters in a particular manner in favour of the architects of the said propaganda.

Bribery of voters.
The political class have always taken advantage of the desperate citizens living in this sorry state by offering them meagre amounts of money to dupe them into voting for them. This is usually done days before the actual polling or on the material day before they enter the polling station.

On the material day however, the riggers will position their people in strategic places, most possibly about 100-200 metres from the polling stations. Here, they identify ‘potential victims’ and convince them to vote for their man. To soften their stand, the voters are bribed with between sh. 200 and sh. 500 depending on the nature and status of the voter.

This seems good and true to the poor masses hence they trade their votes in that manner arguing that it’s better that candidate for they have given them ‘something’.

They are those who will also collect voters’ cards from poor people for some cash and confiscate them till the exercise is over. This is usually done in areas where they do not have good support.

Vote and Collect Money.
During accreditation when voters are on the line, the riggers will whisper it to people. A voter collects his ballot, enters the boot, thumbprints, but before dropping it into the box, he will hold it as if blowing it for the ink to dry so that the guy handing out the cash will see it. After voting, he goes to the corner and get paid.

In the same vein, others will demand the voter take a photo of the marked ballot paper using their mobile phones as prove that they have voted for their candidate. After voting, the voter show the photo image in their phone to earn their money.

Casual debates
The Kenyan politician have realised that Kenyan voters are usually an ignorant lot. They will go to a polling station with the slightest idea of who they are going to vote for. It is not uncommon to hear people on the lines asking “Huku MCA/MP mnachagua nani?” etc. There is also the notion among voters that ‘sitaki kupoteza kura yangu’ so they will only vote for a candidate they think will win.

With this in mind, the sly politician will plant their supporters at various spots in and outside the polling stations, more so to trigger such a discussion. Here, one of the hired debaters will pretend to be naïve and ask the question. Another of the same group will forward the name of their candidate, pretending that they do not know him/her so well but ‘according to what they have gathered from the mood on the ground, this candidate seems so popular’. In that way, they are able to convince the undecided voters into voting for their candidate.

The hired debaters will do so in a manner that their message reaches as many people as possible.

Triggering violence within the polling stations.
Some politicians use violence to intimidate or coerce voters to act against their wish. This is usually done in areas they perceive to be their opponents’ strongholds.

The trick here is that, their supporters will wake up very early and be among the first in the queue. This means that they will be among the first people to cast their ballots. Guaranteed that their side have voted, one of them will create a narrative of rigging and may be accuse some people of being behind the vice or being transported to vote for their rival.

They will then cause commotion and eventually disrupt the whole exercise to ensure that voting does not go on. Eventually, a good number of voters will flee and will not come back to vote.

Supplying alcohol to voters.
One trick used by weak candidates is that of preparing a bash, especially on the evening prior to the voting day. Here people perceived to be supporting an opponent are invited to the bash where they dine till dawn. Towards the break of morning, more beer and alcohol is supplied to ensure that the ‘revelers’ blackout into not being in a position to go and cast their votes.

This denies their opponents a substantial number of voters, thereby tilting the odds.

Raising unnecessary queries to attract sympathy votes.               
Sly politicians will always play the victim card to win sympathy votes. They will always seek for loopholes and cause a scene to attract the attention of the voters on the queue. By doing so, they will shout about an imaginary rigging plot and claim that their win is being stolen.

After causing some mayhem they will pretend that things are now sorted and walk out shouting about how their victory was about to be stolen. This way, they manage to win some sympathy votes plus some of the undecided voters who sympathise with their plight.

Corrupting officials and agents.
Moneyed politicians will always corrupt their way into winning elections. They will pour irresistible money offers to both the officials and agents of the opponents within a certain polling station to ensure they all give a blind eye to vote theft.

Vote rigging will start by officials and agents ‘assisting’ voters to cast their ballots and in the process cast votes to their preferred candidates.

Officials may also opt to frustrate the voters through unnecessary delays, logistics and complicating the voting process. In this way, some of the voters get annoyed into resigning back to their homes without voting.

With majority of the voters tired and eager to finish up the exercise and go home, the officials grab that opportunity to stuff votes and allow others to double vote. Names not appear on the voters' roll are also allowed to vote.

Transporting foreigners to vote.
Some politicians have already imported voters from other areas to use them to win the nominations. They will bring them to the polling stations very early in the morning in buses and matatus.

After voting, these people will be ferried back home and given a ‘token of appreciation’ for job well done.

Ensuring scarcity of voting material.
In an event the preferred candidate is in the good books of the system, one of the methods used to steal elections is causing a hitch in the mechanism or supplying less election materials. This interferes with the whole exercise and at times the candidates use this opportunity to unleashed mayhem and harass supporters of the opponents so as to disrupt the process.

Names of voters will at times deliberately miss with intent to interfere with the entire process, thus denying legible voters their right to vote.

All in all, the bottom line here is not who wins that matters. A successful transition with us remaining intact is more important than any candidate. We are deeply worried about threats of any kind by politicians desperate for power at all costs. It is this desperation that fuels all sorts of electoral malfeasance, particularly that thing they call “election rigging. Furthermore, without peace, there will be no elections, let alone economic prosperity.

Let’s preach peace and vote wisely.

God Bless Kenya.

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