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A few weeks ago I joined some of my fitness friends on a 22 KM endurance walk through the Del-Monte pineapple farm. We were admiring the Road tarmacking works that were on progress on the road from BAT Thika, through Del Monte factory and farm and linking the Thika-Nyeri highway at the Del Monte shop near Blue post hotel. The talk suddenly moved to global and local politics and how voters make their choices.

There have been elections campaigns and In the next few weeks the United States will be going to an election to choose its next President or give the current one another term of 4 years. The two political sides of democrats and Republicans have engaged each other on key issues that are at the heart of the American voters, among them;

1. Healthcare

2. Climate change

3. Economy and taxes

4. Trade and tariffs

5. Gun controls

6. Immigration

7. Child care

8. Foreign policy and the Iran agenda

9. College and student debts

Each candidate has addressed themselves and given their thoughts and pledges on these items. This is the list of items that forms a score card or social contract for each candidate should they win, based on the promises they make during the campaigns. Of course the USA has been experimenting their democracy for over 200 years. These experiments have resulted in some level of political maturity and a sense of common purpose.

The USA is not alone. Sometime back I visited one of the Scandinavian countries at a time of their election. Nothing was of notice that the country was going through an election, apart from TV debates and a small line of about ten people I saw at a mall, and a few volunteers dishing out fliers. I inquired from my host and was told that the small line was people who were voting early. 

In a mall? You can imagine my shock. No police, no commotion, no noise, no insults, no gatherings. Every one queuing there knew what they wanted, who they were voting for and why. And they had complete faith in the electoral system.

I quietly thought to myself. When will my beloved Kenya get here?

In an article titled: Kenya’s Election 2017; unique concerns for a unique country, by Douglas L. Kivoi and Steven Nduvi dated 4th August 2017 and published on the Brooking's institution website, brookings.edu the following were some of the issues that formed the National debate in the presidential election in 2017 in Kenya;

1. Whether august 8th would be the voting date

2. When to appoint a new team of commissioners at IEBC to take office with enough time to prepare for the elections

3. Issues over the role of IEBC in tallying and announcing presidential votes

4. Disagreement over the procurement and printing of presidential ballot papers

5. Auditing of voter register to remove deceased voters

6. Questions regarding the provisions for resignation of civil servants running for office

None of these issues had anything to do with the Kenyan voter and frankly speaking Kenyans didn’t ask for anything from their aspirants. There was no question on education, water, Environment, Health, peace and security, food security and Agriculture, and quality representation. And because we didn’t say or knew what we wanted, we therefore shouldn’t complain over what we got.

Our collective sense of complaining has become like a career, in fact it should now be taught in colleges and universities. We make an emotional decision on the ballot then we complain for five years. Then we repeat the mistake again with someone else then we complain for another five years over the decision we made. Should we even be allowed to vote?

We must remember that it is not just a ballot we are casting for someone or a political party during elections. On that ballot there is the Education for your children and whether they will have access to it…, there is water for your community and whether it will be available to you…., your health is on the ballot…, your security is on the ballot….., your environment and its protection is on the ballot…, your quality representation is on the ballot…., your food, taxes and your economy is on the ballot.

Perhaps we should take time to find out what exactly it is we want for ourselves. Then we should take time to interrogate those that are seeking to represent us. But if we know what we want, I’m sure we will know who can deliver it for our collective purpose.

Juma hemedi

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