Fair elections need strong institutions
As the Kenyan (I am Kenyan) re-election day looms after the annulling of the results of the recent elections by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), I have been reassessing the value of voting.
Elections do play an important role in democracy as the right to vote gives citizens the power and choice to elect their desired representatives.
But aren’t we overrating elections? Shouldn’t we put more emphasis on building and defending strong, independent and credible institutions? I mean, how can Kenyans (as a case study) have free and fair elections if the body tasked with that mandate is not above reproach?
The Kenyan judiciary, on the other hand, the six SCA judges — “wakora” if you like — in particular, staffed with men and women worth their salt make the case for the need for exemplary establishments.
The importance of strong, independent and credible institutions is akin to knowing that, despite the vicissitudes of life, the sky will always be above one’s head and the earth under one’s feet. Such institutions ensure life continues as normal as possible in spite of the uncertainties of life in general and the tricks of politics in particular.
Voting should be secondary to having credible, independent bodies. If Kenyans or Africans in general have to have a true sense of normalcy, security, stability, peace and prosperity, then institutions with integrity should take their rightful place in the order of things — and take a primary role to voting.