The anti-climax of the moment could not have been more pronounced. The weeds and the tares, the wheat and the chaff all queued to take their oaths of allegiance and pledging to serve the electorate. Some had scraped through the competitive electoral process with the skin of their teeth and this was therefore a moment to savour their victory. For others, the same moment marked the depth of their moral depravity as they prepared to reap where they did not sow.
At the centre of the growing row regarding slots for nominated MCAs — not just in Kajiado County but throughout the country — is the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Following the decision by the Supreme Court of Kenya to uphold the Commission’s declaration of William Ruto’s election to the presidency, the IEBC has grown increasingly bellicose in making decisions that defy all logic and reasoning.
In Kajiado as in the rest of the country, for example, persons living with disability have been particularly hit by the emerging impunity of ignoring approved party lists for individuals with questionable credentials; it is reported that for many of the nominated MCAs who have mysteriously appeared on the final lists, their only qualification is in being a lover or relative of a prominent individual. That is hardly the way to go.
The intrigues in the MCA nominations further tarnish the reputation of those who have been validly nominated on merit, since aspersions have now been cast on the entire process. There is no easy way of knowing who was validly nominated and who benefitted from an immoral interference in the nomination process. All have been sworn in, all are deemed honourable.
But there are certainly cases that stand out in their ignominy. A glaring example is that of the MCA who is a voter in Mandera, has never been a resident of Kajiado County, and has no property or other interests whatsoever in the county. What sort of moral turpitude informed the choice of such a person to become MCA? Moreover, even though it may be tempting to say that she shouldn’t be blamed for seizing an opportunity thrown her way, it does not show much moral uprightness on her part when she readily agrees to benefit from what she clearly knows she does not deserve.
But even as the IEBC takes the lion’s share of the blame for sabotaging democracy, undermining our nascent devolution and blatantly subverting the will of the people through opaque processes, it is baffling that the people in power have been caught equally flat-footed. Who, then, were the faceless people who worked in cahoots with unconscientious elements among the top officials of the IEBC?
Sadly, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati has not found it fit to comment on the outcry emerging from numerous quarters, including Kajiado County. When party branch officials as well as elected representatives such as MPs and the governor have no clue about how nominated MCAs were appointed, it essentially implies that there are higher powers reigning with impunity and not subject to public scrutiny.
It is time that all such officials be publicly named and shamed. It cannot be business as usual when the rights of persons living with disability — or indeed any other groups — are trampled with abandon. A County Assembly that begins on such a wrong footing cannot be expected to deliver. This is a mockery of devolution that cannot lead the people of Kajiado to prosperity.