Political parties in Kenya are expected to hold grass root elections and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) started last week. We have witnessed live and in the news the fights at the elections that have been termed a sham by some of the candidates. I agree with the candidates that the elections were a sham because of the old method they are using, mlolongo system the method of queuing behind ones candidate of choice. It is unbelievable that in these democratic times mlolongo system can still be used.
One big problem in mlolongo system is that it is too open the candidate sees all who queue behind his/her opponent even the ones who have betrayed him/her. It is also common knowledge that they pay people to vote for them so it is shameful for the ones who have eaten from both sides or all candidates if they are many and that is why secret ballot is a more decent way of voting.
Grass root elections are more chaotic because it is run by parties and not the Government, so the parties cannot organize these elections like the Country’s national elections. Security is minimal so citizens become more rowdy and the candidates employ all sorts of crude ways like hiring goons to beat up their opponents to get elected. The worst candidates are those who want to hold on to their seats, they know the system of the party; they know early enough the time and venue of the elections and are in contact with the presiding officer. Most of those who want to cling to their positions are men and frustrate women opponents.
Armed with information from the party headquarters ahead of other candidates, these people change the venue of the elections without informing others, they go to an extent of bribing the presiding officer with a lot of money. They also by them food and drinks delaying the exercise. The officer arrives at the venue of elections late in the evening to find a very impatient crowd. The crowd is asked to leave the premises for delegates names to be called, without a loud speaker and a long list of names to call the situation because terrible. Before the officer gets anywhere with the names the crowd gets charged and storms the hall, then the elections is called off because intruders are mixed with the delegates. Meanwhile a group had already sat down, elected themselves and submitted their names to the officer. The other candidates who were prepared for a democratic election are left confused.
This is the dirty game played at grass root elections and it is good ODM is repeating some of the elections.