A democracy is only as good as how competently and fairly it manages elections and adjudicates any disputes that may arise.

Right now we have an Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission that almost nobody trusts to be a competent and unbiased referee.

This is not about the almost ritualistic early warnings from opposition leader Raila Odinga’s band of supporters that any poll not favourable to them will be rejected.

It is about a polls body that has in successive general elections been unable to deliver an election that even the losers have no option but to concede defeat.

It is about a blundering institution in which a bloated commission has usurped the role of a professional secretariat and assumed duties and functions best left to those with the requisite management and professional training and skills.

The result has been criminal incompetence that ultimately has compromised the outcome of the elections.

Incidentally, both Mr Odinga’s Cord and President Kenyatta Jubilee brigades agree that the IEBC cannot be trusted to competently manage the polls. The only disagreement is on what should be done to either reform or reconstitute the electoral body to ensure a competent and neutral arbiter.

Then there is the issue of a broken political culture built on ethnic hatred rather than policies, programmes and ideologies.

The fact of the matter is that we invest our hopes in ethnic warlords rather than in national leaders.

Neither President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, nor Cord leaders Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, and Moses Wetang’ula are national leaders and patriots.

They are simply leaders of ethnic political formations who thrive on mobilising their communities and groupings against others.

They play up the ethnically divisive “tyranny of numbers” and “41 versus 1” stratagems and thereby prime their supporters to hate and demonise other Kenyans as enemies to be isolated and neutralised.

Now, when somebody points out the dangers we face approaching the elections under such a dangerous culture, some idiots call for his arrest.

[email protected] Twitter: @MachariaGaitho

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