The sovereign power belongs to us, the people. You and I are to exercise this sovereignty either directly or indirectly through democratically elected representatives. Sovereignty means the exercise of power by the people and for the people. It is through elections that we, citizens, choose the kind of government and leaders we want.
Elections offer citizens the opportunity to exercise their political right that is guaranteed in the Constitution. It is an opportunity for the people to choose good leaders so as to ensure that they do not suffer the consequences of bad leadership. To be able to effectively exercise our sovereign role, it is important for us to appreciate our political rights and responsibilities in the electoral process. As citizens we are required to understand the political rights and obligations provided in the Constitution and actively participate in various electoral activities such as registering as voters.
Article 10 of the Constitution provides for national values and principles of good governance. These are:
- Patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, the rule of law, democracy and participation of the people;
- Human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalized;
- Good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability; and
- Sustainable development
There is therefore need for upholding the principles of accountability and transparency for the purposes of good governance in our country. Promoting the principle of public participation as a way of enhancing citizens' participation in governance particularly in the County governments is also important.
We should exercise our constitutional right of voting and elect good leaders who will provide oversight structures and institutions in the country for purposes of good governance and Institute principles of social audits for purposes of checks and balances for resources hence entrenching the principle of prudent management of funds through the creation of checks and balances in the country as a whole.
The People of Kenya have the final authority on the way they are governed and no one should misuse this power. No one is above the law.
All arms of government derive power from the people. We should therefore exercise our right carefully by electing the right kind of leaders to lead us. Leaders who have a vision and the interests of Kenyans at heart.
Most importantly, we should maintain law and order during elections. Law and order leads to free and fair elections, voter confidence and satisfaction, peaceful coexistence, confidence in the electorate, harmony and mutuality.
Our role as voters during elections is to maintain peace, report offenders to relevant authorities, avoid hate speech and inflammatory language and accept the official results. Let us refuse to be used by politicians to fight each other. We cannot afford to go back to what happened in 2007. Kenya is bigger than politicians and Kenya is certainly bigger than any one tribe. We need to be more nationalistic in our thinking if we want to move forward as a country. Let us all register as voters and exercise this important right in a positive manner.