This is Serious Business
It is no secret that in real democracy a vote is your right and thus so far Kenya is one of the few countries in Africa rising up to this task. When the Jubilee Party dissolved all the smaller parties and became one big party on 10th September it was like a teenager was now going to start forming their real personality. From hereon we will get to see the traits and the people involved and it will maybe take at least two more election cycles before we start choosing people for their capabilities and track record. For now it will be more about the Head of State and their party. Still Kenya will be in the late 70s age wise and I remain optimistic that so far so good.
Thus, the kind of actions we take in legislation, and by we I mean those in National Assembly and Senate will be crucial. However these vibes or decisions also start from the gullies of Kibera, coffee shops, restaurants, boardrooms, factories, rallies and meals at home. Kenyans are actively engaged in business and political dialogue, I believe they care. Unfortunately the care usually goes towards “how much more money can I make here”. The mindset is changing and it is encouraging to note that in the Elections Offences Bill in Part III Section 7, under Corruption Practices the punishment consists of “imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, and in any other case, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding four years.”
Therefore it is important that in whatever way as citizens of the country we can address our issues, obviously following proper protocol, the better. Make the start, don’t wait for your lawyer, employer or any influential body or person do it for you. Raise the questions yourself to the relevant authority, make that first step, if you are the change, only then change can happen.
Being the employer you are easily part of the wheel running the economy of this country, therefore give that opportunity to your employees and yourself to exercise your democratic rights, because as per the Elections Offences Bill in Section 13:
(1) Every employer shall, on polling day, allow to every elector in his employ a reasonable period for voting, and no employer shall make any deduction from the pay or other remuneration of any such elector or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during such period.
(2) Any employer who, directly or indirectly, refuses or by intimidation, undue influence, or in any other manner, interferes with the granting to any elector in his employ, of a reasonable period for voting, as in this section provided, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both.
(3) This section shall not extend to such categories of employees as the Minister may from time to time by notification in the Gazette designate nor to any employee who at the election in question is acting as an election officer within the meaning of the National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act.”
After the second reading at the Parliament, the changes now state:
Corruption fine is KES 2million or a jail term of 6 years.
Employers who do not allow enough time for their employees to cast their vote, the fine is KES 1million or a jail term of 6 years.
In both cases these are reasonable. The amount of fine is not very high but it is the reputation of having such a record and if the jail term happens that are the fear factors. They should remain. Kenya is rising up to many dynamics and I only hope it learns to preserve, conserve and reserve.
Preserve the culture with a reasonable balance to our modern times.
Conserve the environment because opening up a nuclear plant will not resolve future issues and remember we have the Rift Valley, we could end up inviting our very own earthquake disaster of the century.
Reserve the use of violence. Let dialogue remain the most important tool for resolution and of course the right to vote.