OPINION; WHY THE SECRET BALLOT PRINCIPLE IS A TICKING TIME BOMB

    The dirty side of politics

    Just this week, Uhuru appointed ex-IEBC commissioners as diplomats and just the mention of their names brought back memories of the contested 2017 polls.

    One thing that has always been of interest to me has been the reasoning behind the secret ballot principle. Initially, I imagined it had something to do with the British land barons.
    I thought that, since British landowners were the only ones allowed to vote long ago, when peasants were finally allowed to take part in the Democracy process, secret ballot was necessary. I imagined this because land barons hosted many squatters on their property, and it would have been easy for them to coerce these peasants. Surprisingly, this isn’t even the origin of the principle.
    Apparently, the motivation for this principle was so as to protect people voting in a certain manner from the intimidation of those who might have differed with their democratic choice. This doesn’t add up. The only reason the former would fear intimidation from the latter, is if they were the minority, and the latter the majority, in which case intimation would be unnecessary since they would still win the election virtue of their numbers.
    In short, secret ballot was set up to help the minority. It wasn’t founded on some well thought out model.

    I am not against secret ballot. However, I think it should be a right. Not a rule. Let those who want to vote in the privacy of a booth do so, while those who want to mark their preferred candidate on a huge board should also be afforded the chance by IEBC.
    It is high time African countries stopped replicating rules whose motivation and origin they don’t know. Such rules give governments across the continent the leeway to bungle elections.

    Besides, we are not really protective or jealous of our privacy in the first place. It is commonplace to see a Kenyan proclaiming proudly, and in public, the candidate that he or she will be voting for.

    Apart from the results, an informed audit of who voted for who would help us improve our systems and streamline our processes.

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