Nairobi- Four-time presidential challenger Dr Kizza Besigye yesterday asked Western nations not to place their interests, particularly peace and stability, above the consideration for free and fair elections in Africa.
This, he said, is the only way that the will of the people expressed in elections will count.
“Let the West revisit their template on elections in Africa and invest in sustainable peace and stability underpinned by justice. There can never be peace and stability without justice,” Dr Besigye said in a keynote speech during the launch of a book on Kenya’s 2017 election in Nairobi yesterday.
The book titled; Kenya: The Failed Quest for Electoral Justice, and authored by journalist John Onyando, examines the political events around the 2017 elections within a historical framework and concludes that what should have been Kenya’s freest vote turned out the most tainted.
Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo had earlier said the West’s higher interest in the country’s stability and development had undermined electoral justice and constitutionalism.
“We have succeeded in placing into our laws the idea of democracy and the requirement that every vote should count but we do not live by it,” Mr Amollo said.
Dr Besigye agreed with the lawmaker and said the West’s pursuit of unilateral interests has left Africans wretched and at the mercy of modern-day leaders who behave like colonial masters, entrenching themselves through patronage, propaganda, divide-and-rule and oppression.
Dr Besigye has stood and lost four presidential elections to Mr Museveni, two of which the Supreme Court ruled were marred by irregularities.
The judges decided that these did not affect the results substantially, a reference to a constitutional threshold for election annulment.
“All of us answer to those with power and resources who turn control the decision-making, including decision-making during elections,” Dr Besigye said.
He hailed Kenyans for being a more vibrant civil society and have witnessed a number of peaceful transfer of power from one president to another and for their resilience in the democratic struggle.
“In Uganda, we have never had a peaceful hand-over of power since independence. Every leader bombs his way into power and, in the converse, he is bombed out,” he added.
Other speakers at the launch included ex-Justice minister, now Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua and Justice Willy Mutunga, the former Chief Justice.
Ms Karua said Kenya’s election problems emanate from unaccountable leaders.
Dr Mutunga said the only way to ensure every vote counts is for political parties to ensure that institutions are strengthened and well-resourced to undertake their tasks.