By Kadiro A. Elemo*
Election should be at the heart of viable democracy. By election, we are talking about fair and free election whereby the culture of open political debate prevails as opposed to pretentious election meant for donor consumptions. This means there should be a freedom of press and freedom of speech. Mass Media should be free from sole manipulation of the government. It is also important to do away with unfair election rules that otherwise hampers the achievement of oppositions or at least poses procedural formidability. The ruling party and/or the government should not interfere with campaigns which includes among other things, harassment or killing of candidates, suppressing campaign actions, closing campaign headquarters, criminalizing campaigning, harassing or beating campaign workers. The election must also be free from intimidating voters, tampering with the election mechanism, i.e., confusing or misleading voters about how to vote, violation of the secret ballot, ballot stuffing, tampering with voting machines, destruction of legitimately cast ballots, voter suppression, fraudulent tabulation of results, and use of physical force or verbal intimation at polling places.
* Kadiro is a committed advocate for the rights of marginalized, disadvantaged, disfranchised, vulnerable and downtrodden segment of society. He is a host and a producer of Voice of Oromo Chicago (www.voiceoforomochicagos.com) that serves the voiceless, defends the dignity and fights for justice. He can be reached for comment, suggestion, or criticism at firstname.lastname@example.org.