The change of the election date from October 17 to October 26 means the repeat presidential poll will be held when some secondary school students will be sitting the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.
Given that most polling stations are in secondary and primary schools, some examinations have had to be rescheduled. Thankfully, the examination papers affected are not too many, meaning there will be fewer disruptions for most KCSE candidates.
Even so, every effort must be made to ensure test revision is not disturbed so that candidates are not unduly unsettled when writing the examinations. Politics in Kenya is a high stakes all-consuming affair and it is unlikely that students who attend day school will not be affected by the dissonance that characterises campaigns. Writing the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and KCSE is a singularly important moment in a learner’s life and disruption of study time can have adverse consequences for the young people.
It is unlikely that our plea to politicians to run mature and less abrasive campaigns will be heard given that both sides of the political divide — Jubilee and the National Super Alliance (NASA) — have already ramped up the rhetoric in anticipation of the repeat presidential election on October 26.
Nevertheless, we will make the plea by asking for more restrained campaigns, with a warning that careless and dangerous electioneering such as that we have witnessed in recent weeks can adversely affect preparations for the examinations.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is mandated by law to monitor political campaigns and sanction candidates who infringe election laws. Therefore, when the official campaign period is over we expect the IEBC to impress upon candidates to remove their election material from the polling stations located in schools so that candidates can focus on their examinations.