Elections in Kenya have now become a threat to lives, our economy and our standing as a nation. Every four years, the country almost comes to standstill as elections are prepared for. Investment and economic activity slow, losing Kenyans precious jobs and livelihoods, while political competition often escalates beyond vibrant debate into ethnic polarisation. Personal security becomes uncertain, and often there is violence.

Kenyans need to overcome this negative cycle by acting on the understanding that elections on their own are not the solution to our national challenges. By faithfully adhering to the Constitution and the law, halting ethnic antagonism and profiling, by promoting inclusivity, by strengthening devolution, by fighting corruption, and caring about safety and security, we will have elections that are not marred by mistrust and conflict.

We have been in institutional reform mode for many years now, and for sure that there will be more to come in the future. But today, it is time to

acknowledge the other critical items we have not put enough work into. We must seek to shift our terms of engagement as leaders, as individuals and as citizens, if we are to have competitive and constructive elections. That should be our first priority.