Kenya’s Electoral Commission seems to find itself between a rock and hard place after a row erupted over the use of the orange symbol ahead of this year’s general elections. This follows demands by Kalonzo Musyoka presidential candidate for the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-Kenya) that the electoral commission give his party exclusive rights to the use of the orange symbol. Both the ODM-Kenya and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) led by presidential candidate Raila Odinga use the same orange symbol, but in two different ways. There are also fears that some voters might be confused and vote for a different presidential candidate.
Some political analysts claim the electoral commission erred by registering the orange symbol for both parties ahead of the December presidential and parliamentary elections. Michael Tiampati is a Kenyan political analyst. From Nakuru he shares his views about the orange symbol controversy with reporter Peter Clottey.
“There is no such a big hassle over the orange symbol because as it is the original was registered immediately after the referendum over the proposed new constitution. And during that time, the current antagonists were in one camp and they moved on and registered ODM-Kenya with the symbol which a full orange and half of it superimposed on the map of Kenya. And then during that time there was no any real differences regarding the symbol. All seemed well until recently when the issue of who owns the orange symbol came up,” Tiampati noted.
He said people are making too much of a big deal about the orange symbols, which he said in his view is a non-issue.
“There is no big deal about the two symbols because they are pretty different. The one that is currently owned by ODM is a full orange while that owned by ODM-Kenya is one and half oranges with a map of Kenya superimposed on it or around it. And until recently there hasn’t been a lot of hassle about it, but this is a pretty interesting question because what is happening is that the bone of contention has to do with the imminent confusion as it were about the symbol and who owns is with special emphasis on the electorates because the rural folks would have a problem of getting to know owns one orange and who owns the one and half oranges,” he said.
Tiampati said the electoral commission played a part in the controversy surrounding who owns the orange symbol.
“The electoral commission kind of cleared the two symbols so it is pretty interesting to see that the when that was done there was no problem, but now due to the high political temperatures and because of the imminent elections, that has become an issue,” Tiampati pointed out.
He reasoned that some voters might have problems distinguishing between the two symbols.
“My take on that is that definitely, there is going to be some kind of confusion, especially, among the rural folk because when you talk about orange, all they think they know is that there is orange. They may not actually know the nitty-gritty about full orange and the full and the half or the one and half oranges and I believe that, that is quite substantial because you need a lot of voter education to let the electorates know that these symbols actually represent tow different entities,” he said.