Shit Just Got Real

This was my first time to vote. I had very good reasons for giving it a “NO” and I believed with every inch of my being that my vote would tilt the scale and we would emerge as winners.

I wore the brand new blue Adidas trainers that my brother had bought me. With the right kind of bounce in my step, like that of a Hip-hop rapper, I ventured into the voting booth ready to steer my preferred candidates to victory.

It was only a day after my mother’s birthday, two days to my dad’s birthday and only four days after my brother’s birthday; all of which we did not celebrate because it did not feel right. The Leos of the family had to go without even a combined special meal for all the three important days in their lives. All they received were wishes in much hushed tones unlike the usual cake cutting event that is emceed by my younger sister –she is the fun one in the family.

Excruciatingly waiting in line, the lapse came to a sudden death when I got to the verification spot which was the first station of the election process. My first mental instinct was to request the officers in charge to take me back to the end of the queue for a repeat of the proud moment. Little did I know that my wish to the universe would be granted by the Supreme Court weeks later when the presidential results were annulled. This meant that within 60 days from the day of the cancelation we would have yet another election; this news was received with mixed reactions but once again the country breathed out a sig of relief and aspiration.

After faithfully voting for Boniface Mwangi (an activist who I thought everyone resonated with) as the Member of Parliament Starehe constituency and Johnson Sakaja; senator Nairobi county, I went back home to a marathon of “Modern Family season 7&8”. The day of the voting had the news rooms focused on the length of the queues and the interesting efforts people had made to turn out for the big event. My country men were up by the time the polls were opened, turning polling centres into beehives; some came with babies to be allowed to vote without toiling on the queue, some came with their aging parents, just to make sure their voice was heard through a vote.

With my eyes glued to my computer I could not help but notice the occasional twists and turns my dad was making in his chair as the results started trickling in the next day. Therefore, I took a break from my humorous series, took a seep from a cup of uji that had now turned into a semi cooked ugali and turned to find out what was keeping my dad at the edge of his seat only to be hushed in the meanest way possible. Turning my gaze to the TV, I realized that there was already high drama as the presidential results trickled. Demonstrations kicked off in certain parts of the country and high heeled shoes shelved as sneakers took over.

The political state of the country has been a heart ache for me ever since my favourite candidate of all time, Martha Karua was treated just like any other woman in this country; a second class citizen. Every time she contested, I wished people would give her a chance for having toiled in the political scene for the better part of her life. Mind you she didn’t even win this time round as governor of Kirinyaga County.

As a country that has great economic potential and highly regarded globally, it gets depressing to think that we would make a fool of ourselves and become a laughing stock. It is uncomfortable to identify with any tribe in Kenya because straight away, one’s political stand will be determined. The youth are caught in the middle of the resistance movements and a persistent incumbent government.

The date of the second election was set for 17th October then moved to 26th which I came to find out was the birth date of Uhuru Kenyatta who was also running for presidency and at the same time defending his title. The unfolding of the drama series season 2 began, town became impassable from ten am to evening hours. These would happen for the better part of the period before the second election increasing the spirit of the angry witch among Kenyans who felt hurt and betrayed by their leaders.

A lot happened, including the reception of the opposition leaders from the airport by his supporters. This, as it had become obvious attracted retaliation from the police. Then came the dismissal of the various petitions against the victory of Uhuru Kenyatta leading to his swearing in on 28th Nov 2017. Did I mention, the number of holidays we have had since the drama began, well as junior staff, I do not complain, it only gave me more time to sleep and jot down this story.

Just a day after the colourful and expensive inauguration of the president the country settled on, I sat on the opposite side one row behind a man with a newspaper. Of course every newspaper was featuring the story of the president’s swearing in and several pictures of the crowd that went to witness it. This man who I suspected to be a supporter of the opposition ignored all the colourfully displayed pictures.. Instead, his interest was on what had happened to the resistance movement that had other plans that did not involve watching the president try to squeeze his excitement in a smug face.

Things are relatively calm now but I bet everyone is afraid to flinch lest there occurs another mess that results in the dispersal of demonstrators using teargas canisters and that itchy water that is fired from armoured police trucks.

I am also afraid, afraid that I will one day go to work and won’t able to go back home because I will be stranded. I am also afraid that very sad news might come knocking and I won’t be able to handle myself and that I won’t be in a position to cater for my needs and that of my family and that walking freely will be a luxury. To be honest 2007 was worse and we were prepared for the same this year, but I am glad it hasn’t gotten to that point. I hope it won’t get there, we as Kenyans are smarter than that.

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