Few weeks ago I ran into this guy here in the streets of Nairobi that I knew from back in my home town. It has been almost a whole decade since I had last seen him. To be precise, before the disputed 2007 elections that resulted in the worst violence in the history of our Nation.
His name is Njuguna (real name) and he lived with his family in Nambale town, Busia District ( now County). I had known them since I was a small boy and attended the same primary school with them, were classmates to some of my older siblings. They were later displaced during the 2007-2008 post-election violence. Their shop was looted and property destroyed, and they had to run for their dear lives across the border to Uganda.
When I saw Njuguna I instantly recognized him. It was around five in the evening and I was hurrying through this crowded Corridor when I saw him, or rather when we saw each other. He was sitting in this kinyozi (barber shop) in the company of other people just having a conversation as they watched some EPL replay match on this 15″ TV that was safely tucked high on the wall, almost close to the ceiling. Some reggae music was blaring too, from some sort of improvised speakers, and don’t ask me how they were listening to each other through all that noise.
I wanted to pass and continue on with my journey but something was holding me back telling me, “I know this guy”. He recognized me too. Smiling, he beckoned me over. I cautiously advanced (with everything that’s going on, you really never know a brother’s motives) and greeted him and the rest of the guys, about six of them.
“Bro unakaa familiar, unatoka Busia?” Asked Njuguna leading me outside, away from the noise. I relaxed a bit.
“Ok, unakaa familiar pia. Actually natoka Nambale.” I answered his question. His smile grew wider and he was almost laughing as he asked, “Wewe ni ndugu ya Ezra, sivyo?”
I nodded my head in the affirmative. He was right, Ezra was my elder brother but from another mother (a very interesting guy wish I had time to tell you more about him). After that, I will swear on the name of my grandfather that I’ve never seen a man so happy in my whole life. He was like one re-uniting with a long-lost family member. After a short introduction, we exchanged mobile numbers with the promise of catching up later. Hugged him and as I left could still feel him smiling.
On the way I could not help thinking about what happened to Njuguna and his family and thousands of other Kenyans in various parts of our country. It wasn’t fair! It wasn’t fair at all! Funny I had to meet him just before this coming elections. Thought about sharing with you this fateful encounter as I took a leisurely walk along the railway line, from Pipeline to Donholm where I was to take a matatu to town for an afternoon lecture.
As we all know, we are headed to the general election on August 8th, about two weeks from now and we all, except for the few undecided ones have our favorite candidates. For the presidency we have the two main contenders, the incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee party and the former prime minister, Raila Amollo Odinga alias Baba. There are six others that I will not go through the trouble of naming (have no solid following that I’m aware of).
All these candidates, including Governors, Senators, MPs, Women Representatives and MCAs have invested heavily in this coming elections and each one of them is going around confidently thumping his or her chest sure of victory, at least going by what we’re witnessing in the campaigns. Telling themselves they’re the chosen ones. But the question I’m posing is:
What if you are not the victor after elections?
Will life stop? Will Kenyans be dragged back to that ugly past we’re trying so hard to bury? Are we going to fight and kill one another like in the early 2008 just because our favorite candidates are not the victors?
What if neither Uhuru nor Raila is the next president of Kenya?
Elections is a competition and in every competition there must be a winner and a loser. If you don’t know that by now and you are a calling yourself a politician, then you are in a wrong profession. In politics you are never sure, unless you are Robert Mugabe (told he’s the most educated president on the Globe as per now) of Zimbabwe, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda or Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Let’s take last year’s US Elections as an example. We had Hillary Clinton, the Democrat battling it against the Real Estate billionaire, Donald Trump of the Republican. Hillary was leading in most polls that were contacted and most people, organizations thought she was the most likely next POTUS. Come elections and the “impossible” happened! Trump was declared the victor. No one saw it coming and even up to today some people are yet to come to terms with the whole thing. But did you see Americans fighting and killing the supposed Trump supporters? Did you see Americans looting and destroying property of their neighbors?
It doesn’t matter how much you love Uhuru and how much you want him to remain in the State House for another term or how much you love Raila, and how much you want him to be the 5th president of Kenya, if he loses accept and move on. Don’t cause innocent Kenyans unnecessary pain! No life should be lost or hard-earned property destroyed because of an individual’s misguided ambitions. We are all Kenyans at the end of the day, doesn’t matter the tribe, or race. Look beyond the color of my skin, or the accent of my words.
In one of my posts I said, Elections are here forever, me and you are not. Think about that and as you ponder over it, just know some of us are tired of rebuilding, rehabilitating and…what’s the other? Yea, and cohesion stuff!
As I was writing this had the privilege of talking to a certain woman (very beautiful I would say) who was so excited of the IEBC victory over the NASA Coalition the other day. I couldn’t understand why so I asked her. I came to realise she was happy not that because she was going to vote for either Uhuru or Raila, or any other candidate (she wasn’t even registered as a voter in the first place and obviously didn’t care. “Mimi nipange line siku mzima kutafutia mtu kazi”) but she was just happy that now the elections will go on as planned, and so we get done with the whole process and move on with our lives.
True. It’s just like life has literally stopped in Kenya. You go out to look for a job only to be asked to come back after the elections. In the business circles you will hear people talking about closing their businesses ‘until after’ elections. What happens to before elections. Aren’t we supposed to eat? People will always need goods and services, be it before, during or after elections. Let’s say by bad luck you contact this cholera currently doing trends in Nairobi, are you going to hold on until after elections?
Finally as I conclude, words of wisdom (Tupac Shakur) to my beautiful people of Busia County, maintain peace. It doesn’t matter who you support between Sospeter Ojamong’ and Paul Otuoma.