Hey there friend, how have you been ?
I am alright too, thanks. I can’t complain much.
So as most of you know, Kenya just concluded its 2017 general elections & the results were released. People won, others lost. Numerous words have been thrown around in the pre, mid and post electioneering period. Said words have been about rigging allegations, the current electoral commission/boards providing free fair & uncredible elections, extrajudicial injustices connected with… …. what can I say, we’ve heard it all. I am not here to reiterate aforementioned topics nor add fuel to the flames; neither am I here to spread damaging propaganda and nonfactual data, which I don’t even fathom. We’ve all been watching the news and we all have our opinions. (un)Fortunately, I’m not here to talk politics. Neither am I judge nor juror that you can plead with so I can sway, like winds do boat sails… I mean, I barely understand ‘learned friend’ lingo from the TV show Suits. I can smash a hammer around and scream “Order! Order” but it will never be a gavel. So, no political opinions in this article. At least not today.
Peace is such a beautiful noun. Everything associated with it is calming (well for the sane ones anyway). Emblems, doves, the colour white and so on… We often take it for granted, until something terrible grabs it away anyway. My heart bleeds that after every 5 years, we seem to completely forget our morals, our sanity, our national anthem and who we are. One of the ugliest words in our country’s history crops up; tribalism. Sadly even in 2017, I have been watching this dragon hovering all over the country (and not in a cool Game of Thrones kinda way). One would tend to think that after 50+ years of growth society has been enlightened enough to shun this vice, but no. After 8 years of cleansing and healing from the darkness we all witnessed as a country, it is evident that we are still far from it.
Someone said “Give a man a mask and he will show you his ugliest self first”. Aside from cyber-bullying through apps like Sarahah, common social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter & Instagram have become coliseums of war; the gladiators armed with keyboards and mice, smartphones and an internet connection. They spread false information like forest fire, attack each other with words, spew hate messages and monger bad tribal utterances through these social media circles because of a certain candidate’s affiliation with your tribe …
… and all this for what? For what I ask?
Suddenly you quickly forget Mama Mayweather, the friendly lady at the kiosk who lets you pick mboga for your supper on credit. Kevo the bodaboda guy who’s always on speed dial even at 1 A.M., Baba Jane your landlord who lets you pay your rent 5 days later than usual because your boss pays late. Vivian who sells you boiled eggs and smokies with kachumbari at the corner. Johnnie your butchery, mutura & soup guy. Don’t forget Abdi your cheerful kinyozi who always has the latest on sports. Your mechanic Boni who always sorts you out since you don’t know jack about car engines, calls you mkubwa and that (secretly) always makes you beam with delight. Linda who always helps you with your KRA taxes in June. Alice, your hairdresser whom you’ve been loyal to for 7 years. Remember your very good friends Lisa & John from the other side of the country, the best couple at your wedding. Remember your workmate and friend Patel who was very excited to see how your people conduct traditional weddings. These are all important people in your life, and their ethnicity has never been an issue, so why now?
Not all Kenyans voted your candidate in (or out) based on tribal lines. This old-fashioned berserk mentality of having a leader/president from your ‘backyard’ is a huge illusion and should cease to exist completely. It’s clear most of these blokes you ‘fight for’ are comfortable in their homes flipping through📺 channels and newsflash; will only use you to get to power. So unless someone is your father (no pun intended) stop parading the streets (both physical & social media) inflicting damage and causing civil unrest because ‘your candidate’ lost. Similarly, resist from taunting others because ‘your candidate won’.
My friend, you don’t share kidneys with these politicians. When you get home, you won’t find food on your table and an avocado🥑 on the side courtesy of mheshimiwa. Their eyes won’t burn and their noses won’t run from the police teargas. Neither will they attend maombolezi when someone in your neighbourhood passes away after getting shot. You owe them nothing.
My country people, whether your candidate wins or loses, if you fail to pay City County parking fees, your car will be clamped. If you fail to pay rent, you will be evicted. Don’t pay tax; no exemption, the taxman will be at your door. Break the law, the police & the courts won’t give two shits where the back of your ID says you come from, you’ll be apprehended & sent to jail to eat those stale beans.
“…leader from my hometown…” *SMH*
Silver lining however, the newer generation (myself included… yes, I’m not old) are disregarding ethnic clusters but instead are embracing reforms in doing performance-based reviews and electing people who can deliver good results. If they win and they don’t, another crop will be elected to replace them. That’s how it’s supposed to be anyway.
We are all human, we are all one, equal Kenyans, trying to make ends meet, fighting for a better future. So please, be an advocate for peace, love your neighbour as you do yourself.
Following the controversy also going around in Charlottesville in the US, former POTUS, Barrack Obama tweeted this, quoting from the late Nelson Mandela’s memoir. See you in 2022.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…”
“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love…”
“…For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
– Nelson Mandela