2013 was and will be a memorable year for this generation. For a significant number, we voted for the first time. The civic education process was a joke but we went all in, albeit a tad oblivious.
A new constitution, a new system of governance and candidates with such promise.
The front runner was a cool guy who takes selfies and the man to watch was and will always be the hallmark of democratic governance.Oh what a time to be over 18.
I was ecstatic. I couldn’t sleep trying to mentally picture the ballot paper. Mostly because I wondered if Shebesh had a different weave for this particular occasion. Or if all of Waititu would fit into the box of candidates portrait.
I voted in Nairobi. The only difference with the Kisumu voter is probably the heat they had to endure.
During that election, all bets were off, we had the power in our wallets, pockets and purses. We knew it and we were dying to exercise it. And exercise we did. With an enthusiasm that will not soon be forgotten and a hope that slowly but surely, our intended leaders have trashed and utterly spat on. I am saying this with a hint of bitterness because it is not a story I am telling, I am narrating my reality as a Kenyan youth.
On that election date, we went out of our way, took our time and invested our energy to give office to individuals who best appealed to what we believed in. Whose policies and frames of work were aligned with our take on national governance. We took to the ballot and gave the leadership of this country to men and women we trusted with our resources and well being.
Years have gone by, manifestos have since lit jikos or are somewhere under a water pot, promises have been broken, trust has been buried and our unrelenting hope has dwindled. Drastically I dare say.
We employed thieves and characters devoid of integrity and honour. This might be business as usual for the politician without a modicum of consideration for his electorate and a lack of integrity. But for the young souls who trusted you, we have envisioned what corner of hell you will sit in. It is more lit than where Trump will be. Somewhere close to Hitler.
This is for the youth who feel embarrassed for having participated in this past election. For the boy who campaigned tirelessly only for his preferred candidate to turn into a mega thief.
The realization that you gave him/her the power to fleece you stabs like a dagger. For the lady who tampered with her outfit to fix the kanga that portrays her chosen leader, the mama who voted because the market upgrade was on the agenda, the mzee who prayed for CDF to take Omondi to school. I understand how this next election might be a case of same-cast-different-script for you. I need you to understand that the power is still in the voter’s card.
This is my appeal to you people of Kisumu.
2007 will forever be a part of you.
2013 will for a whole generation hurt like a fresh wound.
2017 is the year you rise from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix. It might feel contrary but this is the year you get your voters card, hold on to it, contemplate, deliberate and decide that your silence is far worse than the scream you will make when you cast that vote. From all corners of the lake city, chukua kura bwana.
When you see the IEBC stand and you were heading to kakwacha for lunch, stop. That mbuta will taste just as magically after you have registered. Whether you are from Manyatta, Nyalenda or Obunga, that pathetic road you keep calling upon sirkal to construct will be in the same condition after you have not voted, chukua kura. Kondele massive, with your flangover (because flyover is the mzungu version and theirs was custom made hehe), promise if you take a few minutes to register, that flangover will be safe while you are away.
Chukua kura. The magnanimous state of Kibuye, we recognize your reverence, make it count, chukua kura yako.
From the green landscapes of Milimani, to the posh air of Migosi and of course the ambient route 44, the meeting can wait as can the dinner you are hosting, chukua kura.
Preach to the market women, church members, school children, university students and bodaboda riders the importance of registering as a voter. Then you shall have played your part in shaping Kisumu’s future.
Father Atemo of Kibuye Catholic church, intercede for Kisumu. That our deep hurt and disappointment will not deter us from doing what is right. By us and the generations to come. Chukua kura.