Original story by Lavender Akinyi, Edited by Andrew Omogo
Note: This story describes the situation in Kisumu City Immediately after the announcing of the Presidential results by Mr. Wafula Chebukati, on Monday, August 15th, 2022.
There are events in life that are meant to test your faith, and they tend to shake your entire existence. Time without number I have questioned the existence of God and I am leaning towards the direction that he does not exist. How else can one explain corruption, bribery, and theft? why does it feel like some people are always winning while others continue to lose? This morning my heart and that of a thousand others are heavy as we have lost the war and the battle as well.
There exists much tension among the people who not long ago felt victorious and free, apprehensive of a major positive outcome. Sadness dances on the faces of many as the once existed smiles of joy are long gone. The Bible says that God is just and that he fights for the weak. I am beginning to question the meaning of weak because in this case, weakness is associated with integrity. Defeat is turning into our middle names. Society has changed to embrace the evils, and for some reason, they seem to be happier and making progress.
Where is justice in a corrupt electoral system? It is quiet outside, so dull that you can count the number of people walking. The streets that were once filled with music, joy, and life is now dull and almost dead. This side of Kenya clearly needs healing. But the major question still remains, how?
August 16th, 2022 remains the fateful day in the lives of many Kenyans who supported the team that was deemed to have lost. Losing a fair competition is often a loss of honor. However, Kenyans have been made to believe in the possibility that they might have lost unfairly. Why should a system be so unjust? Who gave one man so much power to decide the fates of millions of people? It is with heavy hearts that regions such as the lakeside face the incoming government. The declaration of the President-elect sends the vibes of a sinking ship to any side that is deemed to have lost. For once in the history of our nation, we feel cheated.
Who is to fight for our justice and interest? We are losing the very person who has been fighting for our democracy, sacrificing his very self for Kenya’s well-being. Free education, women empowerment, strengthening of devolved system of governance. Kenya is the great country it is today because of Odinga, the face of justice and democracy. He has been in opposition all through and has put the government on its toes to safeguard the interest of Kenyans.
As write this message today, I represent the majority of the Kenyans who wake up every day feeling hopeless and seeing only darkness ahead. What next? This is the question that everyone continues to ask. Before the elections, the economy was already driving towards inflation. As economists predict the worst, many working Kenyans are subjected to huge amounts of tax.
The worst part is that the national economic resources are being used to pay the debts that our leaders decide to take on behalf of Kenya, but loot instead due to corruption. What are we to do as a country? I might be biased but I strongly believe Kenya could have been safer in the hands of the same leader who has fought for our democracy, and our welfare for the longest time.
So far, this is the most heartbroken I have been. It is shocking that we have established an electoral system that is corrupt. The Supreme court is the next move to fight for the rights and the welfare of Kenya. But do we trust the supreme court to deliver justly and truthfully? To most of us, this battle seems to be lost already, and we are struggling to move on. Only a few are hopeful, while the many wish that those who control that State and its electoral machinery would have finally given Right Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga a break, they have no way to make sure they are heard.
It saddens me when you hear someone refer to your hero in the past tense. People are ignoring the fact that as an individual this leader is still a person and that he has a life to get back to regardless of coming to an end of his good course. In my opinion, until all legal avenues are exhausted, Hon. Odinga should never be addressed in the present tense. Memes have become a bitter pill to swallow. What is society turning into? People are taking someone’s pain and disappointment and turning it into a laughing matter, and further into a weapon that they can use against the supporters of the team that is deemed to have lost.
They say do not put politics at heart, but how is one expected to separate politics, heroes, and inspirational leadership from their heart and interest? This is so personal for some of us. That is so many crashed hopes, broken hearts, and the fear of the unknown. Whatever fate awaits the people of the Lake is unknown, as they are the majority of the supporters of the losing team.
The opponents on the other hand are not making this easy for us. They not only personalize the memes; but also, constantly send them to remind you to read them and laugh about them. Failure or loss, especially unjustly, is painful. Why should one rub it on your face that they took it unjustly and that there is nothing you can do about it? The healing that is required in this nation is one that surpasses human understanding.
Let me make one thing clear, disappointment is not in the failure, it is in the injustice. What does this mean for future generations that value democracy, fairness, and the rule of law? What sort of leadership is expected in the future? Some of us wish we could have dual citizenships to relocate to another country or separate the rest of Kenya from Central and Rift Valley since it seems, the two regions don’t value the rest of us.
The corruption, nepotism, and tribalism that presently exists in this nation stinks. Come to think of it, there is no point in practicing our patriotic right of voting. It has been rendered useless by the injustices. What is the point of waking up early to vote only for one man to unjustly decide who to award the seat to? We can as well leave it to him to be the ultimate decision maker or at least change the law to make sure that he doesn’t wield such power. What is the point of democracy if we can select our leaders without the intervention of selfish power-hungry individuals?
This year I was certain that the elections will be free and fair. I am so disappointed in my country and my leaders. Kindly remind me again of the role of the Supreme Court because it has been in this country watching the injustices for years. They say most people are unappreciative of the things they have. But point to me what one should be appreciative of presently. Why do I feel like we have jumped from the frying pan to the fire? Why do I feel like Kenya has taken two steps back?
People hold the perception that Kenya is one of the most peaceful nations. What about the tension that I witness every morning on my way to work? How about the worry always lingering in my mind of a possible stray bullet fired towards my direction? Corruption and injustices tend to create tension among citizens. We are filled with fear and worry every morning.
There is the worry of riots, which may cause unrest, and worse still, there is the fear for one’s life in case riots begin. There comes a time when people turn on one another. Who can be trusted? It is so weird to look at a person who was once a friend and an enemy now, especially if they ethnically identify with those that are perceived or deemed to have manipulated the election, to look at him or her with doubts worry, and mistrust. What kind of society are we turning into? What happens from here, we will ever learn to rust again?