Kenyans go to the polls in less than 7 hours to culminate what has been the most toxic election period I’ve ever witnessed.
Politics in this country can be dispiriting.
Having engaged in countless political debates, I have seen how what seems at the onset like a good earnest debate about the character of each candidate, can quickly turn into a shouting contest.
As far as NASArites are concerned, questioning anything Raila Odinga does or says makes you an outright tribal bigot who is an enemy of change. Don’t even dare the Jubilants. According them, everything NASA says is nonsense and getting them to concede that the opponent does indeed have a fair point is often an exercise in futility.
Engaging fanatics in an objective debate is an uphill task.
You realize how fast people you’ve always deemed to be smart can turn into the illiterate villagers you meet at the market place.
Make no mistake though, I’ve also encountered some incredibly brilliant Kenyans during this period. Ordinary Kenyans whose courage to say what they think, without being swayed by the opinions of their tribal chiefs has challenged me in unimaginable ways.
However, these kinds are vastly outnumbered.
And that’s disturbing because if there was ever a season when objectivity in our politics was needed, it was this election period.
Because let’s face it, whichever side of the political divide we belong to, one thing we can all agree on is that there is a lot of pain out there. Many ordinary people who feel that the political class has benefited at the expense of the ordinary man.
What we can’t agree on, and won’t agree on tomorrow either, is who is the best suited candidate to solve these problems. That’s not a problem because that’s the essence of an election.
The lack of objectivity in our debates is what has been disturbing.
When the times are this serious, the one thing that would have been needed is some rationality in our debates.
But the truth is that we’re far from there. This period has shown us how divided we are.
So, after all our ethnic based arguments, you think people will all of a sudden get to the polling station and vote based on issues?
Get out of that bubble.
What people have been referring to as the most important election in the history of this country is a tribal contest dressed as a battle of ideas.
And tomorrow will just be the climax of this tribes get-together.
Very few can tell you what is entailed in either the Jubilee or NASA manifesto. But they’ll be quick to tell you “Vote wisely” which is always an indirect way of telling you, “Vote for my candidate”.
That’s the state we are in.
This election pits President Uhuru Kenyatta against NASA flag-bearer Raila Odinga. Both have some good ideas but they have also overseen eras tainted by scandals be it nepotism, corruption or ethnic divisions. If you can’t recall both, you have chosen to have selective amnesia. When you look at the running/ coalition mates, it only gets worse. Imagine for instance having to argue about who between Ruto and Weta stole more?
Those are the choices we have to make. And whichever your reasons are for supporting either, make your voice heard. GET OUT AND VOTE.
God bless Kenya!