The Githeri Man

August 10, 2017.

It felt like an eerie calm before a storm. We were in the midst of what was brewing up to be another disputed election. The NASA coalition leader, Raila Odinga had raised concerns over the credibility of the election process by tabling a hacking allegation. The response from Wafula Chebukati was cagey at first before IEBC out rightly denied Raila’s claims. On the public opinion forums the conversations were dominated by techies trading knowledge on databases and log files.

It had only been three days since Kenyans turned out to vote on August 8th but the suspense had already started to bite as ordinary folk got jittery. Hour after hour of news analysis and commentary had left viewers either more confused or anxious. Underlying it all was the sickening feeling of de ja vu. We had been here before.  

How To Deal With A Recurring Case Of Electile Dysfunction

Electile Dysfunction. The inability of a country to conduct a successful election and satisfy the expectations of its citizens.

Every other day, I meet people suffering from a pre-election stress disorder and pre-August jitters. They constantly ask those who appear attuned to the pulse of the nation. “Will we survive August?” There is a genuine case for concern. The innocence was shattered in 2007. No one wants to be a sitting duck again so there is wisdom in considering the risks to person, family and property.

Keeping up with the political show, the parade of prospective candidates and the constant intrigues, theaters, cunning and scandal has become a social skill set that is just as involving as keeping up with the English Premier League. One has to watch a lot of TV. Not that it will save you from voting in an idiot.

Please, Pick Up That Vote.

I swung by my polling station, my village primary school in Sinaga, in Siaya County to ensure that I was on the National Voters Register. I chose the mid-morning because I assumed that the early morning would be buzzing with excited first time voters and political party mobilisers. When I arrived, I thought it was the wrong venue until I noticed the IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) officials seated behind a desk under a lone tree in the school compound. A young man and woman in bright green branded reflective jackets, were glued to their phones, like they were surfing Facebook. After confirming my details, I asked them where everyone was and they shot back a blank look. Traffic had been near absent. We made a joke about Kenyans and our last-minute culture.

The next day, I passed by the same venue to collect some details from the primary school and found the same IEBC duo having chapatti and dengu. They looked relieved to see a familiar face and even invited me for lunch. The numbers were not even trickling in at all.