Kenya General Elections 2013: A Child’s Perspective
Kenya decides 2013. The most expensive election both for the state and aspirants, this Kenya General Elections 2013, it is said to be. The expense, we would like to think, stems from the efforts of the former seeking to avoid the mistakes of the past, notably the 2008 post-election violence, in keeping with provisions of the ‘new’ Kenyan constitution. For the later, well, power remains the name of the game.
Let Children Enjoy Childhood ! Implored the paid up full page advert on one of the leading Kenyan dailies. The ad had been paid up by the Office Of The President- Ministry of State For Special Programmes. Curiously, it ran on election eve, March the third of 2013. The call to action (in bold print) implored on the readers to: Stop Think Again.
In the backdrop of this message for restraint were mashed up images of children playing, a protester, raging flames and a particularly emphasized image of a saddened child in tears looking into the distance. Lost in thought, seemingly in search of answer to rationalize all.
And the footnote? Grim statistics from 2007/2008 election violence that erupted after disputed general elections: 1,300 killed, 633,921 displaced and billions in wealth destroyed. To wrap it all was a solemn self-administered vow not to let such destruction happen ever happen again. This ad, the last throw of dice by the government imploring Kenya to vote for a peaceful and united country after the 4th of March 2013.
Well by the look of things, it wasn’t easy to tell that the Kenya General Elections 2013 could have been the country’s most polarizing yet. The International Criminal Court cases against TNA’s Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto had sections of the country talking about “choices having consequences” in reference to presumed sanctions and even indictment if the duo were elected President and Deputy President.
In a way, the Kenya General Elections of 2013, was a political contest between two incumbents : The TNA team enjoying the support of the incumbent Mwai Kibaki who was retiring upon the end of the constitutional two terms and Raila Odinga and his running mate Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka who had served as Prime Minister and Vice President in the coalition government that had been formed as political settlement to stem the post poll violence of 2007/2008.
It should not be lost that Uhuru had served as Deputy Prime Minister in the same government whilst William Ruto had been a powerful Agriculture minister in the same government before falling put with Odinga. The two gentlemen had come together in a forced marriage of sorts given the fierce hostilities between their respective communities during the violence in 2007/2008.
Yet in the midst of this high stakes contest between bulls, one that the Swahili quip that it only hurts the grass, on the morning of the election, as I stepped out of my rented abode heading home to cast my vote, it wasn’t hard to miss this chalk drawn ‘mural’. No doubt creative works of the neighborhood children. Their account of the events of the days gone by, whose culmination is today.