On the 27th of December 2007, peace-loving and democratic Kenyans turned out in large numbers to elect leaders of their choice.
Having been among the observers in the electoral process, I confidently say that the whole process was peaceful and devoid of any ugly incidents. After voting, counting was done so transparently to the satisfaction of the electorate who braved chilly weather and stayed late into the night until the whole counting was completed.
However, during the tallying process, at the electoral commission’s head office, somehow things were not done to the satisfaction of the Kenyans. First, the results took longer than expected to be announced and claims of irregularities in some constituencies emerged. This turned into mounting pressure from a section of politicians on the ECK Chair to review the tallying process in the said constituencies, a factor that fell on the chairman’s deaf ears leading to his pronouncing of the incumbent president as the winner.
This triggered violent protests from a section of Kenyans across the country which led to damage of property and extension loss of lives of innocent Kenyans mainly the youth. For instance, in my Western Province, several deaths were reported. Also, property was damaged, which translated into skyrocketing in prices of basic commodities. This unrest continued for several days countrywide. However, calm has slowly but steadily returned and is now back to normal in almost all parts of the country. This is save for a few areas especially in the Rift Valley and Nyanza Provinces which were adversely affected and may take a bit of time to return to normality.
However, it’s so disheartening to learn that the international media is painting a gloomy picture of a rather sorry state of our country. I don’t want to underestimate what happened, but all I want to assure the world is, yes we had the chaos rocking our country but things are cooling down.
“May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty,” is a line from our national anthem. I strongly believe that through the relentless efforts from all Kenyans and the local media, these powerful words from our national anthem have time and again rung in our ears as Kenyans, and we have realized how vital our dwelling in peace has been. As the way forward, Kenyans now have embraced dialogue as the only way to iron out the differences that occurred during the electoral process.
Having been among the greatly affected lot, the youth need to think deeply about their future and the future of our great nation. They have to raise above their ethnicity, bury their pride and other ideological differences and see each other through the national eye, and NOT through their tribal eyes. All we need is to recognize the intrinsic value and dignity of each other and work to coexist harmoniously, putting on the helmet of brotherhood and the raiment of Kenyan hood and not tribalism.
All said and done, we still remain Kenyans and we are hoping that the calm that has returned in our country is here to stay. To our dear friends abroad, we want to assure you that Kenya is not at war save for a few ‘teething’ problems, which characterize a true and developing democracy
Johnstone Juma Simiyu
World Youth Alliance Kenyan Chapter