- Posted March 1, 2013 by
- sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer
It is a pretty chilly morning in Nairobi, Kasarani area. I am excited about the elections, everyone is, walls in tunnels and bill boards on the Thika Road super high way tell it all. Posters are plastered everywhere, campaign Lorries are busy making announcements and calling out on people to come out in large numbers to vote for their preferred candidate. Yes it is 7 o’clock in the morning, the campaigns don’t rest, at least not when it is only a few hours to the elections. I am heading into the city of Nairobi, I can’t help to notice the matatu touts who are busy talking about elections, some even have jerseys and t-shirts labeled with parties and presidential candidates whom they will vote for.
For us Kenyans this election determines a lot, it is the first time we are voting with a new constitution. One of the main reasons as to why many people will turn up for the voting process is that we all want to be part of the change that we anticipate for, no one wants a repeat of the 2007/2008 violence that was marred with the death of 1,133 people and over 600,000 displaced from their lands. This election is flooded with peace campaigns and civic education. Yes there are a few people who are skeptical about peaceful elections but those who are, don’t live in Kenya. I say this because many Kenyans are optimistic on peaceful elections, we have talked so much about change, we have trended on twitter and face book preaching peace, and we are the change. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) the new body that succeeded Electoral Commissions Board (ECK) in overseeing this election, has also held campaigns to sensitize Kenyans through civic education and has also collaborated with other bodies to preach peace. I believe that IEBC will ensure that the election process will not have any cases of rigging as was alleged in the 2007/2008 elections.
Kenya held the very first presidential debates, which showed that we as a country have moved from an era of gagging, an era of the unspoken, now we are at liberty to direct questions to potential leaders and know if they are just taking us for a banana ride. In 2007 Kenya had 14,088,302 registered voters but only 9,828,124 people voted. The forth coming March 4th elections have about 14.3 million registered voters and it is my prayer that all of them turn up and vote. Karanja a taxi driver in the city tells me that he will not be travelling to his up country home in Nyeri County to vote because most of his time is spent in the city, he also says that what he looks forward to the most is the gubernatorial seat.
‘Kile nataka sana ni kuona Nairobi imeendelea, ni sawa kukua na president mnoma lakini kiti cha governor ni muhimu kupata mtu wa maana’ –‘What I want to see is a developed Nairobi, its good to have a good president but its very important to be wise in this governor position’
Kendi a Public relations officers in an education firm in Nairobi says that the various manifesto’s from different political coalitions are well decorated and that what she expects from the candidates who win is the handling of security and the creation of jobs which are key issues in our country.
‘If this can be implemented then I think Kenya will be heading to a better place, I am optimistic, but lets wait and see,’ she says.
Many Kenyans have various expectations but if there is one thing that has stood out from the campaigns is the peace initiative. We have a dark part of history recorded in our calendars, no one wants this, no one wants to see children and women killed or burnt in churches, nobody wants to see their men run out into the streets and throw stones and kill each other, nobody wants violence.
So what if my presidential candidate does not become president, what if all the six candidates I vote for doesn’t win? I will suck up and move on… if I am the change I need to be, then I need to show it in my actions. Kenya Ni Sisi-We are Kenya