I have been branded an optimist. And yet all I said was that I really doubt there was going to be violence after the referendum.
I choose to imagine and do feel that the days of August 5 and 6 will be peaceful ones for Kenya. Why do I feel this? Because I believe that anyone who lost his/her home or loved one in early 2008, or merely watched what the post election violence on television, would have better sense than to engage in riots after the referendum.
For me, the recent by elections are a very good indication that the Kenyan voter is finally more enlightened and mature about winning or losing the contest, after decades of practice.
Another plus for my argument is that politicians and their friends are watching what they say nowadays, or rather being forced to. In the workplace as well, there is no animosity about which ‘camp’ someone is in, there is rather constructive debate on perceived misconceptions and an honest attempt to make sure the referendum vote is informed.
The Kenyan voter is more mature now; they are taking time to listen to what they are being told and very little heed to the background and ethnicity of the leaders campaigning before them.
There are a couple of downsides however. Money still talks, and for that we probably need prayer and fasting to be able to overcome it.
Another issue is that the campaigns are being driven at grudges, where the crusaders are driving stakes in people’s emotions and turning them against anyone in the other ‘camp’ that may have offended them in the years that passed.
But I still trust that the pull at the heartstrings will only affect the vote, it will not influence a violent reaction to the vote. That is what I feel and my conviction is both emotive and strong.
There is no time for being petty. As Kenyans, we just need to vote and move on with life peacefully, and be thankful to our God that we had actually been given the chance to vote, to make a significant change in the way Kenya is run.
Let us understand the power of the ballot and not follow our leaders blindly as sheep would: no violence. That’s my story.