A successful election campaign is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Around the world; candidates and coalitions that may be far in the lead in the early stages of the race are rarely the ones who cross the finish line first. Often, these aged and weary runners are overtaken in the course of the race by younger, fitter and better prepared competitors.
Kenya experienced such a momentous marathon; between one contender who had been racing for decades, and a young, energetic newcomer; who sought to take the crown.
The old and weary athlete had many friends in powerful places. Unlike the young runner, who could only boast of millions of ordinary spectators cheering him on to victory, the old guard had wealthy foreign sponsors who invested a lot of time and money in his race. Instead of confining themselves to the role of spectators, these foreign sponsors chose to run onto the race track at every opportunity and attempted to tackle the young athlete and stop him from fairly winning the race.
When the young athlete picked himself from the ground and continued his steady run towards a better Kenya, the foreign sponsors decided to try a different insidious plot to prevent his free and fair victory. The foreign sponsors of the old and tired athlete began threatening any Kenyan who offered the Young Turk a drink of water as he ran the race, that should he win, there would be dire consequences for that support. However, this failed to dissuade Kenyans from supporting the young runner. In actual fact, it resulted in even more supporters donning his colours.
Then, in a final desperate attempt to fix the outcome of the race; the foreign sponsors of the old runner implemented an extensive doping regime; trying to boost their tired runner’s stamina by giving him monetary steroids. It is an open secret that the coffers of certain political parties, personalities and activist-NGOs have been swollen by backdoor funds from Western nations who were hell-bent on ensuring that their marionette succeeded at the polls.
The race organizers were pressured to ignore the blatant race-fixing that was taking place right under their noses. The media covering the race had their attention diverted from the real rigging and financial doping by foreigners by means of a carefully planted story alleging a preposterous plot by the young runner to steal the race. While the media’s cameras were trained in the wrong direction there was open and flagrant manipulation of the race going on not far from their gaze.
This financial doping gave the old runner’s coaches a false sense of hope and an inflated ego. They loudly shouted for all and sundry to hear that their man was now unstoppable, that he would win the race. They forget that in this race the young runner had overcome every obstacle that has been thrown in his way. Spurious attempts to have him disqualified mid-race, threats against his person, even calls for him to run the whole race but pass the baton to a bystander just as the finish line beckoned; all these failed to deter the young runner. This was his moment; this was our moment. A victory that would forever change the country for the better beckoned.
Against all odds, the young athlete romped to victory by a large margin. However, the sponsors of the old athlete would not accept defeat graciously. Instead, they rushed to the race adjudicators crying foul. They alleged that the young runner had taken shortcuts, that he had been assisted unfairly. They promised eye-catching and sensational evidence that would prove that the former champion had been denied a legitimate victory.
The country waited. The world waited. What was presented to the adjudicators was not what the spectators had been promised by the old runner’s coaches. Instead of fire and brimstone or ground-shaking evidence; the coaches presented a feeble and disjointed narrative that was heavy on innuendo and allegation but devoid of any substance and evidence.
Unsurprisingly the adjudicators upheld the young runner’s victory. Millions of Kenyans wept with joy as he strode onto the podium and humbly accepted his new mantle. Disappointingly, his competitors choose to disregard sportsmanship and boycotted the award ceremony.
Their sponsors, however, was more pragmatic. They knew that despite having tried their villainous best, the young runner was the undisputed new champion after a free and fair race. Their race observers had grudgingly confirmed this fact. So, one by one, they lined up to offer the new champion endorsement deals. When asked what became of their hard-line stance they would say that they had been misquoted and had never officially said they would not deal with the young runner should he win the race.
That race, now over, will determine the future and destiny of our beloved country. The young champion knows full well that he must bring rival fans together; for the good of Kenya. He is expected to use his championship to better the country and make the lives of all Kenyans better. Fortunately for him, and for all of us, he has the energy, skills and determination to succeed as demonstrated in the last 100 days.
(Mbiuki is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya. firstname.lastname@example.org)