In the epic movie, Django Unchained, there is a scene where Calvin Candie tells the slave master, Stephen, “If it were a snake it would have bit me” , when he alerts him of the intentions of Django and Dr Schultz.
“If it were a snake it would have bit us”. If most of the international media houses were serpents, we would be treating a snake bite, a lethal one. They came hoping to find stories of a blood bath and pain and when they couldn’t find one, they couldn’t resist making up one. Peace, patience and calmness couldn’t make their headlines. But Kenyans wrote their own story in their own words and terms. A story of a nation about to take off. A story of a nation willing to pay the price for prosperity. A story of millions lining up braving the sun and dust to make their voices heard. Their sun burns and fatigue worn with pride. The youth some first time voters eager to determine their future. A story of a new mother who barely an hour after delivery went out to determine her baby’s leaders.
A story of old folks tough weakened by age and disease stood in line to ensure the future was in safe hands. The old lady from little known Kiharu in Muranga, and the ailing man from Hardy, Karen who both collapsed while queuing touched millions to get out and vote, they had no excuse to stay home. The determination of people camping outside polling stations to have a chance at the ballot was a story worth telling.
It is such actions that draw the line between nations seeking progress and nations content with third world status. The spirit of the Samburu warriors walking 80 kilometers to vote shows how much further they would be willing to go for the country’s sake. Men and women blowing vuvuzelas at dawn to wake their neighbours, ensure that they are not late for their date with destiny was proof that no man is to remain in the past as the country turns a over a new leaf.
Everyone had a role to play in the ballot revolution and they played it like their life was on the line, costing some their lives. The men and women in uniform patrolled streets, slums, estates and the countryside ensuring order. Their colleagues’ demise in the line of duty was not enough to weaken their spirits; it only strengthened their resolve to overpower enemies of progress. Their martyrdom leaving behind inspiration.
Thousands of reporters and journalist stayed up for days stimulating their systems with coffee, energy drinks and a desire to tell it like it was. They ensured the revolution was televised and recorded.
Election officials worked night and day aware of the anxious millions awaiting the outcome. Even when their systems and technology failed them, they went on any way they knew how. Preachers of peace shouted, begged, pleaded, prayed, reminding Kenyans of how far we have come and how we have to get. Most of all the millions who turned out, lined up, voted and waited patiently for five days, staying up day and night, forfeiting work to witness history being made. Despite our different preferred candidates, we all want the same things; progress and prosperity. The aspirants too didn’t disappoint, despite being rivals, they addressed each other respectfully and vowed to settle their differences elsewhere.
There was Kenya before the elections and Kenya after elections, it’s only been a week and the two resemble each in terms of peace and calmness. A day of elections transformed the country into a Mecca for international journalists and reporters but now they have to leave and look for a bloody, juicy headline elsewhere. Hopefully they won’t find it.
Soundtrack: Get through this – Art of dying.