I am suddenly afraid of the oncoming elections. All the people immediately around me are campaigning for peace during and after the exercise; so much such that I made the assumption it is the same atmosphere all over Kenya. How ignorant. Yesterday opened my eyes to something peculiar.
I spent 2hours in a fabrics shop. It was long enough to make friends with the attendants who helped me with my selection. They were all male, about 4. From the time I went in, once in a while one of them engaged his friend briefly in random discussions. Topics ranged from human kindness, woman trouble, political parties, such.
While paying, I asked when I could come for a specific type of fabric in large quantities. They told me to check after elections. I proposed to come in late August, then their reaction perplexed me.
Apparently, “that could mean you will come in November because we don’t know how these elections will go”, the lady cashier said. The debate guy added, “As for me, NASA must win!”
“What if jubilee does?” I asked.
“Then we shall not accept”.
“What do you mean, shall you then fight your neighbor?” I wasn’t going to act like I didn’t know what he meant.
“Yeah!” he boasted, “even to the point of using a panga”.
I took up my phone and told him to repeat everything he had said so I could take a nice video of him and take it to the authorities. He moved back, laughing. Then I made him understand the basics about the importance of peace. I am not sure if his change of mind was genuine, but I must return there this week with my peace ssermon.
I learned he is only 18years old, and that worried me. Who planted this seed in him? How many people around him think similarly? Shall he be able to make them change their minds too? Are we safe?
So the peace campaign must go on further and louder. Let everyone you meet understand that there is life after elections. The matatu conductor, the driver, the motorbike rider who tells you an entire story while taking you to town, the shopkeeper…Let peace be the word on our lips.
Get out of your circle and influence the other one.