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What Kenyans underwent to see other Kenyans register as voters

By Dan Basil | February 28th 2017

Political parties and perceived strongholds can now boast of numbers. Politicians, in their mobilization quest, met reactions in the ground that they did not foresee in their strategy meetings.

The Deputy President was heckled severally in various regions, NASA Co-Principal Raila Odinga witnessed gunfire in the Turkana sands and few lawmakers felt the wrath of the neglected constituents in the campaign trail.

While this is expected of the political class, there emerged a class of responsible citizens who mobilized their friends and families to enlist as voters in the month-long exercise.

Some employed creativity to convince their audience. Others relied on social media to manage the threatening apathy. They understood voting is a right fiercely for in some of the now world class democracies. They were motivated by the desire to empower their peers toward responsibility.

This report, however, does not include the efforts of the supporters who consistently overcame the threats of the elements, blocking roads and market entries, sometimes harassing Kenyans struggling to achieve their objectives.

Instead, it celebrates the wits and the agony of the ordinary man and woman who successfully or unsuccessfully set a potential voter on the registration road. Usually, they worked individually, self-driven to achieve the 2017 polls goal: responsive leadership.

Just like job applications and subsequent interviews, registration and voting remain one’s choice.

Few chose to starve in their homes than to collapse in the deadline queue. Every morning, some adults curse our roads yet are unwilling to hold the decisive card.

It is not an offense to fail to enlist- but it is the only reliable procedure to correct the rot spread in our country.

If IEBC is genuinely committed to credible elections. The deadline remains 9th, March. Go for that tool.

For purposes of security, we will refer to the individuals who shared their experiences during the registration by their first names, even when surnames would benefit political arithmetic.

Their stories
“It’s only after my brother mentioned the voter card as a compulsory requirement for the county bursaries that I fled to the registration centre,” Mercy reveals.

She represents the constituency that will only participate when they stand to gain, to gain instantly, individually, directly. Often, they carry this plague to the polls in form of voter bribery.

“I’m registered. Bae not,” Dinah introduces the conflict. She adds, “His friends have pleaded with him. Others have mocked him to see him shock us.” Dinah explains he remains unshaken and worried that he may ignore the 2017 General Election just like 2013. But then she pulls a surprise, a strategy.

 Even though a Coastal legislator might have joked about it at a rally, Dinah starved Bae of his treasure- kisses, until he tabled the newly acquired voter’s card.

 “Her firm stand gradually overwhelmed my ego,” he confirms, smiling. Whether he will cast it remains an uphill task. He ignored 2013. He may boycott 2017.

And Diana’s story is the story of a committed businesswoman who cannot risk an hour thinking of registering. “I’m too busy to go to Murang’a to do what you ask me to do,” Angie, her friend, reports.

When Davie, an aspirant from the region, opens his wallet, Diana opens her head: This is a now business. Should 2017 remain the business?

“I’m pregnant,” Juma’s wife kept complaining whenever the husband raised the issue.

The pregnancy is four months, and she is very strong- Juma thinks, before getting reasonably emotional: She doesn’t understand our child deserves motivated teachers to build her future.

 She forgets quickly that we are locked out of clinics because we have repeatedly locked out ourselves in the running of the republic.

And then he threatens, slightly: If she fails to register by noon, I’ll abandon here, and invest the energy in the neighborhoods where I can confidently secure ten votes. At the sound of the threat, she joined the Pipeline Tumaini queue.

I am on the verge of submitting this article when a call interrupts. It is from a friend who had refused to register. No class of persuasion would expand his mind. He’s just registered! He made the decision. Finally!
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