On Monday 4th March, people of Kenya came out to vote, this was not just voting like any other but it was more of a historical election, being the first one under our hardly fought for “ the new constitution” and also under the new reforms in the police department, judicial reforms, and also the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission( IEBC) which most Kenyans have so much faith in after conducting two successive successful elections during referendum and by elections in Kajiado North and Dhiwa constituency.
It was all system go for Kibera residents, who are largely supporters of Mr. Odinga the Prime Minister who is also one of the presidential candidate. Mr. Odinga has been the area member of parliament for Langata since 1992. The area which is now divided into two ie. Kibra and Langata constituencies.
Yes I was talking about 4th March. By 3am a very huge crowd was already gathered at the gates of Olympic Primary School one of the biggest polling center in Kibra, by this time the gates were still closed, then one vehicle arrived carrying some iebc officials with one black ballot box on top, the box raised suspicion, one of the guys jumped on top to check what was inside it, there was nothing inside I guess because he never complained of anything. At this point scrambling began as the gates were being opened, this is when 4 people got injured and one woman lost her identity card in the process, confusion then followed as to which stream one is suppose to vote from since the streams were divided according to alphabetical names, it took iebc officials around 2 hours trying to direct the people to their respective voting halls.
The situation was the same at Old Kibera Primary School where the Prime Minister was expected to cast his vote. The queue at Olympic was so long but people were ready to wait and vote no matter what, “I feel so happy that today I have a chance to elect my leader, I want a leader that will improve the economy of this country” says Godwin Khaemba a 36 years old security guard.
The voting exercise officially started at 6.15am, and went on so smooth, at around 10.30 am Raila arrived at Old Kibera to vote, I was surprised by the number of journalist present at this poling center.
“News is so much about WHO” someone once told me. Raila’s arrival disrupted the whole process and with very heavy security around the journalists still managed to ambush him for interview,
“How confident are you Mr. Prime Minister?” “can you win it round one?” these were random questions from journalists, Raila then left and things went back to normal.
Our map Kibera team were spread all over Kibera to ferry reports from different polling centers, another technical and editing team was at the office and I hub to verify, update and upload reports as they come. It was a very busy day for all of us, then the results started coming from the tallying centers as we watch on tv screen.
Uhuru Kenyatta was already taking an early lead, at this point many Kibera people knew it was just but the beginning of the counting and hoped that things will change with time.
Tuesday 5th comes, the results were getting worse and worse for most people here, Kibera went silent as if there were no people around, moments later they started forming small small groups trying to analyze what might have gone wrong, even women were equally concerned, “I will not feel safe if Uhuru wins this election” says Peter Ouma hotel owner in Kibera. For Margaret Wambui, life will have to go on no matter who wins, “I just want the two candidates to accept the outcome for peace to prevail” says Wambui a 33 yrs old mother of four.
Most people here were shocked, they could not believe that their preferred candidate was still lagging behind, it was a lot of sadness in their faces until when the Vice President Mr. Kalonzo came out and asked all the CORD supporters to relax and remain calm, that CORD was still going to win .
Most businesses closed even getting a hotel to have lunch was not any easy.
“The End of Ondinga’s reign” “Uhuru sends Odinga home” these were some of the predictions people had for the next day’s newspaper headlines if Uhuru maintained the lead. And even as the IEBC chairman Isaac Hassan announced that only 1/3 of the total votes had been counted many people had already lost hope only a few were still trying to console themselves and others.
By evening people were again hopeful that may be just may be something can happen, the few vehicles that were operating stopped their operations in as early as 6pm and those coming from town late and Ngong road had to walk to Kibera including myself who left I hub at 9.30pm and had to walk back to Kibera. There were no people on the road, this was so unusual.
By 6th Wednesday morning, the people’s hope had increased a little bit in Kibera after being told that most of the CORD strong holds had not been counted, but the delay of the presidential results were still causing a lot of concern and worry.
Another heat came when NTV and QTV announced that the winner for Kibra Parliamentary seat was UDF’s Ndura Waruinge, something that had earlier been announced to be ODM’s Ken Okoth.
The residents at Kamkunji grounds and Olympic were not happy about it and almost protested but Ken Okoth very quickly posted on Facebook that it was just an error and asked all his supporters to remain calm and exercise peace as the error is being corrected, I wonder if they saw the post, but anyway tension reduced all of a sudden. Right now the waiting continues………