I am always a political animal on the prowl, and the just concluded elections once again provided me with an opportunity to go on a mission. Although almost 99% of those who were vying for the Nairobi County Assembly Seat in Riruta were people I had worked with previously, I was an agent for an acquaintance of mine as a political party agent authorised by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). It is an experience I will remember forever but just cherish a few moments of it.
I went and collected my appointment letter on Sunday 3rd March, 2013 from the candidate’s office at around 1300HRS where it was agreed that we were to assemble by 0500HRS at Ndurarua Primary School polling center where we would meet our coordinator. I received a text message from the agent on 3rd March, 2013 confirming that all systems were in place and we were to meet at our designated stations at 5am as agreed.
3AM, Monday 4th March, 2013, your truly is up and ready to face the day. Armed with my letter, I left the house at around 4:15am under the cover of darkness and headed to Ndurarua Primary School. When I got there, a sea of humanity had already formed and getting even to the gate (not inside the compound) was a gargantuan task. I called my candidate at around 4:44am after I couldn’t trace any of the agents I was supposed to work in conjunction with. He promised to call back shortly (but never did), and so before 5AM, I had called him severally using my own resources. Our coordinator later turned up and we decided to force our way to the gate. Even with our magic waving of our agent’s authority and shouting about our privileges, nobody gives a damn about who we are and we end up stuck up in the bottleneck at the gate. It was hell and pandemonium with pushing and shoving, but no movement. The OCS Riruta Police came at about 5:30am but did nothing apart from twisting his head and looking like Alice in Wonderland.
The crowd is becoming impatient and fed up, it is almost 6 o’clock and there is no sign that the gate will be opened before the sun starts doing the people injustice. Amongst the crowd are women with children who woke up early to be able to cast their votes and go back to doing their chores and business. Some young boys have had enough and have opted to play a hide and seek game with the police both Kenya Police and Administration Police backed by the Prisons Service. They have opted to jump over the fence and get into the compound. Then the silent voices in the people’s heads got wings and flew out. Some choice words flow from their mouths directed at the police and the IEBC guys who are nowhere near the gate.
Then an order is telepathically given, that the gate has to give way for the sea of humanity to pass. The columns holding the gates appear to be in unison and heed the call. Then panic ensures, the OCS appears in loco of the presiding officer and tries to tell the people in an ambiguous tone to be patient; he is told off and asked between him and Isaak Hassan is to be believed, IEBC announced that voting centers would be opened at 6AM, – final and this was not subject to discussion – people force themselves through the small gate opening and the gate makes a V sign, a clear indication that it is just a matter of time before masons are guaranteed work. At this point, somebody’s brain is switched on, and there is light from the bulb- it is decided that the gate must be opened, which happens much to our relief.
Those who have ever gone to Nyayo National Stadium to watch Gor Mahia take on AFC Leopards are in a position to tell what happened next. Helter-skelter, the people run. Some of those who were at the front-line tripped and fell, one lady fainted and the police got overwhelmed – their response raise their guns and buttons intending to charge at the people. I take the opportunity to be loud and clear and tell off the cops, that this is not Moi’s time where the police were the law, and the law was the police. We had shaken off the shackles of living under a police and Moi state. The crowd is not cowed but I know from the look on the policemen’s faces that I am now a marked man deserving to be disciplined and I will have to pay for this reckless act of reminding them that they were employed by the people while they knew that they were supreme. (bear in mind that we are less than a kilometer away from the place where administration police officers executed some taxi drivers a few years ago in Kawangware).
part ii to follow…