Me, A Kikuyu, Actually Voted For Raila Odinga

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Vanessa Shera

Nessa Shera is one lady who discusses her adventures, interests, and thoughts as she learns something new after every escapade, while occasionally enjoying a cup of coffee.
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It was a heart-wrenching decision. When you’ve surrounded with a particular opinion your whole life, when you keep hearing certain comments from your family and from those around you, to some extent it becomes truth. You embed those thoughts into your mind and into your heart, and it becomes difficult to look at the opposite with an open mind.

‘Raila is a reckless radical’, I would hear one say. Then again, his temperament hasn’t been his most admirable trait. It’s probably what brought doubt to those who would think to support him, myself included. I couldn’t imagine voting for a man who would incite or was at the very least incapable of controlling or deterring his supporters from causing violence. Personally, I wasn’t voting for Raila, not until a few days ago.

I’m Kikuyu and as far as tribalism or favor goes in this instance, Uhuru made sense.  He was safe, and at least he attempted to act contemporary. After all, ‘better the devil you know’.  This is the mindset of so many others (including myself once). I realized this when a Uhuru supporter told me the exact same words, trying to convince me that he was the better leader while queuing to vote. If anyone was to think that tribalist point of views died out with millennials, it’s sadly not the case. Individual social influences tend to be more persuasive, especially when it’s related to one’s middle name. The Ocheings’ and Akellos’ would tend to support NASA, while the Karanjas’ and Wanjirus’ would rather vote Jubilee.

I chose not to be so dogmatic or typical. Then again, I’m not voting for Raila because I want to seem liberal or different, but to see more difference in this country. If I was to describe Uhuru using one word it would be ‘privileged’, anyone would agree that he’s had a lot handed to him, maybe even this country; possibly as a means of legacy, logically, however, he did win the popular vote in 2013. With this opportunity given to him, his government succeeded with the standard gauge railway, the issuing of millions of title deeds, a free maternity program, among other things. But he has also failed in particularly serious matters, such as major corruption that still continues, public debt, unemployment, drought among other things. Issues that are key to a nation trying to develop further.

In defense, one would demand to know what exactly Raila has contributed. For starters, he ensured that the nation got a new Constitution during Kibaki’s time, and when he was appointed the Minister of Roads and Public Works, he took the opportunity to reclaim public road reserves by ordering the demolition of buildings and structures erected on such lands. He also contributed to the amendments of various laws such as the Pensions (Amendment) Bill and Local Authorities Act, and added to the debate on the introduction of tougher penalties for rapists. Then, of course there was his fight to bring about multipartyism during Moi’s era. While these may not be sufficient to validate him, remember Uhuru has also been unable to achieve everything.

Simply put, I’m giving Raila the benefit of doubt. Just like Uhuru had an opportunity to prove himself, Raila may bring further change to this country.

Simply put, I’m giving Raila the benefit of doubt. Just like Uhuru had an opportunity to prove himself, Raila may bring further change to this country.


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