The real winners, losers in the Kenyan elections

After spending hours waiting for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to officially announce the winner of the Kenyan elections, I eventually gave up and succumbed to calls from my editor to submit my Sunday column.
Allan Brian Ssenyonga
Allan Brian Ssenyonga

After spending hours waiting for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to officially announce the winner of the Kenyan elections, I eventually gave up and succumbed to calls from my editor to submit my Sunday column.

So without the knowledge of the official announcement by IEBC I will stick to the last tallying that showed Uhuru Kenyatta taking the day and assuming this remains a constant, we can now congratulate the son of Kenya’s first president for clinching victory and becoming Kenya’s fourth president.

The election has been one of the longest tests of people’s patience almost at all stages. The campaigns have gone on for so long, having started more than a year ago (unofficially). Nominations, too, took a long time and in some cases had to be extended.

On the voting day, many stood in queues from as early as 4am and in some areas voting went on till around 8pm. Generally, one had to endure very long queues for hours before they could cast their ballot.

The IEBC had promised to announce the winner in 48 hours but we all had to wait for days instead. Media houses suspended daily programming to broadcast results as they came in. At one point the presidential tally was stuck for hours without any change.

Talking of the losers and winners, I certainly see no losers among the presidential candidates since they all conducted themselves in a civil manner. Raila Odinga may have lost once the top prize but we need to celebrate him as a Kenyan hero who spent years fighting for the freedoms that Kenyans are now enjoying.

Together with Martha Karua and Paul Muite, Raila led the fight against the KANU era rogue politics and even paid with a stint in prison. So to me all the candidates are winners even though it is only Uhuru Kenyantta who gets to occupy the famous house on the hill.

It would be just wrong for me not to credit one of Kenya’s finest legal brains, Paul Muite for going to court to ensure that he, together with Mwalimu Mohammed Abduba Dida, were included in the first presidential debate. Thank you Muite for helping Dida to get the platform he needed.

Dida was the ultimate winner here. The former Literature teacher added humour and painful reality checks to the two presidential debates and he is the only candidate who can claim to have changed the minds of the voters after the debates.

He basically campaigned only at the debates and managed to garner more votes than some candidates who had been campaigning for years. Being a businessman you cannot fail to acknowledge the fact that he joined the race with minimal investments (I didn’t see a single branded T Shirt of his) and reaped big.

Away from the candidates we can also credit William Ruto for being a kingmaker while Mutahi Ngunyi is the brave analyst who reminded us that in all honesty the election was to be won on tribal numeracy not issues or tactics – simply a tyranny of numbers.

The Kenyan media was also at the top of their game, pulling all stops to cover the election. At one time Citizen TV even had helicopters taking journalists around to cover the nominations.

Kenyan media houses also joined hands to organise the presidential debate which had many glued to their screens on two occasions. They also led the peace campaigns that have gone a long way in checking the tensions that led to violence in 2007. Much respect to all the journalists who stretched their resilience by staying awake to give us the results as they trickled in.

The international media that is always scavenging for the ‘African’ story of bloodshed may not be as excited this time. The elections had few incidents for them to chew on compared to 2007. Social media also played a key role in ensuring that the media did not get away with any inaccurate reports.

The losers, if there is any, were the people who procured the expensive Biometric Voting Registration kits that malfunctioned when we needed them most, thus putting the credibility of the election in jeopardy. Voter civic education remains a myth, too.

My wish now is that the interest that other East Africans have had in the Kenyan election becomes mutual and long-lasting. Let us mind about each other not only during an election that we fear may lead to hiked fuel prices.

Blog: www.ssenyonga.wordpress.com
Twitter: @ssojo81

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