From the chaos in Nairobi’s slums to the crowds of young men roaming the Rift Valley with bows and arrows – my world changed after Kenya’s last elections in 2007.
Long-time neighbours turned on each other, while my middle class friends started spewing tribal rhetoric.
Like Boniface (the protagonist in Kenya Rising), I wanted to explore the emotions felt during the violence and the subsequent healing (or lack thereof) before we sign up to vote in Kenya’s next presidential elections in early 2013.
Boniface’s goal for a “ballot revolution” is only one of several movements happening across the country right now.
It is not “the solution” but I understand Boniface’s deep need to do something, to engage not just the wananchi (common people) but also Kenya’s middle class (who are relatively disconnected from politics) in the fight to expect more from our leaders.
We will go to the ballot box next year but there are no candidates vying in this election who have risen above tribal lines to explore idea-based politics. Understandably, very few of Kenya’s bright minds are willing to join the scrum and run for the country.
It is hard to know how the elections next year will turn out.
On the one hand the pain and fear of the 2007-2008 violence is still fresh and this could prevent another violent election.
While on the other hand, despite the numerous peace and reconciliation movements across the country, the fundamental issues of land ownership, corruption and impunity remain as thorny and divisive as ever.