Post-election misfortunes (The Kawangware ordeal)

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    It’s been two days since I experienced one of those critical moments when every second ticks away and all you can do is appreciate the fact that your lungs are still craving for air, you’re conscious about the world around you and generally your receptor, cognitive and motor parts of your brain are not deprived of oxygen and still functional. In a nutshell, you appreciate being alive more than you’ve ever done before.

    Friday the 27th of October 2017, a day after the fresh presidential elections, who would have thought a peaceful bright afternoon would turn into chaos, and worse, that I would get caught up in it? At least not me, not most of us, except maybe the barbaric group of youths as I would like to call them.

    Well, most people had taken advantage of the fact that it was a day after elections, and being a Friday, it made lots of sense to boycott work. I mean an easy excuse such as travelling back from casting your vote in your upcountry home would pass, even if your boss knew your registered polling centre was 5km from your place of work. And Miss P wasn’t an exception, she took advantage of the situation and came to spend the day with the man of her dreams; the guy who had no idea that afternoon he would be back home panting like John Snow’s pony after a dreadful encounter with the white walkers.

    The location is behind Precious Blood Riruta high school; and months after tolerating the fact that I live in a house that gives me nightmares, I decided that I should hunt for a better nest. I couldn’t stand any more of the caretaker’s ignorant ego and the fact that the house has never had running water ever since my occupancy and as if the struggles weren’t enough, frequent backflow of sewage into my washroom to top it all. Despite all these, Alliance Realtors had the nerve to greet me with a foul attitude at my door on the 5th of every month demanding for the rent receipt.

    So at exactly 4pm I left Miss P in the house as me and my younger brother set out to go house hunting near the Junction Mall or Kona as most locals call it. After hour and half of searching and not yielding much, we called it a day and there we were, at the stage waiting for the next matatu and be on our way home. A minute or two into waiting, my sister calls us saying she was tipped by someone that things were not good around area number 46. This is an area that’s a stone throw away from where we live and it’s actually the last stop before we walk to the house. But since she was at work and had received the information from someone, I decided to call Miss P who was closer to the scene to give us light on the actual situation.

    Five minutes later she called back with what I would call consoling feedback, “Baby there’s a bit of unrest but you just need to be careful that’s all.”

    Still not sure if we should go back to the house or change our itinerary to the Nairobi CBD to let things cool down, I decided to withdraw money from my M-Pesa so that we can buy food, if we decided to go home, just to be on the safe side in case things got worse. A minute didn’t pass before a police land cruiser drove by packed with the flying squad officers honking the horn and shouting at other motorists to give way. They gav me the vibe that they were about to take on something worse than what Miss P had seen. By 6pm, we were in a matatu on our way home and along the way we could spot youths carrying all sorts of crude weapons, I’m talking about machetes, slashers, metal rods and pipes and pieces of wood. I could feel tension building up as we got close to our final stop at the Shell gas station Riruta satellite. It actually wasn’t the normal stop and alight, it was more of a slow-down-and-hop-off kind of thing because I remember I had to run after the matatu because my small bro was still trying to get off as they sped off due to the commotion when the police arrived. Thereafter, I remember us rushing and sneaking our way through a huge mass of armed youth blocking the road around Myers Club as we made the final left turn into the murram road the runs behind Precious Blood high school next to KBS terminus.

    Things got scarier when I saw some of the youths chasing after some guy who stormed into a nearby compound and locked the gate and they went ahead to bang the gate with stones and machetes. Just when we were about to squeeze out from the armed crowd, two guys, one with a machete and the other with a broken bottle approached asked me a question in a tongue I didn’t understand. Clueless of what to answer them, I decided to ignore but they grabbed me and pushed me against a saloon car at the side of the road. A few seconds later another pair grabbed my brother and they were shouting, “We got another one!” In my head I kept telling myself this is not it. I reached into my pocket and gave out my phone and asked them to let us go. From the other side of the road, I could see a mass of them running towards us now that they had been alerted and my brother did the one thing that saved us both, he shouted “The police are coming!” and in the next moment their hands were off both of us as we took off faster than the fastest man on earth.

    Few seconds later we were in the house and I could not help but think about the whole scenario of a machete held onto my neck and a broken bottle against my abdomen.

    What happened to the times when we never had to worry about the aftermath of an election? When we didn’t have to think about anything worse than your favorite candidate losing. It makes no sense to vote and still use violence and discrimination along tribal lines to show who’s superior than the other or the winner in this case.

    It sickens really!

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