The last two weeks have felt like the days between Christmas day and New Year.. Those days where you have to check the calendar to confirm if it’s a Saturday or Wednesday. Kenyans went to the polls on the 9th of August and despite a lower than expected voter turnout, the polls were largely peaceful. We are slowly coming of age and realizing that life doesn’t have to stop every five years when we elect new leaders. I liked how Kenyans appeared busy even as they waited for the outcome of the presidential contest. But having said that, there was still a stalling amongst our people. We would go back to life full throttle once the presidential ballot is decided. And for that reason, our patience was put to the test.
Only that this time around it was impatience to get back to our lives and not to over celebrate the fifth president. I’m encouraged by that reset amongst our people because whether blue or yellow took government my obligations remain and I have to jisort. I started writing this story before Chebukati’s announcement so it’s a before and after kind of reflection.
Speaking of the presidential outcome. Why are we so fixated on that? We are most interested in who becomes president more than our governor, senator, member of parliament (MP) and county assembly (MCA). Yet in my view, my MCA followed by MP are the ones who will impact my life the most administratively. Issues in my neighborhood will be addressed by those two leaders. So shouldn’t I be keener on who I elect at the ward level? Baba or Ruto will not come to deal with pollution or the insecurity in my hood. Anyway going by the growth we have witnessed in this last election we will get there too. At least I was able to choose my MCA based on the debate organized by our residents’ associations where we invited them to come and sell their manifestos. I hope the guy who won will be his word. Either way, it was a step in the right direction.
Chebukati has now told us who won the presidential election. But I thought to reflect on the last ten days when the country has been in a limbo of sorts. Transitions have three main stages. Endings, neutral zone and new beginnings. Kenya has been in a neutral zone between 9th august and now. A place of nothingness as I prefer to call it. I observed that as much as we are going about our business, there was growing anxiety in the nation. Fake news thrived over that period with many saying stuff to favour their preferred outcome.
That tells me two things about transitions. First, the external volume becomes louder, making it difficult to remain still to hear and see better. Distractions abound when we are in the neutral zone. The zone where nothing seems to happen on the outside yet we are being reformatted on the inside in readiness for the season ahead. I liken the neutral zone of our lives to a computer that changes hands. Usually, it is cleaned up, emptied of old data then newly updated programs are put in before it’s handed over to the new user.
The second observation about transitions from this election is that we can’t wait forever. If Chebukati took the next one month to tell us who our new president is then that may have driven the nation to a tipping point. Nature (and countries too) abhor a vacuum. The same applies to our transitions. We cannot be in the place of nothingness forever. If we do then we get disoriented and can easily give up on a future that was going to be like no other. And that would be a tragedy.
I’m glad we now know who the fifth is so we can move on with building our great nation. Maybe this new administration is where my opportunity for public service lies. Time will tell. But meanwhile, I continue preparing and it will find me ready.
So folks just as the country is moving on, my prayer is that you will find a way to mute the external volume so that you can hear your internal self and catch the clues to your next season. From my experience, a lot of external noise comes from past achievements and ideas that tend to pull us back to an inevitable ending. I know that past experiences serve as bouncing boards for our next season but we need to be careful not to make them a comfort zone because nothing grows there. Take the learnings from the past/ending then shut that door quickly and move on.
That positive urgency to get ahead helps with the neutral zone not lasting longer than necessary. The law says justice delayed is justice denied. It is similar to transitions. We can’t harakisha the process but we also shouldn’t stay there longer than is necessary. For many of us, it often feels like the neutral zone is taking forever. It’s because we want to get on with the program. Life, as we know it today, frowns upon anything that seems to require waiting. Yet in that waiting is where we prepare vizuri to maximise our next season. Remember if we get what we strongly desire before we are ready for it, it could destroy us.
So as Kenya exits her neutral zone to move on with life at least for the next five years, may we also be encouraged that ours too will come to an end. Chebukati (Sir God in our case) will soon declare us ready for a new beginning. And thankfully with Him, there is no room for a petition at the supreme court hehe.