A few weeks ago, I had no idea who Jimnah Mbaru was. But then I got to know about his plans, his ideals, his vision for Nairobi, and I was impressed. I had my doubts about how popular he was, but I was sure if anybody could make me even prouder of Nairobi, he could. But I didn’t vote.
At first, I assumed I’d need to join TNA in order to nominate anyone, and I had no interest in doing that. I don’t support what TNA stands for. I’m not sure I support what any party stands for. I know that I vote for the candidates that will do the most good, and for me, that’s Martha, Jimnah, and anybody but Sonko!! My voting slip is likely to be a rainbow of parties, because all I will be looking at is the right candidate.
So I asked a silly question on twitter, as proof that I didn’t have to vote. Turns out I was wrong. Turns out that just by being a registered voter, I could walk into any nomination centre and stand by the candidate. I had more excuses. I’m at work! I can’t just walk out and go vote!
Wrong. My boss sent an email to entire office urging us to go out and pick our chosen nominees. I ignored the email. I stayed at my desk, frantically following the tweets and pundits and MKZ opinion makers (yes, I giggled a little when I wrote that, but they do exist. I found a few of them yesterday.)
This morning, it was confirmed that my chosen candidate lost by 3000 votes. 3000! That’s the just following on my Twitter account times three. And I was one of the votes he lost. A lot of people online are bashing the ‘arm-chair activists’ for not putting our thumbs in the right place. A part of me feels attacked and righteously indignant, but a larger part of me is afraid that they’re right.
I didn’t vote yesterday because nominations are frightening and murky. They belong to the psychophants, the die-hards, the … politicians. Yes, that spells four letters in my vocabulary. My face screws up just thinking about the word. In my mind, the politicians would choose their candidates, then I would have my say come March 4th. It never once occurred to me that the candidate I want would not be on the ballot next year. Besides, what bloody difference would my one vote make?
But now I’m thinking. What if me, and all my online buddies, and all their buddies’ buddies actually went out and nominated him yesterday? What if everyone who said ‘My one vote doesn’t count’ actually went and made it count? I didn’t though. I sat at my computer, analysed, postulated, vented … and let other people do the dirty work. No wonder the result is so murky.
I’ve always maintained that few people vote with their intellect. They use their hearts, their pride, their heritage, their sense of belonging. That’s what dictates their vote. I’ve always said those who know better are too few to make any kind of dent in the electorate. But yesterday, all my candidate needed was 3,000 people, including me, to get up and make their voices heard. And I, for one, didn’t lift a finger.
I am, apparently, the most political person in the office, so I thought I was better than those other arm-chair activists. After all, I support my candidates openly, I give coherent reasons for my choices, I have a voter’s card for fuck’s sake. But no. Yesterday, I may as well have had no vote at all, because that’s exactly what I did. I refused to vote.
The two candidates on offer do nothing for me. Kidero seems pretty sensible, but I Googled him, and I really didn’t like what I found. Waititu … well … wow. Just wow. As for Sonko, I’m voting for whoever is running against him. Please God, let someone, anyone run against him!
I’m still hoping for a miracle, some last-minute nomination as an independent candidate or a mini-party or whatever loopholes and statutes allow for that kind of thing. Because with no gubernatorial candidate (yes, I used the word) that impresses me, a part of me is tempted not to vote at all, which would be the worst possible outcome right now.
But then again, Jimnah is a businessman, and pouring more money into a campaign that seems to lack adequate electoral backing would make bad business sense. Maybe if I had gone out and voted, and made the margin just a little closer, he might have listened to my current silent plea.
For now, all I can say is the sad, painful lesson has been learnt, and I hope I’m not the only one that has learnt it. Good intentions will not get the best candidate into office. Only going out and voting can do that. It’s too late for those who didn’t get their voter’s cards last year, but I hope those of us who did, those of us who care enough and are smart enough to know better, I hope that crowd will use our votes very, very wisely.
♫ Curtains down ♫ Eminem ♫