How Netherlands is Reframing Accessibility.

If you ask a large group of people with different kinds of disabilities what they want to be called, you will get a large number of answers. Some prefer “people with disabilities,” some prefer “disabled people,” some prefer their specific situation be called out, some would rather not mention it at all.

For this essay, I chose “people with disabilities” because it’s what my friends call themselves. As always, you should ask a person what the prefer, and respect them by using it.

If we make the choice to consider everyone “a person on the ability spectrum” instead of separating the “able-bodied” from the “disabled,” we stop treating people with different abilities as members of an out-group, and we start treating them as part of our own diverse in-group.

What I have seen here in Netherlands has baffled me. The country has done well in making sure the people with disability are able to move around, be it by trail, bus or just on the streets. A typical street in Amsterdam is busy, with people walking, others cycling and cars. But a blind person with a little training can make their way around, while being safe.

The streets are paved with a special kind of tile with groves, with different patterns guiding to the bus door, crossing points, turnings etc. The country has done more to ensure that there wheelchair users can have access to and from the city. If you are arriving in Schiphol by train or flight, you can book for wheelchair assistance prior to your travel.

When intending to use a train, getting around Netherlands, you also have to book for wheelchair assistance. A platform which is mobile will be lowered on the platform for you to wheel yourself into the train and when you reach your destination, somebody will be waiting for you, to do the same thing. In buses and trains, there are places reserved for wheelchairs.

There are many restaurants and coffee house who have also taken this seriously. I dont know if your favorite restaurant in Amsterdam is accessible by wheelchair but if its not, then its not favorite anymore. My few hours there I managed to spot a few in Amsterdam and Daan Hang too.

I have travelled in many cities in europe and before I arrived in Netherlands i was in Rome. If you have visited Rome you will agree with me that there hills and some obstacles for wheelchair users unlike in Amsterdam with a fairly level ground. In some cities, the infrastructure is not maintained, rendering it very unfit for use.

 


Being in the history of currency.

Greetings from Rome. Rome, Italy’s capital, is a sprawling, cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. Ancient ruins such as the Forum and the Colosseum evoke the power of the former Roman Empire. Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, has St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, which house masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes.

It has taken me to come to Rome to learn about two currencies I knew nothing about. The Lira and US 2 dollar bill note. The lira was introduced in Europe by Charlemagne (c. 742–814), who based it on the pound (Latin: libra) of silver. No lira coins were struck during the Middle Ages, and the lira remained strictly a money of account.

By the 16th century several of the Italian states actually struck lira coins, but they varied considerably in weight. One of the states that used the lira was the kingdom of Sardinia, and this monetary unit was adopted in all of Italy when it became unified under Sardinian leadership.

In the United States, the story of the $2 bill starts in 1862, when the federal government printed its first nationalized paper bills, Bennardo says. The $2 bill was in that first printing, along with the $1 bill, but it took a while for paper money to catch on.

That’s because a lot of folks made less than $15 a month before the turn of the century. Inflation slowly brought the value of paper money down, but then the Great Depression hit. “This was a time when our country did not have much wealth, and a lot of things cost less than a dollar,” Bennardo says. “So the $2 bill really didn’t have much of a practical use.”

The economy recovered, but the $2 bill eventually found itself in a strange price point. It became the the perfect note for some rather nefarious purposes. “Politicians used to be known for bribing people for votes, and they would give them a $2 bill, so if you had one it meant that perhaps you’d been bribed by a politician,” Bennardo says. “Prostitution back in the day was $2 for a trick, so if you were spending $2 bills it might get you into trouble with your wife. $2 is the standard bet at a race track, so if you were betting $2 and you won, you might get a bunch of $2 bills back and that would show that you were gambling.”

My friend after giving me to note for the two dollar bill told me how rare the note is, that there are some US citizens who have never seen the bill and on many occasions calls have been made to the police, when making payments with the bills with the assumption that its a fake note. The Lira on the other hand has gone to its grave. Here in Rome, while I was on my morning run, I encountered two pieces on Lira notes.

Here in Italy, it’s not easy finding this notes and today was a lucky day for me because I get to see one. As a collector, this has revealed a lot about the Italian History. I am on my Roman holiday.

When in Rome, do what the Romans do.


Visa Duties…The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

schengen visa

Visa application is always a challenging process. I have never meet anyone, either a frequent or a first time traveller, who has gotten used to this tedious process. But there are countries that one doesn’t have to go through all this, but unfortunately they are few, so we can’t avoid it, and if you are doing business globally, touring or visiting family this, is a cake you must bake.

The most important thing to prepare for this day is to have a lot of luck. I have seen people who had their Paperwork right and still missed the visa. If you come from countries such as Kenya, having a stable job helps a lot. The trouble is that most people who would go through the visa process and still defile the same laws are people in stable employment.

When you are in business, depending on what kind you are doing. Sometimes you are ahead and sometimes you are behind. But my argument has always been that their is no way you will know the person who will want to defile the immigration law and the one who will not buy only looking at their faces. I agree that the information has to be accurate, but yes, if the person you are looking at has been travelling and never broken any immigration laws, then his passport should help you make a decision amongst other requirements.

We all agree that there are countries taking their fair share of their shit, be it economically, politically and socially. The life span difference between the African countries and western countries is like how far east from west. Kenya for example has a very challenging political environment and especially at this time.  And the same time I was planning my travel and if you looked at the situation at present, it will be very easy for you to overlook the big picture if you are the one with the authority to issue a visa.

So when I went for the visa, i realized that the Italian embassy has different requirements than other Schengen countries. They require you to have a eight days international insurance after you land back home. They need six months of bank statement and copy of identification of the person inviting you. After a lot of shuttling to meet the requirements, and fifteenth day of waiting, my visa was granted. Breathing a sigh of relief I walked to the bureau that processed my visa and pick my passport with my visa.

My itinerary had a ten hours layover in Abu Dhabi, something that needed a visa for me to be able to transit through Abu Dhabi International. So I went to the website where Etihad recommends for their passengers seeking visas. With all the documentations scanned, I filled in the online forms attaching my documents amongst them my bio page, Ticket that is confirmed, my hotel booking in Abu Dhabi and my earlier visa when I travelled to the United Arabs Emirates for business, my current schengen visa that I was travelling on.

I later received a message from the organisation that is tasked to processing the visas. The gentleman said that he is sure my visa request will be negative, and the reason is that because I am Kenyan and most Kenyan passport holders have been denied the visas to transit through Abu Dhabi. The weird thing you are thinking is that why would someone want you to pay him for flying in his place and deny you a place to rest your head. I took the chances and allowed the gentleman to go ahead with my application knowing very well that if it comes out negative, I would lose my visa fees.

It was a few hours, maybe two or three, after I had given a confirmation that I received an email from the same gentleman that my request had been denied. Yes, I also wondered how. For the rest of the day I nursed my devastated heart, went to bed feeling sad and lived to make new plans. As I said, I have never meet anyone who has this process covered for themselves. Maybe my circle is not of influence, but still my statements stands.

If you are a traveller, and you go through this every time, this is something that many travellers have to go through. The bureaucracy that many countries have put between countries and citizens to restrict movement. And this kind of stuff, affect many people who would wish to travel either for business or pleasure. The people enforcing them sometimes don’t do them well.

For me, I pray not to break any countries immigration laws, to respect my host, to be at my best behaviour while am being hosted in a foreign land. This is the right thing to do, and the wise thing if you intend to continue travelling……just like me.

Wherever your travel my take you, I hope it’s fun and profitable.

 


All Saints Celebrating 100 Years.

ALL SAINTS
Photo By Sebastian Wanzalla

I wake up today in the middle of the night to look on my phone screen, a colleague whom we serve with in the planning committee was picking the guest of honor, The Archbishop of Canterbury from the airport. Its been two years since we started sitting in different committees to plan for All Saints 100 years celebrations. We have come a long way, shaping up to make sure this day, which is finally here goes on smoothly.

To many Anglican faithful, the Cathedral, as its members like calling it, has been the fountain of spiritual nourishment, while to the men (and lately women) of the cloth, it has played the perfect venue to win souls for Christ, as they are called to do. The doors of the cathedral have been open to all, those who have needed spiritual nourishment, the lost and the captive. Those who have ruled over the land, those running away from brutal attacks. Those who have started a new life and those who have departed.

The iconic architectural masterpiece that has since been classified as a national monument gives the impression of a church that was built for posterity, with the provost projecting that it can only help the growth of ‘the body of Christ. It witnessed as Kenya, which was then the british colony…..as she slept silent in the arms of London. It watched as its sons went to fight wars, in Burma. The troops were raw, lacked combat experience, and were inadequately trained …some came home, wounded and lost while for others they died in the fields of war, it watched.

The cathedral watched as Kenya became a self governed state.  As sons and daughters of this land launched a resistance to their colonial master, so it watched. As our country finally achieved what it had long fought for, independence,  as Kenyans felt with humility the pride to govern themselves and run institutions. When the first African archbishop was elected, the cathedral watched. The second liberation, as a refuge for those who ren away from the bullets and tear gases, the cathedrals watched…providing refuge for those who were followed to the inside of the sanctuary. Some of the teargas canisters that were thrown into the cathedral on 7 July 1997 on the day now known as the Saba saba rests here today…..many years later, with the broken clubs.

Its has stood the test of time, while other cathedrals in the world have been a target of war, even brought down to ashes this cathedral has stood tall. The cathedral holds the history of our great nation with pride, and it has done so really well for the last 100 years. Just as many cathedrals all over the world have stood tall and been custodians of history of the world. Some of those I have had the honour of visiting, Cathedral De Barcelona, St Mary’s Cathedral in Krakow Poland, and many others.

But as the Anglican faithful from across the world led by the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, troop to Nairobi for the church’s centenary celebrations culminating in a major service on Sunday, some will be paying homage to a sanctuary that has also been a refuge to the oppressed and the downtrodden. It was a sanctuary for those fleeing brutal security forces sent to crush dissent. Then, The Anglican Church of Kenya was called The Church of the Province of Kenya. Sarcastically, people started referring to it as the church politics of Kenya, hence the change of name.

The Cathedral has been the gospel centre, a place of worship. But it has also been a place of refuge where many have run to in times of sorrow and trouble, like the case of Prof Wangari Maathai and the mothers of the political prisoners, and during the agitation for democracy in the 1980s and 1990s.

This pulpit has been used to preach the gospel and convert souls to salvation, but also for agitation, especially for the rights of the downtrodden and those under the brutality of State forces.Also it has been used by some of the fiercest critics of the Government, especially the archbishops and provosts who have served at the Cathedral This is part of what we celebrate.

We celebrate 100 years of All Saints Cathedral, of God’s faithfulness and even as we remember the past, we do not the opportunity to seize the future.


The King’s new Clothes.

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We will credit this year as the year of the Spanish Politics. The year when we have been through a full election, the supreme judgement that nullified the whole election, the back to the drawing board by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, and the other half election………which many, including the IEBC themselves felt it would not happen.

We have also been insulting each other on social media, in public rallies, in television stations etc. We have also killed each other, physically, we have jumped over the blood of our neighbours and friends. We have falled to be our brothers keepers. So our state has gotten worse and now seeks repairs. The international journalist who have made camp here since we first went to polls finally had something to cover.

Have we ashamed ourselves? yes. Do we deserve pity? Yes we do. We are now being covered by international media,…..how they have finally had their last laugh. We stand on the same road leading to different direction, with selfishness and injustice we have been crippled. Who cared now which revolution is being televised? Is it the true revolution?

So a home that enjoyed the peace and calm a few days before elections finds itself in need of shelter, food and other very common basic needs. The society has been robbed, while we watch with our naked eyes. So we pick the side of the king, and ignore the servant under the table. Whom the king feeds like his dog. So let’s say,…..long live the King.

When you find that the King is naked – and there are all kinds of them, of first, second and third rate – do not exclaim:

“He has no clothes on him! No clothes!”

Do not ask why he is naked.

Instead, ask yourself and inquire with prudence: why is it that no one says “He is naked!”?  Why don’t they tell him?

This must be a lonely king. Most probably he is unable to keep a trusted adviser, of a fool who dares to tell him the urgent truth. He needs one. Maybe he does not know how to use advice or is incapable to listen.

Second thought, this folk do not find a way to speak to their king; are they afraid or just awkward? They may need to find a clever way to tell him or to let him know without words. There are means to help people speak to their kings.

Finally, this may be a bad king who deserves to be left naked. In this last case, keep your tongue, remember: don’t do the wrong thing right!

When a king is naked there is judgment to use.

The donations towards the victims in Kawangware can be dropped at Naivas Westlands, Riruta and Greenhouse. Be your brothers keeper.

#TheRevolutionWillNotBeTelevised


Good Deed.

“We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all”.

Wangari Maathai
I am a lover of nature. When I started building my house, I planted some trees. Some are alive and some died, reasons I do not really know. Things have changed, my father gave me a different piece of land to start it all over again. I felt it was good to plant a tree. I scouted the location, the stones represent the location where a tree once stood. This was my prefered location with the hope that things will be different this time round. I visited a small tree nursery which is a few minutes from my fathers house. There were many trees there I was spoilt for choice. My wife looked at this pine, she fell in love with it. We made a decision, to carry it. It costed us Ksh.150 about $2.   With the position ready, it was time for me to sink the tree to the earth. With pride I did it, and nurtured its surrounding to make it comfortable in its new home. When you plant a tree, and care for it, it will one day provide a shade, firewood to keep you warm, welcome rain at your doors or even roof your grandson’s house. It’s good to plant trees.

It’s a reality Check!

forget

I woke up today feeling good, it was 630am and my wife was doing her usual, commanding me to take up my duties of making sure she is at the bus stop just in time for her bus to work. I have been doing this for many months now though sometimes I wonder why, not in a bad way. Ideally, it’s a moment that is meant to enhance our marriage.

So, wife on her way to work, I embarked on preparing for my visa appointment. Everything was going great, until I was unable to locate the bank statements. So I did what most married men do, I called my wife, who took me through a painful lesson of how she never knew whatever it is I was doing. But promised to find it in the evening.

I had to plan things with my current situation right? I mean, one way or the other……is the bank statement going to show-up in the middle of nowhere? And since I had lost it in the house, I felt like……back then, I used to live in a house, but now I live in a jungle. Later on my wife has reminded me of how much I have cultured myself to forget.

It’s not even funny, most of the time when I say I forgot, its because I forgot. When I say I don’t want to forget, its because I am worried that I might. When I say I might forget, its mean I am so afraid that shit might happen. Then I will have to apologize to someone.

My reality check is that I am “getting old”, and this things are not going to go away, as a matter of fact, they are going to increase. You know those small stuff you forget doing and everything is okey! When it comes to forgetting, try forgetting your kids in the bus, I mean, just one time………then you will know how messed-up life can look, and if you have to explain it to your wife you might be doing it halfway your grave.

Scientific American writing on “Why do we forget” says that the brain can store a vast number of memories, so why can’t we find these memories when we need to? Our brains are crammed with a massive amount of memories that we have formed over a lifetime of experiences.

These memories range from the profound (who am I and how did I get here?) to the most trivial (the license plate of the car at a stoplight). Furthermore, our memories also vary considerably in their precision. Parents, for instance, often know the perils of a fuzzy memory when shopping for a birthday gift for their child: remembering that their son wanted the Nintendo rather than the playstation portable could make an enormous difference in how well the gift is received.

Thus, the “fuzziness” of our memory can often be just as important in our daily lives as being able to remember lots and lots of information in the first place. So this is me now, still never managed to find my bank statements and still forgetting other stuff……some of them as important as forgetting my kids at the bus, though we jokingly refer to these as ‘senior moments,’ they happen to everyone — from the very young to the very old.

So if you go into the kitchen to write something down on your grocery list, don’t answer your cellphone or let your mind wander to a meeting that morning. Mentally rehearse what you’re doing, and hold it in mind, until you’re finished with the task. You might feel like me, old, or whatever. The truth is that the there is something that needs your attention, before its too late.

The story ends when my wife gets home and she will kick every corner of the house trying to find it, whatever it is. Then she becomes the hero, one who know where everything rests. Unfortunately for her today, there was nothing. Just like they say, “what’s dead is dead” and that includes my bank statements.

 

 


Supreme Court Aftermath.

court

I wrote an article about elections in Kenya days after we went to polls. Most of us have survived, while a few are dead. We thought we had a “winner” so they announced, it was about 8pm in the evening. If we lived in those darker days, ……’darker because those days we are living in are dark’….We would have somebody declared winner and sworn in the next minute. It will not matter if it was dark. But thanks to those who fought for the new constitution, and those who died protecting her survival…….our days are dark and not darker.

Once the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s declares a winner, any person may file a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the election of the President-elect within seven days after the date of the declaration of the results of the presidential election. Within fourteen days after the filing of a petition under clause (1), the Supreme Court shall hear and determine the petition and its decision shall be final. If the Supreme Court determines the election of the President- elect to be invalid, a fresh election shall be held within sixty days after the determination.

News flash, this is where we are today. In a historic ruling and a first in Africa, Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified on Friday the re-election of a sitting president, ordering a new vote to be held within 60 days after finding that the outcome last month had been tainted by irregularities, a stunning move by the judiciary.

But this time, figures across the Kenyan political landscape, including the president whose victory was wiped away, appeared to accept the decision and called on supporters to do the same.

The ruling also offered a potent display of judicial independence on a continent where courts often come under intense pressure from political leaders, analysts said.

The Supreme Court decision came as a surprise, even to Mr. Odinga and his supporters, who had complained about election irregularities. A top election official in charge of voting technology was killed about a week before the election, and although the casting of ballots went smoothly, the electronic transmission of vote tallies was flawed, leading the opposition to assert that as many as seven million votes had been stolen.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which was in charge of the vote, “failed, neglected, or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the Constitution,” the court said.

The six-judge Supreme Court found no misconduct on the part of the president, Mr. Kenyatta, but it found that the commission “committed irregularities and illegalities in the transmission of results” and unspecified other issues.

“Irregularities affected the integrity of the poll,” Justice Maraga told a stunned courtroom.

A new vote means that candidates will have to start campaigning again and possibly raise millions of dollars: Elections in Kenya generally cost about $1 billion, including spending by the candidates during the campaign and by the government to hold the election.

Kenyans have long complained that getting any official business done requires a “kitu kidogo”, Swahili for “a little something” or bribe, a frustration that is echoed across Africa.

But Kenya has slowly rebuilt confidence in its judiciary after the post-2007 vote violence. A new constitution in 2010 demanded reforms of the judiciary and other public institutions.

Maraga, who has risen the ranks as those reforms have been implement, was known by colleagues for his strict adherence to the rules even as a young lawyer.

A devout Christian of the Seventh Day Adventist tradition, he built his practice in the Rift Valley city of Nakuru rather than to Nairobi where he where he could have secured more high profile cases and would have more easily rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful, his colleagues said.

There is no doubt that Kenya has risen to a new day, other African countries are following in a distance. The new elections might cost us 1 billion shillings, or even more, but let’s not forget that the results should reflect the will of the people, the true will of the people. And then, after we will dance with the winner to the podium while we console the loser.


Plastic Bags Ban in Kenya, Few Years Too Late.

wire

For decades now, disposable plastic bags have been a hot item for shoppers thanks to their cheap and lightweight nature. But environment managers across the region say littering of waste, mainly domestic waste, is the biggest challenge facing residents in many urban centres.

This is not helped by the fact that polythene waste can take hundreds of years to decompose which makes it a more visible, unsightly component of litter in the environment.

When plastic bags litter enters water streams and drainages, clogging of the public and municipal drainage results into localised flooding prompting local governments to spend millions of shilling every year to pick up this litter or to unblock the drainage systems to maintain the sanitary conditions of the area.

It is such problems associated with the use of plastic bags that many countries have begun restricting or prohibiting their use. Environmentalists say the global shift away from the use of these convenient carrier bags is clearly informed by failure even of well-established and elaborate systems put in place to collect, treat and dispose the unwanted plastics.

This week, a #PlasticBagBan took effect in Kenya and many are crying foul to this new direction by National Environmental Management Authority – NEMA. Those who depend on plastic bags for business have their fingers roasted. Myself, even though I am rejoicing, I feel that it’s coming many years too late. Our government has fallen victim to curtails in this industry who have always protected it at the expense of the environment.

The dangers of plastic bag use are even more evident in Kenya and Africa as a whole than in other parts of the world. For us to have waited for this long is unbelievable, despite there being alternatives our government could look at. Its has been up to the government to take the courageous action and put a total bun, while giving guidelines on the way forward.

For the many women who are working in small projects creating handmade bags, this is their time to break through, while the manufacturers are still in limbo. The  Sisal  Sisters for example are a group of women in Kakuyuni, Kenya who make handbags out of sisal and wool.

This handicraft is indigenous to their village, originally used for carrying vegetables, coffee and even as a muzzle for a donkey.  Each bag is beautiful and unique to the individual weaving technique and expertise of the woman who makes it.

You can use the bags for a handbag, a beach tote,  grocery bag, plant holder or anything you can think of, this is the future we want in our country. If the government does not give guidelines, the same companies will look for cheaper way of making bugs that might not work really well as reusables and cause the same environmental damage.

Kenyans producing, selling or even using plastic bags will risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000 from Monday, as the world’s toughest law aimed at reducing plastic pollution came into effect.

The east African nation joins more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, and Italy.

Many bags drift into the ocean, strangling turtles, suffocating seabirds and filling the stomachs of dolphins and whales with waste until they die of starvation.

“If we continue like this, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish,” said Habib El-Habr, an expert on marine litter working with the UN environment programme in Kenya. Its important for us to examine and consider with courage the damage we have already done to the environment by the use of plastic Bags. If we can make a turn around today, it will be for the better.

Plastic bags, which El-Habr says take between 500 to 1,000 years to break down, also enter the human food chain through fish and other animals. In Nairobi’s slaughterhouses, some cows destined for human consumption had 20 bags removed from their stomachs.

We hope for a better environment, we hope that this will be the beginning of a total ban on all plastic use. We will reclaim the lost environment back. This should be the first step in that direction, but we want more regulation. It might have taken us 20 years to do this, we dont have twenty more years.


Familiar Scenes in Kenyan Elections.

IDLO-Kenya-Elections-2017

Elections in Kenya have never been credible, not even fare nor free. The multi party democracy in Kenya started when Kenneth Matiba was arrested and detained on July 4, 1990 together with Charles Rubia, and then political activist Raila Odinga, (also a candidate in this years elections) for demanding the re-introduction of multi-party democracy. At that time, the repression by President Daniel arap Moi’s (Nyayo was his other name) regime was at its peak.

The Cold War had collapsed and many Africa strongmen, including Moi, found themselves under pressure from donors and development partners in the West, as well as from home-grown movements, to allow multi-party democracy. The arrest of Rubia, Matiba, and Raila were to pre-empt a rally that had been planned by opposition leaders at the Kamkunji grounds in Nairobi on July 7.

The rally had been baptised Saba Saba. The group was led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Masinde Muliro, Timothy Njoya, James Orengo, Paul Muite, Gitobu Imanyara, and Martin Shikuku, among others, to press for greater democratic space and a stop to human rights abuses. Despite the ban by the government, thousands of Kenyans marched in defiance of a previously unchallengeable regime to make their way to Nairobi’s Kamukunji grounds to press the case for democracy……(Kenyans forget history very fast).

This is the second election since the passage of the new constitution in 2010, and the votes will likely be a referendum on some of its successes and failures of President Uhuru Kenyatta….son the the first president.  It was being watched closely from all ends of the world. But Kenya has faced myriad obstacles to peaceful elections in the past, and there are three main issues which were at watch as August 8 approached: ongoing healthcare strikes, the role of false or defamatory news, and the potential for vote rigging…..the later being a common occurrence during elections.

Another issue of great concern was the growing prevalence of election-related mudslinging. In an already tense environment, the distribution of defamatory headlines about candidates was contributing to fears about potential electoral violence. The spread of fake news is particularly rapid in Kenya, where articles can be shared widely due to the high rate of mobile and internet access, a relatively youthful population, and a large volume of Twitter use. So days before the elections, people shopped, they wanted to make sure they had enough food….or call it more that enough, others travelled to safer places…..I mean places they felt safe.

When I travelled to Kisumu on the weekend before the election, I visited a major supermarket store and on that day they had recorded sales of 12 million two hours before they close of their business, more that double what they normally sale. There was great demand for transport to the country sides and the fares were doubled and in some places tripled. After violence following a disputed election in 2007 left approximately 1,400 dead, Kenyans are always afraid when election knocks on their doors. So afraid that those who were able, booked flights and jetted out of the country minutes before others queued to cast their votes.

Its calm today, elections have come and gone. IEBC, the body that oversees the election says that the incumbent won, they have also admitted that there was attempted hacking of their system……lets just call it hacking, I am a techie and I know there is nothing like attempted hacking…..and they need time to produce form 34a even though they have all the form 34b which are supposed to be generated from the former. Forms 34A are filled at polling stations to show how votes were cast before they are transmitted to the constituency level where the results are filled into forms 34B.

There has been demand from the part of public not to look into what happened during and after they cast their vote saying…….they would like to move on with their lives. Business stopped for one week and the roads were empty….so empty that I enjoyed biking 46 km two days after I cast my vote. It took three days to get the winner. People in some areas had run out of patient and collided with the force of police. Innocent lives were lost, lives of small children…….shot by police at close range. I restrained myself from watching news, from being on a political side and from wanting to know who had won.

It’s been 11 days since we went to the polls, NASA the opposition coalition have declared they will go to the supreme court….the highest court of the land. The move has been welcomes by those holding the government. IEBC on the other had still maintain their stand that the election was free, fair and credible, even with all the allegations that have knocked on their door. Some people have celebrated the innocent lives taken by the police, they have had a big laugh in death. The president came out and called for peace, and asked police not to use brutal force, but the damage is already done. If those victims will ever get justice remains to be witnessed.

Life has moved on very fast, people are going to work, others are pretending to be friends again. Husband and wife are talking again…….everything will go well for the next five years, then we will be at it again. Rigging elections, fleeing danger, overshopping and losing innocent lives…..all that while we call ourselves brothers and sisters.

The one who rigs best wins. The winners have their way and their say also.