wgNetworks.tv | Amandla Longangi Antonio, Creative and Writer | IR Student at the United States International University-Africa| Amandla Longangi Antonio, Creative and Writer

| IR Student at the United States International University-Africa

Opinions expressed by wgNETWORKS Contributors are their own.

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Elections in Kenya this month will not be less of a battle of giants, led on one side by President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and the opposition leader Raila Amolo Odinga. Jubilee versus NASA, all bigger and better, well organized and strengthen by the consolidation of power and influence from various major political actors.

The other candidates who stepped up in 2012 have also been affiliated and this time there seem to be less disruptions for the two giants Uhuru and Raila.

As a foreigner I believe these elections will result in two things: Show how possible is it for Kenyans to unite (1), or an historical repetition of the mistakes of 2007(2). Whichever the outcome it will be bigger and better like the outlook of the major coalitions in this race.

The first time I had an interest in Kenya was back in 2006. I remember having a nice conversation about Kenya and Kenyans during a holiday I spent in Bukavu, a neighboring city to my hometown Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. During that period a family member returned to DR Congo from Kenya after more than five years of residency. Every time she referred to Kenya she could not help by emphasize on a phrase that became irritating for workers at the house, “Kwetu Kenya”. She was born and raised in DRC and only left for a few years.

When she returned back to DR Congo, Kenya seemed to feel more like home for her than Congo did. I tried to understand that effect from her perspective but failed until I came to Kenya myself. Her tales of Kenya inspired this pride displayed in the accommodative and welcoming image she had of the country; adding on the images of Safaris, the big five, the Maasai tribesmen in traditional colorfully decorated garments, it was a picture of a country I would love to live in forever.

Living in Kenya became my silent wish, but first I had to graduate from high school. A year later, something happened. In 2007, I was only 13 when my perfect image of Kenya was robbed…

We had to watch the post-electoral incidents on television and all the horrifying images of chaos, hatred and ignorance. My perception of the country was shaken and having Kenya and DR Congo on a scale, I thought Congolese knew better despite everything.

Our elections were just held the previous year (2006) and there were serious incidents, but only politicians were involved. The personal guards of main candidates, President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba fought in Kinshasa, but everything went back to normal in less than 48 hours. What happened in Kenya was heartbreaking and a proof of a severe infection hidden behind the image of kindness, beauty and order.

In 2011 I arrived in Nairobi after hearing of the “American University” in Kenya, USIU-Africa. The country was going for elections the following year and you could sense the panic. People seemed opened to all possibilities, and organizations were trying to anticipate what could go wrong. Campaigns were conceived to prevent violence and prayers were held for that purpose.

Kenyans were frightened and so we were, and the nearest destination was Arusha, so we made plans to leave the country. One of the most interesting things was seeing people move from some neighborhoods to others in the same city looking for safety all because they are from a particular tribe.

The panic went down with time and we saw no real use in leaving Kenya, we stayed and prayed for the best. Thanks heavens, nothing violent happened apart from peaceful elections.

Now it’s about that time again. With elections in this month and many people seemingly frustrated and unhappy, there are small reasons to be suspicious. Like in 2012, the unpredictability of what could have happened after the elections is even higher. With the coalitions extended and strengthen the options peace or violence will definitely be of greater magnitude than what we saw in 2007 or 2012.

The question is, does Kenya always have to be scared of each elections? If democracy is here to stay, every five years there will be elections. But will it always be in such an atmosphere of fear and uncertain safety? There is need for a definitive solution and that can start this month.

The root of the problem should be dealt with once and for all. These coming elections can set an example to that.

I believe it’s possible for Kenyans to make the right decision and end the cycle of uncertainty around elections. There are many challenges the country is facing at the moment, focusing on solutions as a united nation would be the way of wisdom and the beginning of a new way of life the country has never known before. It’s about one land and one nation, tribes are destined to leave together and there are many beautiful things about each of them. We can make this work, go to elections and accept the result. Good or bad result, depending on people, it will only be a mistake to be fixed in five years and cannot be greater than the loss of lives. It has to work for this beautiful country and its future. The solution should be definitive.

The question is, does Kenya always have to be scared of each elections? If democracy is here to stay, every five years there will be elections. But will it always be in such an atmosphere of fear and uncertain safety? There is need for a definitive solution and that can start this month.

It’s about one land and one nation, tribes are destined to leave together and there are many beautiful things about each of them. We can make this work, go to elections and accept the result.

There are many challenges the country is facing at the moment, focusing on solutions as a united nation would be the way of wisdom and the beginning of a new way of life the country has never known before.