Philosophy and Literature / The Forum

The Second Morning After Kenya’s March 4th

By Immanuel Lokwei,

GENRE: Futuristic, Fiction

Some people have heard of the Tyranny of Numbers and have rebuffed it and have killed the messenger. Personally, I shy away from such actions for I am a messenger myself. Statistics don’t rub well with you unless they are favorable. Well, I will tell you what you cannot deny; the tyranny of dreams.

There was a Tambach man who, having been left to his own devices the previous polling day, went to bed and entered his dreams with a satisfied sense of “individuality.” Unlike during the 2007-2008 elections, this time he enjoyed provoking even members of his locality with his feverish support for the unpopular party in the region. He is an antagonist by nature. To flash back a little bit, this character and tendency to support unpopular opinion nearly cost him his life in the previous election. Luckily for him then, his villagers spared him the full wrath of their bitterness, save a few strokes of caning he received in public display; the negligible punishment he was accorded served as an unspoken caveat to him and everyone else that collective conformity was the way forward. We are talking of people of Tambach village, even a simple farmer there is a serious politician; either you are with them or one against them. This Tambach man was spared his life because he shared with them the ethnic blood and cord.

Months before the advent of the March 4th date, the Tambach man was careful not to repeat his previous overexcitements and imprudence. Instead of being openly opinionated in his village about his unpopular political views, he waited to see where the main current flowed. Wherever it goes, I ride with it. But to his surprise, there wasn’t a main noticeable political sentiment among his fellow villagers this time. The general atmosphere was admissive of varied thoughts and allegiances. Surely the 2007-2008 violence must have changed us. I don’t have to fear stating my opinions. Even Koros now supports CORD Alliance. Eh, who could have imagined? So the Tambach man was certain that there wouldn’t be a repeat of the 2007-2008 post-election violence and merciless retribution that he received. He was assured of his security regardless of where he sided himself and regardless of who would win. So he readily unleashed his unpopular political dragon out.

Regardless of who would win? The Tambach man’s dream was an extension of this puzzlement. Well, in his dream it’s the second night after the first polling day, because some constituencies had heavy downpour on the first day of voting and so the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) assigned them a second day. The results have not been released yet, perhaps they will in the morning.

In the dream, this Tambach man thought it was the morning on which he had hoped election results would be announced. He was among a sitting delegation in Bomas of Kenya auditorium, and right at that moment, Ahmed Issack Hassan, IEBC chairman, was about to address the delegation. So the Tambach man strained his ears by turning on his stomach in his bed; a word cannot be missed. But all he could hear was “RATO, RATO, guys it’s RATO!” Mmh, Ruto? But Ruto is a running mate he can’t have won the presidential race. A typo then, Raila? Raila is not spelled RATO nor is Ruto RATO even in the digital world. Confusion ensued.

You can see the Tambach man tossing and turning in his bed. He turned around to make sure he heard right. A rising wave of murmurs engulfed the auditorium. Speakers seemed silent. He turned to the other side of the room and saw fellow delegates, one after the other, standing up before turning into doves and flying out right through the ceiling of the auditorium. He turned to the first side of the room again. Alas, from one corner to the other was a sweeping domino effect of doves, human-like creatures just about to take off. The Tambach man tried pulling himself up his chair but he couldn’t. He tried flapping his arms but he couldn’t fly. He could not turn into a dove. By now, feathers were sprouting on the last group of delegates sitting around him. His efforts were now becoming increasingly frantic. He tried to visualize an owl with hopes that perhaps he was not meant to be a dove but an owl. That too failed. So much for being in a democratic country where the majority was turning into doves and yet one couldn’t. He wriggled about on his bed. But what this commotion bore was that he was turned into a headless snake from his waist down. Seeing this, other remaining delegates scattered about with their half-formed wings. Democracies do not wait for anybody and they are definitely exclusive.

The Tambach man couldn’t bear his metamorphosis and his desolateness. He let out a devilish scream; that marked the end of his dreaming. The scream was so loud that it woke him up, dripping with sweat, with mouth wide open and sitting upright.

The first thing he noticed was the golden rays of the morning sun exploiting the cracks of his shack. He shook his torso a little bit to wake up his senses and tried feeling his feet. Good, they are there. He felt disappointed that he could not turn into a dove but he was also happy that the episode was just a dream. He pondered for some time and soon, just like any other man who believes in superstition, drew a lesson from the dream.  Does he have the will to accept the election outcome? Can he stomach the possible contrariness of his expectation or will he go out into the streets and vent his anger to his opponents just like he had suffered in the past election? No, I shouldn’t le this happen to me. I couldn’t be a dove in my dreams but I can be one in real life. The Tambach man cancelled all his outdoor plans for the day. If you can’t be peace, stay indoors.

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