Dear Kenyans,

I write this to you bearing in mind that we are just a week if not less to the general elections. Well, in any other country like my former Kenya in 2002, we looked forward to elections with hope and our hearts filled with positive expectations, so far from fear as it is today.

In the recent days, I have come to realize how little we appreciate the peace we have. The peace, democracy, many brave men and women fought for. The freedom we experience today as a nation came at a cost. A cost that was too expensive for some, others who even lost their lives for this. This very peace and freedom that we are so quick to insult and undermine. This democracy that we so rightly deserve but fail to appreciate it’s importance and significance. Back in 2002, there was excitement from every corner. As a little boy at that time, “KIBAKI TOSHA” filled the air in every respect. Everyone wanted to have a new taste of leadership, change and exercise their rightly earned democratic rights, cast their votes.

Today, we are so far from that. Today, elections have become a source of fear and not change. Elections have become the tool to express hate and tribalism. They have become nothing but a reason for men to lead their women who carry their children to move away to their rural homes. For goodness sake, Christmas used to be the reason people go home and make merry with their families. Today, elections have taken up that position, just in a not so good manner if I may put it that way.
Our Rwandese brothers and sisters fail to understand how often we play around with the peace we have. Our Ugandan friends will always wonder why we are so quick to play around with our democracy, when we can simply embrace it and do better with it than we are today. Our Tanzanian counterparts will never seize to be amazed by our cheap differences based on tribal affiliations that make no sense. Our youngest sister South Sudan will always wonder why we fail to make good use of our political stability but rather, some of us are so eager to see war thanks to their careless utterances and speculation.

If I may speak to my fellow young men and women, specifically young men. Let us learn to understand the meaning of democracy, the role of a government and an opposition party. Let us learn to run away, as fast as we can from the savagery and barbarism of violent politics. Let us be the drivers of this change, where the politics of “mtu or watu wetu” are killed by us. And I know this day is coming, it may not be here yet, but we are heading there. Let us be reasonable today to embrace the politics of policies that will ensure the betterment of our very own tomorrow. Let us embrace the politics of policies and reasonable thinking and not sycophancy, where we refuse to see the faults in our leaders but embrace them with their false insensitive utterances and promises. Let us learn to know the kind of leaders that bring hope today for tomorrow. Let us come out and fault those who come to bring nothing but incitement and hate speech. A leader who comes to you to incite you against your neighbor has no respect for you or themselves. That ladies and gentlemen is no leader at all. That is simply a man or woman without your interest at heart. Leadership should come as per the will of the people, not at anyone’s life. Let us not instill fear in our neighbors but rather unite against those who have no vision for tomorrow instead incite us against each other. The forty-five groups of us. Without us, Kenya is simply a land with no meaning. Our diversity is what makes us strong. That is what makes us unique as it brings all our creativity to make as a regional hegemon as diplomats and political scientist would call it. This is what makes our neighbors envious of us, as Kenya.

I look forward to that day when, as Kenyans we will stand up for each other and openly denounce the politics of tribalism not just by word of mouth, but by our true nationalism as Kenyans. By the values enshrined in our constitution and those expressed in our national anthem.

I am not ready to have rivers of blood flowing in the streets of my country. I can only wait for 8/8/2017 to cast my vote and not stones. I say to you today my fellow young men, if you refuse to throw stones, if you refuse to embrace violent, before, during and after elections, no one will lift a finger.

Tomorrow does not come with violence, it only comes with peace. Usipige mtu,piga kura. I am peace, peace starts with me, #peaceispossible.

By Russel Wekesa, member of Youth Senate- Nairobi county. You can contact him through wekesarussel@gmail.com

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