Thrown in a River of Ballots

I’m beginning to be more aware of my tribe. A quick look through my Facebook feed and I’m noticing the Kariuikis and the Owinos that I was once oblivious to. It is almost as if someone has shaken awake a tribal monster within my being. Now, this is not to say that I have any sentiment towards any tribe; I still pride myself on the power of the individual.

However, I can’t help but look at the posts and wonder. Did he vote with his tribe, or did he vote for someone he believes in? Is the person he believes in, and the tribal leader the same person? Will he turn on me tomorrow with a sharp object and a torrent of insults?

Paranoia becomes me.

I’ve never been this way. I stand on every corner and preach for us to be objective. Objectivity is the mark of an educated mind, that’s what I say. That’s the water I preach. Lately, I can’t help but wonder if tribalism, then, is the wine I drink. And, on an individual level, don’t we all sip of this cup?

I didn’t vote in my tribal block. I toyed with the idea for a couple of minutes in the booth, but decided against it. Now I notice during the tallying process that some very ethnic lines were drawn. Yes, there were a few thousands who seemed to swing in the direction opposite tribal lines, but are those it? A few thousand out of of 14 million?

An individual I respect called me and tried to convince me not to vote for my candidate. He said we should vote together to move the leading tribe out of power. It’s what Kenya needs, he said. Kikuyu’s own the country and we need to get them out of power. Now, he wasn’t inciting anything of any sort; all he hoped to do was change my mind. He wanted to show me why we needed a non-Kikuyu in office.

I refused, told him off, and stuck to my principles. I voted for the person I believed in, and it got my candidate nowhere. I’m not even sure my guy will make it to 1% in the national tally.

And that’s okay.

But it bothers me that I have to look over my shoulder. That my ideals are being knocked out of the water. That I feel the need to ask someone for their second name whenever they introduce themselves to me. It eats at me that, no matter how much I fight it, whenever someone introduces themselves to me, I silently ask myself; “could  they be the enemy?”


It makes me picture a great divide on one side us, on the other, them. In between a river flows. I jump into the river. I want to stand with them, after swimming halfway across I realize that I don’t want to stand with them. I want to build a bridge. The water is swirling and swishing, I’m drowning in my own consciousness. Drowning in my fight against this divide that only seems to get wider. My people won’t help me – I’m a rebel. The other people won’t help me – I’m not one of them. So I drown, clutching wildly at the air. Will you throw me a straw?

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