When I heard about the pre-devolution conference, I knew it would just be a forum for young people to be taught on how to voice their issues better, to the concerned authorities and so it was. On the last day of the training, various leaders from the county were invited to listen to the youth air their concerns. The meeting was going on smoothly until I noticed some movement from a few men who were well dressed in suits. I enquired around and I learnt that there was a certain minister in the premises making his way to the meeting hall. As soon as he arrived in a convoy of vehicles, young men and a few older ones were seen literally running to go and welcome the mheshimiwa.
The minister walked into the meeting hall wearing a broad smile that clearly showed he was at least glad to be there, or so I thought. A certain man, well-aged, walking a few steps behind the minister was seen signaling us, the common wananchis to stand up in respect to the minister. A signal that was probably not seen by anyone except me, or like me, decided to ignore the signal. Everyone who went to present anything to us, acknowledged the minister’s presence and when he was given an opportunity to address the multitude, loud claps were made to invite him on stage.
A few days after the pre-devolution conference meeting with the local leaders, a football match between different governmental offices was arranged. My team and I woke up very early to rush to the football stadium to set up our banners. The field looked lifeless with the only people there being the grounds manager and a few people assigned to help. I could almost bet that not more than a hundred people would show up to spectate. Shocked was I when my team and I left the stadium to run a few errands in town. Police men were seen going round the town and its environs just to make sure that everything was running smoothly, a clear indicator that prominent leaders were expected to come. Local residents had already been notified of the football match and as it looked, were ready to welcome leaders from all around the country.
We ran our errands and made our way back to the stadium in the afternoon. The grounds looked alive with people moving from area to area looking for the best locations to spectate the matches from. Others were busy selling refreshments to the attendees. When the first match between the senators and the governors was about to kick off, a chopper was seen approaching the stadium and I can bet that almost everyone stared at it until it landed.
Something I had seen during the pre-devolution conference happened again and this time, the leaders on the pitch, playing for the devolution cup. They came in with the governor of Kakamegacounty who made a short speech and the first match began.
In deep thought, I looked around and noticed that so many people had come to spectate their leaders as they played. When something funny or commendable was done by any of the playing leaders, the crowd cheered. The governors lost the match to the senators and jeering was heard from the crowd. This only meant that the governors had fans as well.
If these common wananchis loved their leaders this much as to leave their different job responsibilities just to watch them play, did this even when some of these very leaders ill treat them, then how much more if they were loyal to the manifestos they presented to their voters? I mean, from the two scenarios I had described earlier on, it’s clearly evident that waheshimiwas are held in high regard in our society even from time immemorial.
Do these very same leaders respect their voters even in the least? Do they stop at any time to think about what it means to have people running to welcome them? Do they know how it feels to elect someone you thought understood your woes and would take care of them rightfully, only to have them forget where they came from?Do they know how it feels to faithfully support someone, even in a little matter as a football match, while at the back of one’s mind, it’s as clear as day, that this person will never support you?
Well, this might be food for thought to some people,but from my opinion, this is just unrepaid respect.
Eva Jean, #OAYouth Advocate