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Monday, March 12, 2012


Winning is always nice!

 And we all want to win or be part of the winning team.

The last few weeks have been a roller-coaster ride. You see for the first time ever, IU finally decided to have its first ever officially elected student-council. This has been a very long journey coming and we were all glad that the big ballot day was scheduled in a short span of three weeks!

Am not sure that politics, especially students’ politics is my forte. With that said, I was sure as hell not vying for any seat in this Government. How the tables changed when one of my very good friends animatedly informed me of his candidacy! And yes, He was going for the big seat-President of IUSA.

To cut a very long story short, I decided to take up the role as Jesse Mutua’s campaign manager! I might add that this is a job that I had zero experience in! When I said yes to the offer, I thought ‘How hard could this be? ‘I knew I would get readily available info especially in light of showdowns for Republicans in the US and the vigorous campaigns happening back home in regard to the forthcoming general elections. So there we were….with three weeks to do the nearly impossible…. 

Lucky for us, we had very loyal supporters who were willing to help in any way. From those, we formed a core-team. Strategy was our game and we hit the ground running! We ensured that our candidate was well visible. Posters, social media. The works! A buzz was already being felt within the campus corridors.

As all campaigns might have it, scandals begun to crop up here and there. The Presidential race had three candidates and so you can fathom how either team might want to set back another. Obviously when you take up a mantle in such a battle, you sign up for anything and everything sadly. There were moments when such horrid things were said or when we knew that it was not fair-play, but Jesse insisted on integrity and honesty all the way.

As Kenyans, we have a distasteful habit of asking for ‘Kitu Kidogo’ all the time. Even when our civic duty is called for, we still want ‘Chai’. At the political fore-front, this is the order of the day. We were horrified a replica of the same was happening in our schools and students expected us to ‘toa’ in exchange for a vote! I am almost sure that we were the only team that REFUSED to bribe anyone! We insisted that you vote because you believe in Leadership you can Trust (Campaign Slogan) not because we can and will pay your bus-fare, a couple of shots, or a game of pool!

A lot of haters out-there especially the crook business-men advised that no vote without finance!!!What a bunch of baloney! I was so ashamed when a student who might be my father’s age asked me for something small in exchange for a Jesse Vote…I have a feeling, he will never be able to look me in the eye ever again as I categorically told him NO.What crappy role-models are these and what mixed signals are they sending to the youth especially!!!

Debate-day was soon with us and all candidates for various offices presented their manifestos. This was followed by Q&A’s.Jesse is really very eloquent and answers questions quite meticulously. It was interesting to listen to his rivals and note their temperaments. The crowd went wild when some took the podium, but I could tell real cheers from sarcastic ones.
Two days later…and the grand elections were here!!!The polling booths were to be open at 0800 Hours with four polling stations. On the morning of Friday the 9th March, disorganization and poor communication were the beginning of what was to be a historic day. Four Hours later, voting began. You can imagine my utter shock when I went to cast my vote and found my name missing from the register….more running up and down…finally able to cast my vote an hour later.

At 1800 hours, polls were closed and counting begun. This was a painfully slow process filled with anxiety and anticipation. At 2130 hours, we were invited for the results announcement…..

You can imagine what must have been going through anyone’s mind then. Did we win? Did we do enough? Will we achieve all what we set out to do?
As it was so late, thankfully the dean of students went right to the results saving the speeches for the swearing in ceremony to be held on the 13th March. You could hear a pin drop in the hall when she began reading out the results. When she got to the President, I thought my heart literally stopped beating…..she read out a name not close to the one I had in mind……..

I couldn’t believe it; we had lost by six votes. I was mad, frustrated, and felt cheated especially by the people who failed to turn-up to vote. Getting out of there the fastest way possible was only what my mind could register. If I felt disappointed, I can only imagine what Jesse might have been feeling, couldn’t help but feel that I let him and the entire team down….

This weekend was our grieving period. Come next week, we intend to hold our head high. We refuse to throw stones and utter insults.Instead,we will walk up to the newly elected IUSA Government come Tuesday afternoon, shake their hands in congratulatory mood and wish them well from the bottoms of our hearts.

I know this will not be easy, but it is the RIGHT thing to do. You see, losing is just feedback. We might be down now, but we (especially Jesse) is not out. Losing is sometimes part of winning!!!

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