By Kodalo Tombo (Guest Blog)
At family time when everyone else is watching TV, usually the news, I stick out at the dining table meters from the living room glued to my Tecno. I could well go to my room and shut the door but my mom hates when I do that.
Occasionally a story on the news catches my eye, like graphic images of people actually shriveled by hunger, and maybe feel sad. But then seconds later people are arguing on the group chat and I disappear back to my little reality.
At 21 years old it would be unimaginable-in my parents time to still share shelter with their parents – I guess.
They provide for me, all I do is go to college for three months and go back to their home. They send money monthly.
So when everyone was complaining of the rise in the price of unga I hardly felt it. What’s weirder is that, I came to know of the rise in cost on social media-Twitter, despite buying unga every start of the month. I couldn’t tell whether corruption played any part in the drama like many people alleged, because for every next allegation made by the opposition side there seemed for me, a sensible response by the Jubilee commentators. I barely eat ugali anyway.
On eighth August, I will vote for the first time ever. If I had my way, I’m not sure I would have registered to vote, only that in Kisumu they were threatening to beat people with no voters card. Crazy!
I don’t want to blindly follow what dad wants because honestly I have always known that his political opinions are because of his tribe. I am hoping I can curve my own path; make objective decisions. But it’s hard getting the right information in the age of fake news.
Awhile back, Devolution CS, Anne Waiguru was accused of stealing NYS money by Nasa leader Raila. At the time people associated with President Uhuru defended her. And she’s so smart when she talks, it’s hard to imagine her corrupt. But then later when I saw her on TV appearing before a Parliamentary Watchdog Committee; a definite suspect, and the Deputy President-who had earlier defended her against Raila, now calling for her prosecution, going as far as telling her to stop “cat-walking” and return the alleged stolen cash I was a little confused. But you learn in politics enmity is so temporary because she is now running for Kirinyaga Governor race under a Jubilee party ticket. I’ll never know if she really stole money or Raila just doesn’t like her. These are some of the things that bother me as a first-time voter.
As for my dad, Waiguru should have been crucified a long time ago, alongside Jesus. My mom isn’t really political; but possibly follows in my dad’s political footsteps. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t force things on us but you will just find yourself doing what he’d normally approve.
Again, as a first time voter, I don’t want to blindly follow family or people without proper, credible and verifiable information.
In two years, I will be done with college and my dad will just about be retiring – all the privilege I have always had thanks to the hard work of my parents will sadly be gone. I will very possibly not be able to hold down a good job; yet I was shocked to learn that HELB needs that I begin repayment immediately or face a fine of 5000 monthly. How’s that even supposed to work, knowing the employment situation in this country?
Of all the financial or is it economic scandals that have ever happened in this country, real or made up, I have not been enraged by any. But now that I can see responsibility slowly showing itself – frankly I am kind of scared but hope that I can start to make my future more livable starting on 8th August.
Maybe responsibility is good, at least it has led me to do some soul searching. What if all these years all the money that has gone missing could have helped me with bursaries for all those times when my parents have had a hard time raising school fees. And it’s not just me – millennials are often accused of having an unreasonable sense of entitlement. But that’s not always the case, especially if you consider that odd case where interns seeking internship have to pay for placement and then end up doing the donkey work. Shouldn’t one be paid for their work?
On 8th I want to get out of my comfort zone, and begin to take responsibility. I need to ask hard questions about the taxes I pay. I just filed my tax returns.
For me to make these informed choices I need credible sources of information. But politicians haven’t always made this job easy. It feels like we are stuck with leaders shouting over each other’s voices; often resembling noisy crowds in a park or stadium and thus disorganizing information. I am therefore left at the mercy of Radio or TV sound bites to make sense of whatever they’re saying.
They (Politicians) don’t look to be doing a good job of speaking to my problems and convincing me they have solutions. I am watching these campaigns closely. As a first-time voter, I can’t afford to mess it up. I need my voice heard; it starts at the ballot this August 8th.
This article is courtesy of Project Mchujo, running with the hashtag #ChujaSiasa