Uhuru at Last, By Ose Oyamendan

Ose Oyamendan

I am seriously considering throwing my hat into the presidential race for 2015. Or, 2016. You can laugh at me if you want but make sure you don’t come camping outside the villa for contracts in June 2015.

2015 is more reasonable because there are several ways to get to the high table in the jungle. But, it is exactly 2016 that got me thinking about 2015 and I now know it’s a great decision because of 2013.

If I have succeeded in confusing you with the years then I must be on track to being a great politician. I will run in 2015 if only to set up myself for 2019 and I will swear by all the Holy books and two hands full of Cheeseburgers that I’m not running just because I’m some ego trip but because of my family. I’m thinking Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will say it’s for the nation. At least, I’m honest.

I sauntered into Kenya this week to find a country sitting on a knife’s edge just as it had about fifty years ago. Back then; it was the fathers slugging it out for a chance to sit in those cushy couches in the State House in Nairobi. This week, it was the turn of the sons.

It got me thinking that if I run in 2015 and lose because I was rigged out, all I have to do is seek out all of my opponents and go Biblical on them, old testament style. The first thing to do would be to castrate the mostly male field and, if they have children, I’ll just visit the plague on them. That way, a few decades from now, my kids can run without opponents.

Or, they can run for top dog without wrapping a cloud of fear on the country. I ran the idea past the partner because in America these little things count for a lot. The wife responded by asking the doctor to give me a blood test to see what kind of exotic drugs I’m on.

But, on the flight to Nairobi on Monday night, I was so sure it’s the right thing to do. If the wife doesn’t appreciate it, the kids will thank me for it when they’re looting the treasury unchecked a few decades from now. The flight was so empty I actually alternated between two beds and two TV screens on an eight-hour flight. Been the Good Samaritan I am, I even invited a lady I met before boarding the flight to come and have a great meal in my class of the flight.

When the air hostess raised an eyebrow, I got it back down quickly when I asked her if she was gonna take the excess food to her dogs. A few moments later, I was giving her the sign to bounce the lady when she showed up with her “fiancé”! It saddens me how people ruin the effort of a Good Samaritan.

I actually thought President Goodluck Jonathan was in Nairobi a day this week when I read his comment about ghosts. You see, Nairobi was a ghost city. An election that is supposed to be a ray of hope had become such swords of fear whose shadows had so paralyzed people they stayed indoors. In Nairobi, I found out the phrase “better safe than sorry” can be used for other things not sexual.

The last time I saw an African election was almost 20 years ago. It was a jubilation – Nigerians trooping to the polls with hope that one man will free them from the yoke of his military friends. As I drove around that day, I remember seeing kids playing soccer on streets, people getting ready for weddings and a rainbow of hope in the skies.

In Nairobi, women kept their kids indoors, girls gave the men who dared mooted an election day for a wedding a red card and the bustling social scene was on an extended break. During the week, people took days and, some, the entire week off from work.

The election itself was a heavyweight card. Odinga vs. Kenyatta. Close your eyes and you would think this was the 1960s all over again. Uhuru Kenyatta vs. Raila Odinga. It’s like a heart thumping fight on your television, sort of like Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier in those days when boxers were men.

Uhuru had an advantage from the very beginning because of his name. And, I don’t mean just the Kenyatta alone. You see, the first time I knew of Kenya, it was because of a Oginga Odinga’s autobiography, Not Yet Uhuru. This was the same Odinga who is Raila’s father and who went from a heartbeat from the presidency to a lifetime of bouncing between a jailhouse and political limbo. Now Kenyatta’s son had both names and you think Odinga’s son had a chance

This was not an easy election. The echoes of the last attempt at presidential elections still have scars in people’s brains. Caution was the password on the streets. Five years ago, hope turned to despair as scored of lives were lost, legions displaced and properties destroyed in post-elections violence.

But, call it the African in me, I kind of like what the Kenyan electoral body did with this elections. Noting the tension in the air, they dragged out the results for so long people were begging for it. When on the sixth day after the elections, the final tally streaked across the television screen, Kenyans echoed what Martin Luther King Jr. screamed about fifty years ago, “Uhuru at last!”

Ose Oyamendan a Nigerian film maker based in Holywood, also spends time in Nairobi, Kenya


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