It's the general election in Kenya today. It has been a bit of a logistical nightmare for the tourist/service industry as everyone here has strong political views (revved up by the politics mad press) and all want to cast their own vote, whether it's voting for 'change' or voting for the re election of the incumbent president. Meanwhile, hotels are full of overseas tourists who won't understand that having their full english breakfast in the bush this morning may mean that the chef has been denied his right to vote. There may be some uncharacteristically grumpy Kenyan hotel staff today.
Meanwhile, in our Nairobi suburb, mile long queues stretching back from the area chief's office which is today a polling station are characterized by a calm air of patience. People are reading newspapers, chatting amicably, waiting in line ready to cast their vote. We all have fingers crossed for a fair election and a peaceful acceptance of whatever the outcome is. There are always fears of aggravated demonstrations and outbreaks of violence when the result is made known, as the running of this country is an emotive subject. The embassies are on high alert.
Lucy Kibaki, the current president's wife, made herself even more unpopular when she physically hit someone at a ceremony for incorrectly introducing her recently. Now the talk on th street is that she also beats her husband the President and that he drinks too much beer. The most likely 'aspirant' Raila Odinga went to cast his vote this morning in his constituency, only to find that his name was not listed on the register - slightly embarrassing for him. Watch this space.....
(This text sent to a friend by his gardener who had gone up country to vote, kind of sums up the feeling of this election, where everyone, however poor, feels that they have the power to make a change:
‘Hi Sir, I have just employ a new president and the only problem I have is that I haven’t found the bus to Nairobi. So I’ll see you on Monday morning!’)