“Why I Will Not Be Voting” by @iFortKnox

Guest blog by @iFortKnox

Vote For Nobody Graffiti

I grew up a lone child and since I lost my mum when I was seven, it was just me and my dad until my teenage years when I was sent to boarding school.

Living with my dad, I was exposed to a lot of life experiences either through practical participation or historical narratives. My dad reads a lot. I mean A LOT. And he’s not much of an outgoing person unless it’s a church-related function, which he had a lot to attend because he was and still is a catechism facilitator. So when he wasn’t involved in any of those church functions, he’d just stay in the house reading, listening to music, and when he’d get bored with all that, I was the only human being around he would have conversations with. We’d talk about virtually everything, from religion and specifically why I didn’t like church and church-like stories like why I shouldn’t eat white meat, women, and our clan back in the village, my education, and sports – he was a very good hockey player back in his school days and lots and lots of history. That is how I spent most of my weekends. Week days were play days for me.

That is how I gained interest in politics, reading and discussing politics. I’ve always been a politically conscious cat. At some point after high school I had a “chronic” addiction to pornography (body politics indeed), not really the fucking or the Clinton-Lewinsky-head-encounter-like actions but the message boards and forums that we enjoyed for subscribing to premium services of such like websites. I had my homeboy who was working at the time and he was already hooked into this plastic monetary system or credit cards if you will. I’d give him equivalent of $5 in Kenya shillings and he’d use his credit card to renew my subscriptions. I wasn’t working then but somehow I had some little money with me. Not pocket money from my dad, he’s the last person to want to give you pocket money just for being at home chilling, doing nothing or chasing after your female peers after graduating high school. My homeboy on the other hand was an engineer at this telco company and I’d expect him to turn down my little money and just renew my subscriptions on his own bill but nada. Not to sound stereotypical, but his mum is from Kinangop. I’ve been there once.

What these message boards and porn forums accorded idle souls like me and the rest of those white kids from Eastern Europe I interacted with, was a false sense of deep understanding of life. But it heightened my curiosity nonetheless. We’d discuss anything and everything known to mankind but all put into sexual context. It was a porn forum, need I say more? This one time, after watching a lesbian porn (Which I must say was worth my time) the discussion headed straight to Sodom and Gomorra. It was a discussion on Homosexuality and Modernity and stupid shit like that. I was 19 and the closest I’d come to that subject was in High School. First in C.R.E where we actually talked about Sodom and Gomorra and second, this one dude who was our class secretary and we hated him so much, sometimes we absconded cleaning our classroom (by we, I mean a few idiots I had massive influence over their mannerism) just so he could snitch on us and we’d have a perfect reason to keep wishing death on him.

To be clear, my crew did not start the homo rumors but it suited our cause so either way we saw no reason not to fuel the rumors. This is how the rumor started. This new guy who was very girly and people who knew him claimed he was expelled from a very prestigious school for raping a fellow student. The rape part kind of freaked me out but I was safe, I didn’t share anything with the dude – class or dormitory – not because I was a homophobe but nothing fun in getting raped in the ass. I doubt you can rape someone at the dining hall, maybe at night but I was never around the dining hall at night, not even when there was a movie showing. So this new girly guy and our class secretary became really tight friends, I can’t tell whether it was by seduction or by virtue of them sharing a dormitory and residing in the same compartment in that dormitory. It didn’t matter, me and my crew bought into the homo rumors like relief food. Thank god the rumors never reached the administration so these two supposedly gay dudes were never expelled, but you can imagine the level of ridicule they were subjected to. Come to think of it, if they were like really gay, they would’ve committed suicide right? Or maybe Gay Africans aren’t that fragile as the ones I read about on HuffPost.

So this homosexuality and modernity discussion went on for a couple of hours, some of these white kids all bringing their family members, relatives and friends out of the closet like Denis Nzioka would do if his brother told him he’s gay too, only that this was a porn forum and the discussion wasn’t sponsored by Identity Magazine. Maybe they did, just that I never got a check, plus I doubt they were ever going to pay me since I wasn’t that progressive enough within the political sphere of deviant sexualities. I wish those porn forums became mainstream like Facebook. Those white kids exposed me to a lot of western political ideals and I read a lot about them when I wasn’t feeling like watching porn or I didn’t have internet.

2007 was a special year for me, politically. It was time to put all the political junk I had accrued over the years, including the porn forums where I first learnt the power of community service. I was 20 and had registered as a voter and I was looking forward to getting to the ballot booth and exercising my democratic right – like I had been taught in school. I followed political blitz on TV and on radio, had endless arguments with my peers who were equally excited. I was the “intelligent” one and that helped me moderate those silly debates we had in the village (I had moved back to the village to live with my granny). My granny had a TV, it was the only TV in a 5km radius, I automatically became a political pundit in the village just because I had access to information and people trusted me somehow. We would walk around urging people to go register as voters. Even though we favored different politicians for the parliamentary seat, we found a unifying factor in the need to make Agwambo the next president of the republic. Politics in my village was kind of a reserve for men but this time round, I was making sure more women registered as voters. I was that dude. A couple of folks hated me because they thought I was getting paid and I wasn’t sharing. I kind of enjoyed that drama. One thing for sure, the community service lessons the white kids from Eastern Europe had taught me on the porn message boards were coming in handy (no fapping)
Then the ODM nominations happened. As a registered ODM member back then, I wanted nothing to do with the MP we had at the time, Philip Okundi – Immediate former CCK chairman and I think he’s got some position within the ODM hierarchy. My preferred candidate was Martin Ogindo, who eventually won and went ahead to clinch the parliamentary seat. The process was flawed and it mirrored the Kivuitu lead process at K.I.C.C. that precipitated the mess that was P.E.V. But we put up a fight till justice was served.

What really happened was Philip Okundi after a heavy defeat everywhere in the constituency including within his own clan, was awarded the nomination certificate. Those in the know speculated that it was a money politics and that Philip Okundi was popular within the ODM ranks than Martin Ogindo (Like I was supposed to give a fuck about that). True Martin Ogindo wasn’t as wealthy as Okundi was and still is but we needed a new blood, we were done with the status quo which Okundi and another former MP, Chem Ochuodho represented. Plus Martin Ogindo is my neighbor so really what choice did I have?

I gathered a couple of dudes in the village, played with their emotions a little bit with the fact that our clan had been alienated and it was our time to show the rest how to really do it. We are close and we can’t afford to have Okundi for another 4 years of doing nothing for us. I’m a little guilty for playing the clan-card but whatever, I was young and I was dealing with ignorant folk way older than me who were very apathetic. In fact they only cared about Agwambo being the president, nothing else mattered to them. The clan-card worked like a charm. We hit the streets. I made a few phone calls here and there and I was informed Homabay town was already on fire. Just what I needed to bring my inner Jack Bauer out. I lied to these dudes again that Homabay folks are already causing havoc thanks to us. Nobody asked me shit, so I kept it moving with lies. The cops were alerted and Rodi Kopany came to a halt. Yes we took over every corner and playing cat and mouse games with the cops. Thank God no live bullets were fired like they did in Homabay. I know a dude who got shot.
Three hours later, Royal Media Services owned, Radio Ramogi – which was the only FM station broadcasting in Dholuo then – announced that Martin Ogindo had been awarded the certificate. A 4-story building rumored to be owned by Philip Okundi in Homabay town had been set ablaze then; still I gave little to no fucks about it. Justice had been served. For me, Martin Okindo represented freshness and we hoped he’d do something worth talking about. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy because of bureaucracy, but I still hoped my vote was going to bring something new to my village – first – and the constituency at large. I hoped to see equitable distribution of CDF and bursary funds. Was I unrealistic with my expectations? I don’t think so. Those are some of the promises Martin Ogindo made before nominations. I was naïve and I got caught up in the frenzy for trying out a new thing that I took his lies seriously.

I know as young people, we are always guilt-tripped into believing that your single vote will amount to something. And that the vote is your power to demand for a better polity. But history doesn’t always support that theory. I mean politics will always present us with false choices. Like I described up there, I had a choice to choose between status quo and an undercover lair that had a great reputation in the civil service but has proved to be nothing but status quo. Guess what, he’s done nothing worth documenting back in my village. He made promises that would have transformed the constituency if he had followed up on them. I know we young guys will continue to vote. To vote because it’s what is expected of us as citizens, it’s our democratic duty sanctioned by the constitution to vote. We want to positively influence the governance of this country, using the vote. It’s all good. I’m just not inspired enough to participate. Heck last time I did, a shitload of Kenyans died and some got displaced. I’ll give it a pass. I’ve been there done that, got nothing. Will it make me less of a Kenyan? I’d wish to give the least fuck possible about it. For those feeling inspired to vote next year, go register and please make the right decision – with me in mind, of course.

Peace!

17 thoughts on ““Why I Will Not Be Voting” by @iFortKnox

  1. This has got to be the silliest non-pointed drivel view I’ve read in a long time.. .. He should have just summarised -like he said.. “We want to positively influence the governance of this country,….I’m just not inspired enough to participate”

    • Your view is symptomatic a little myopic. You should find out the leading causes of voter apathy/political alienation, don’t judge them for not participating. There are genuine problems around advocacy etc.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_alienation

      People are disenfranchised. Feel like they cannot effect change either because of a broken system or lack of decent political options.

      How do you address this?

      What options do we have as a country today? Name one presidential candidate with a clean record and and a clean team behind them.

      It’s a choice between evils.

      • Im sorry, .roho safi. IFortKnox.. as much as your cool peeps.. this thinking. is why we wont move forward. Let me tell you a small story first about voting (power or no power) in UK .. That if you are a registered voter.. for your council/municipal whatever.. but YOU are registered.. AND you do not come to vote for your area rep/councillor etc that registered vote.. by inactivity means you are happy with the current service and you want the current representative to continue with his/her good work- so that is a rescinding Vote. ie that one vote.. is counted as support to the incumbent. Many of those i’m “just not inspired enough to participate” One Vote’s add up in support of that sitting rep.

        So basically, it happens that they year people are TRULY fed up of that representative.. they come out in large droves and vote for someone, something new.. (over there its more agenda based than personalities) Which is why I take issue with your post.. when like i said.. you should have summarised it in that sentence. You do not understand the gravity and power of one vote :-
        One Vote, added to many such votes.. will change how a people are taxed, educated, access to basic facilities, health and all that. One Vote.. is a person speaking up and saying “I WANT THIS.. NOT that!”
        One Vote is the reason why you can sit in a bar or wharever.. and talk, arm chair politik on the state or lack of .. who ever you voted.. which in your case means.. till 2017.. you have NO RIGHTs to talk jack squat and complain coz you are “just not inspired enough to participate”
        For people like you its NEVER that serious, for real.. n thats ok, the World still turns. But for others, others that truly understood the gravity of what happened in 2007… this One Vote, is a chance to wipe that slate. True.. sad but true,.. i cant see -just as many – who of the current aspirants are worth that one vote.. but then again your post shows how much you understand is at stake- you probably havent read the constitution even to understand.. that as much as there is the sensationalised horse-trading- the election next year is agenda based now.. not personalities.. What matters is NOT who’se gonna sleep at State House. The power has shifted – The Governor IS the NEW President!

        So yeah, for you, Amezidi and other so called “disenfranchised” who have a vote that people have died that you can exercise that One Vote – economics, health, education, security etc.. these “small issues”.. that affect, your neighbourhood, community, family etc.. they are not for you. I’m sure you are thankful, you can go on with your day-to-day not have to talk about it for the next couple of years.. coz you were all “just not inspired enough to participate” and attempt to change your livelihood, a neighbourhood, a community, a city, a destiny with that One Vote.

    • I’m very much inspired to positively influence the governance of this country. Voting is just not what I have in mind because of one simple fact: None of the aspiring candidates is offering anything worth putting hope/faith on. If you were in my shoes, what would you do? Just vote because voting is trendy?
      I’ll give you one voting stat to think about. Since 1969, almost 2/3 of MPs have been voted out of parliament in elections. My question is, how much has that change contributed to the future of the country?
      I’ll give you another example why your vote doesn’t mean much. We overwhelmingly voted for a new constitution 2 years ago. I did. I’m not sure if you did. It’s not like I accepted the document in totality, but the positives outweighed the negatives. But what did your honorable members do with the document in parliament? How much did your vote try to protect the document from mutilation in parliament? Your guess is as good a mine.
      I think we put so much emphasis on elections as the only escape route out of bad leadership. This country has a rich history of bad leadership. We’ve totally disregarded that history instead we think hawking hope and faith is the only way out. Maybe. But we have data that if intellectualized, we could actually formulate better initiatives outside the political realm as far as public participation is concerned. Voting must not be the only avenue for public participation.

    • Mumbi, you are living in a bubble and I don’t think I’m in a position to bring you back to reality. I said in my post that I’m not voting because I have no reason to vote. None of the aspirants has anything worth my vote.
      Second, having a new constitution did not in anyway strengthen our political structure. It simply expanded hierarchies within the political sphere. What do I mean here? The new document did not for example change voting patterns. Like people are now more conscious than before to differentiate fallacies and policies being peddled by politicians. Let me bring you up to speed. Sonko is running for senator and Ferdinand Waititu is running for governor. You do the math. Tell me how much the two have changed to make them suitable to vie for such positions.
      All I’m trying to do here is tell people that better leadership is not just about voting. Of course voting plays a role but it’s not the end game. In fact over-dependence on these skewed political dispensations to improve our political system and governance is the reason we are where we are. Public participation is a voting machine ready to be auctioned to the highest bidder, integrity and policies notwithstanding. That’s how we have been conditioned, that’s why we think it’s the only way out and the political elite have known how to exploit that mentality.
      I don’t want to say much, scroll down and check what @Kaboro has to say.

      • I guess we are both living in a bubble IFortKnox so.. kwa hayo machache.. scroll down to what @mmnjug has to say.Ur ilk are who that quote was meant for.

  2. For a long time, I was against voting. I believed, just like you do, that my one tiny vote wouldn’t make any difference. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. You and I agree on one thing – we both don’t like the way things are, and we want them to change. So for me, the reasoning is basic. If I vote, I’m doing something about it. If I don’t vote, I’m doing nothing. It makes me feel better to do something – even if it’s something futile – than to do nothing at all.

    • “If I vote, I’m doing something about it. If I don’t vote, I’m doing nothing. It makes me feel better to do something – even if it’s something futile – than to do nothing at all”
      Sorry but that is what you’ve been conditioned to believe. It’s not a reason. That fact that one is not voting does not mean one is doing nothing. Again, these are some of the narratives that have been perpetuated by lord knows who to guilt-trip you and people like you to engage in exercises you don’t believe in but just do it anyway because it’s trendy and it’s better than doing the proverbial nothing.
      Well I respect liberties and I think it’s a beautiful and powerful thing to have choices, and you can go ahead and vote for whatever reason you deem fit, but it’s also my democratic right to stay away from things I have no faith in. Voting is one of them.

      • You guys bana! Don’t call it quits after one bad experience, or two, or even several. Eventually, the tide will turn. Justice is like a boomerang, it circles but it always resolves. Good will eventually overpower evil, we have to keep trusting that change will happen EVEN WHEN WE ARE ALMOST CERTAIN TO BE DISAPPOINTED. It’s a risk we MUST take!

  3. Why You MUST vote…@iFortKnox
    This is a reply to the former head, let’s get straight to it, I will not drop down my history as @iFortKnox did in his article as titled up above there. Not because I do not have a past to jot down, heck I do. But I am not going to get into it; time is my pretence on this one. We MUST all register as voters and vote that is a line no one MUST dispute.
    The reason why you MUST vote is not an issue I should engage in here, again let us lay our cards on the table and look at the odds. Yes, @iFortKnox has raised various issues as to why he might not vote, heck I would be disappointed too, and I would care less, I could chronologically put up my frustrations during that time, when I saw the right full winner of the Kasarani constituency seat robbed in broad day light and in the process rendered bankrupt. But I will not engage on that too. Not that it is NOT important, it is just water under the bridge, and as we all know, that water is for cows to drink and women and bachelors to do laundry with (Not stereotyping)
    The jest of the matter is that, the ideal situation will be us going to the general elections and voting in the best candidate there is. Again we would expect that, that particular candidate had told us the truth during their campaigns and that they would fulfill what they said. But that is just so ideal. Ohh yeah I am sure you have tried to get a woman to bed and what did you tell her? I am sure the truth never took you so far if you tried…again a lie repeated so many times might just turn out to be taken in the context of the truth.
    Let us now skip all that, your vote really do count, either way you look at it. I am not going to be convincing about this, remember every revolution that has touched the face of the world was not inspired by a majority; in fact every successful revolution has been the idea of a single man. All the major movements and reshaping of the status quo have been individual success, take a leap back to the history, or listen to Fidel Castro
    ‘I began revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and plan of action.’
    Or I can even throw in Margaret Mead
    ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’
    Ok maybe those are just words, but there lies in the power of words, why? Again let me throw in Che Guevara
    ‘The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.’
    Now let us head out and take a peek at your prose and on that I hand you Paul Gauguin
    ‘Art is either plagiarism or revolution.’
    That score to the power of your words, heck it is pessimistic, pardon me.
    Now, we cannot all sit back and say we have thrown in the towel because we tried once, all those who have tried once and failed never went out on a limp to do anything in their life, and they failed!! The real success stories tried not once, not twice, not thrice but a dozen times. You tried and you really did make an impact, why not go out there and give it a try again. Ever heard of this, failure is the spring board to success? Yes, now you have, we cannot sit and wait, and we cannot afford to let the country to the wind. We must get involved with that single vote and your writing skills, heck read that Paul Gauguin quote up there. Let us keep talking, writing and one day you will be counted. Am not trying to convince you here I am just saying you cannot say enough is enough when you have not tried. At 25 you can’t just pass the buck. I guess you must be wondering what country your children will inherit; your grandchildren and the rest will come too.
    The very reason above is why you must register and vote, that is why our fore fathers took to the bushes to fight for the independence of this great country. Lucky us today it is no longer about blood and the bush. Today it is about the voter’s card, albeit slow, albeit not so promising, but slowly and steadily the gods will smile upon our great nation. For the sake of tomorrow you must vote, what do they say again? Let the majority have their way but the minority must also have their say. Go on out there and have your say. Sometimes it is not really important what you do say, but the magnitude of what you do not say can be measured in ritchars. That is what you did not jot down.
    That is just my 8cent thought on why you MUST register as a voter as well as go out on that day and VOTE. It has nothing to do with anything else. Yes, democracy is a bitch, and you must screw it. The only way to screw it is yelling and how do you yell in this context? Just go out there and vote.
    Peace and Love for the Country.

  4. I agree entirely with this article. There’s more to changing this nation than simply voting the next politician in. Some of them are very very simple, others, not so much.

    Some examples:

    [1] Change your behavior as an individual. It needs to become ‘cool’ to be law abiding. Be a good citizen.

    [2] Benevolent self interest. Pay people well. The more people are able to make the jump from low income to the middle class, the better our democracy gets (it will have dividends in this and the next generation, people will be engaged).

    [3] Volunteer your time – whether it’s planting trees, mentoring the youth find a way to volunteer time for the community at large.

    [4] Adopt a child – For those who have the means and are able to.

    [5] If you genuinely believe you can change this country – run for office.

    [6] Integrity

    [7] Donate some money to a charitable cause. Not much, but some.

    I could go on, but there are measures that go beyond simply voting. Our political process is broken.

    Look at the amount of good simple initiatives like Tom Mboya’s Scholarship program achieved. The iHub etc. Find gaps that the government does not address and whether or not you do it for commercial gain, address them. Government in Kenya is broken. We need to realize that. We do not have representative government.

    We have been voting time immemorial – that has not brought about change. We need to figure out ways of ensuring that more and more citizens participate in the economy.

    In 2007, nobody voted for Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Mwai Kibaki, you could only vote for one, yet they are all in power. If that is not a sign that our democratic process is broken, I don’t know what is…

    • Amen to that. I say people need to quit with the gloom and start doing something about it. If the streets are dirty clean them. Volunteer. You matter, you have skills and abilities that can be used to empower someone out there. ” A rebel in your thoughts aint gon’ make it halt. If you don’t become an actor, you’ll never be a factor” yes i just quoted lupe fiasco words i never said. Heck i applaud the writer for doing something about his/her sentiments towards voting….it may encourage others to wallow in apathy but it may also encourage others to come up with clear reasons for going out to vote..either way people need to reflect on why things are bad, why we need change and what they can do about it as individuals.

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