Wanjiku’s voting pattern too obvious to not be abused

Citizens listen to the sweetest song during campaigns, end up choosing wrong leaders

In Summary

• Some parties hire agents to follow people they paid to the polling station to ensure they vote for the candidate the party 'paid for'.

• Kibra 'bedroom' remarks indicate that Kenyans have been manipulated to vote for parties and not individuals. 

Voters queue at Laza Primary School in Hola Town, Galole constituency in Tana River county in August 2017.
MUPPETS?: Voters queue at Laza Primary School in Hola Town, Galole constituency in Tana River county in August 2017.

There have been many elections in Kenya, but the voting pattern has never changed.

A good example is the Kibra by-election. The polls left Kenyans awed by the words uttered by leaders that Kibra is their bedroom. This meant that even if the residents voted, the seat was to go to the MP whose party dominated the area.

A bedroom symbolises a place which is locked and valuables kept in. This brings to attention to how voting patterns have emerged all those years since Independence. A voter always consults widely including relatives, friends and party agents who are stationed in that area.

When you visit a polling station in Kenya, you will meet many people waiting outside the voting areas for agents to grease their hands, then they enter to vote. Even if voters live 100 meters from the polling station, they will wait for transport to take them to the polling station. Inside the vehicle, they will receive something so as to vote for the candidate who provided transport. Voters are taken for a ride nowadays.

They are coerced into voting for parties and not individuals. If the candidate of the preferred party does not deliver, voters have to wait five years to remove the candidate as it is almost impossible to impeach an MP, MCA or senator in Kenya. The authority of parties has made it difficult for an independent candidate to beat one in a party.

Kenyans have a history of falling for fake promises made by the political class during the electioneering period. They listen to the sweetest song despite having learned the pattern of the leaders they choose who cut their links off with their people the moment they get access to the office. Wanjiku is left living with the result of their choices for five years.