It’s Kenya’s time: March 4 election catches world’s attention

You can find campaign posters everywhere in Nairobi. Even on tree trunks and sidewalk posts, seen below. (photos courtesy of Daniel Shorten)

It’s been a quieter Sunday than most. Everyone is waiting for Monday.

For the first time since the election violence of 2007 scarred Kenya, citizens will head to the polls. Their votes will, hopefully, end the wait. If the results are deadlocked though, Kenya will have a runoff in April.

Yesterday, even early in the morning as I pounded out my weekly long run, trucks filled with cheering supporters for this or that party rumbled by, the bass of their crackling sound systems vibrating the pavement. During the afternoon, the cacophony of campaigns echoed through the streets, competing with the familiar notes of the muezzin (call to prayer).

Two of the top candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, held rallies, under the watchful eye of international media outlets.

There have been small pockets of violence and palpable unease from all sides. For good reason.

But I’ve been struck by the positives I’ve seen. For the first time ever, all of the candidates gathered for a debate Feb. 11. In the U.S., most yawn and click over to SportsCenter. In Kenya, it made history in more ways than one:

That’s not all. People are engaged. They are fasting. They are praying. They are calling for peace – many even using their artistic creativity as an outlet.

Pray for peace

This passage has been on my mind of late:

Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” – Daniel 2:20-21

Tuombe amani.

“Pray for peace.” It’s become a common refrain for Kenyans and others living here.

Polls open in just a few hours. Pray for a smooth process, a clear result and continued healing for those for whom this is a painful reminder of a time that shattered their lives.

God showed Daniel this truth so clearly: Whatever happens is not a surprise to Him. Isn’t that such a comfort?

Tuombe amani.


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