Uasin Gishu— I’m reading a terribly sad book these days. It’s a book that I thought would uplift me during the doldrums of final-year political science class, and renew in me a sense of hope. It’s called “The Audacity to Win,” and it’s a memoir of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
When I’m finished with my analytical write-ups at night and get into bed, the book returns me to a time when politics in Uasin Gishu inspired hundreds and speeches could take your breath away. The election turned out to be a landslide win for Governor Mandago, and everyone paused to reflect on the historic nature of the hour.
My villagemates jumped with joy, and some parents even named their newborns Mandago. A young team of visionaries was headed for the County Leadership, and the county was ready for change. During Mandago’s transition to office in March, he had 72% approval rating. There was something in the air.
And then I close the book. Cutting to the
present is a rude awakening, like snapping
out of a dream. It’s hard to remember those days of optimism — they seem a distant memory, a sad reminder of opportunities gone by. Change indeed happened, in the years since I cast my second ballot. It was simply nothing I could have imagined.
What is there to credit Mandago with? After the countless times in which I have found myself defending the Mandago administration to colleagues and peers, I’ve reached a limit to the explanations that I can provide. I’ve reached a point of political despair.
They cannot explain why we use the backdoor to acess his office-a public office,nor why he runs around with a siren causing traffic nightmare in Eldoret. They cannot explain the deteroriating state of security in the county, nor the pathetic state of roads across the county. They cannot justify the findings of a report that claimed Uasin Gishu County is the most corrupt county in the country.
Most recently, Mandago’s administration cannot excuse their failure to even design a simple website,an official digital communication page on facebook or twitter, more than six months since he assumed office. I don’t know if this is what we should have expected. If during the campaign, we were supposed to figure out that governance may contradict the political campaigns that precede it. Obviously, elective office isn’t a
predictable course, as the opposing political party and random events will
shape our public conversation. Yet,of all of the examples that I have listed above, they largely seem to be of the administration’s own choosing. That is what troubles me most of all.
A colleague of mine told me he voted for Mandago,not because he was excited by his
candidacy but other candidates presented a confusing and unrefined alternative
who could not seem to lock down their
policies or their positions. He felt that he
would fulfill the hope that we had heard of for so long.
Still, as Mandagos’s approval rating continue to sink below 45% , It makes
many yearn for the many promises that
This week I remembered how Mandago rose to clinch the governorship. At a meeting in Wagon Hotel, he told a gathering of other aspirants that they needed to get back on track and stay true to the purpose of their cause. “I want us
to get our track back,’ he said.”We’ve got to remember who we are.”
It’s is almost a year later, Mr. Governor,and I couldn’t agree with you more-Get back on track and remember who you are.
The writer Gideon Kiprop is a Mass Communication and Journalism Masters graduate and a Final Year Political Science Undergraduate Student. A pioneer founder of Uasin Gishu Bloggers Association- firstname.lastname@example.org