Oh my goodness, Kenya, I am so damn proud of you right now! When I left the house yesterday for an afternoon of drinking and carousing, my heart was in my mouth and I had butterflies in my stomach, as I willed the referendum polling to go smoothly and without violence. Coming home after several glasses of wine and an interesting discussion on the weaknesses of PHP as a programming language (I drink with geeks), I fired up my Twitter feed expecting the worst. What I found instead was no reports of unrest, a steady consensus building that the YES vote had carried the day, and that the NO vote was going to concede graciously in defeat.
Congratulations! We have a new constitution! Onwards and upwards to a president who can be impeached, MPs who can be recalled if they’re not doing their jobs, ministers who might actually have some expertise in their areas of responsibility, and greater rights for women. I have been partying like it’s a Super Soul Sunday all morning, which is why this blog post is so late in the day.
I can only hope that this civil political discourse will carry on into the 2012 campaign, and that now we all know where we stand, that poll will pass off peacefully too. In the meantime, while I celebrate, here is another one of my lists posts that sums up what I have read about the vote so far:
- For all the times I complain about them, The Nation actually did quite well yesterday. Along with a stat sheet that broke the referendum down into numbers, there were also liveblogs for the end of polling and the declaration of victory by the YES vote, along with an article that suggests that we may finally have buried the demons of 2007.
- My colleagues at Kenya Imagine have managed to put together a range of views on the referendum, from the possibly misplaced euphoria of the YES vote, to the possible fallout from land reform, and the rationale of someone compelled to vote NO. There is also an open thread editorial that stresses that we still have a lot of work to do before we fulfil our potential; feel free to leave your thoughts on the process in the comments.
- Tsk! Despite the gracious concession by the NO camp, various church leaders are still all up in everyone’s business, now saying that not only were some votes irregular, but that we ought to begin another round of consultation and negotiation. Make your minds up, guys; either the vote was valid or it wasn’t.
- The Catholic bishops are “lamenting” the result too, by the way, but I refuse to take a bunch of cross-dressers who protect paedophiles seriously.
- Reuters has a snap analysis of what the YES vote might mean for the country, with an interesting note towards the end of their article that Ruto has now displaced Moi as leader of the Kalenjin voting bloc. Really? I don’t see the old man giving up that title willingly until he’s in a casket.
- At AllAfrica, Tom Powell (no, me neither) hopes that the YES vote means a new period of peace and maturity for Kenya as a country. Fingers crossed!
- Meanwhile, stocks on the Nairobi Stock Exchange rallied to a two-year high, according to Bloomberg, so despite what the religious leaders think, the YES vote has to be a good thing, right?
- Saints preserve us! Even the EU is giving us kudos for the way we managed to pull off the referendum. We’ve arrived, baby!
- The Christian Science Monitor, meanwhile, has some insight into how technology was harnessed to keep people up to date on the vote count.
And that is all before I get to the blogs! I haven’t checked my blogroll yet, but I’m sure there is much fun to be had. Stand by for updates. Did you blog about the referendum result? Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments, or to link to your own posts. I’m going to pop another cork in honour of an important milestone in our glorious country’s progress to becoming a grown-up democracy.
Updated To the blogs! Thanks to Rafiki Kenya for kicking things off in the comments with links to posts at Siasa Duni and at their own place. Below, a down and dirty round of up what’s been said in the Kenyan blogosphere:
- Abantu shares my opinion that Kenya really did something to be proud of yesterday and is confident that the future of Kenya rests with the young.
- Harvest Tone has a video discussion with X Domain and Kafu of Ghetto Radio 89.5FM about voters’ experiences of the referendum and a short post on the technology that allowed people to stay up to date with the latest developments.
- Jamii ya Kenya points out that although the churches claimed to have the ear of 70% of the population, their exhortations to vote NO seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
- Rombo at What an African Woman Thinks has a touching letter to the year 2030 from the present, pointing out that this is a moment in time that will shape the country’s future.
- Diasporadical had been feeling ambivalent about voting and hadn’t been going to, but eventually got their finger inked. Yay for taking part in history!
- Kenyan Entrepreneur has a conspiracy theory going about redrawing constituencies, GEMA and breaking the Kalenjin stronghold in the Rift Valley. If that’s your bag, you’ll enjoy the read.
- Wanjiku’s Take has a quick but concise description of Uchaguzi, which is one of the bits of tech that was used to keep people informed yesterday. It looks incredibly useful, and I hope it will makke a comeback in 2012.
- Thoughts and Sparkles has a sweet entry on how it felt to go through the day, including Facebook updates and an invitation to Barack Obama to get himself a Kenyan passport as a birthday present to himself.
- Kumekucha has a celebratory blog post that scolds a couple of politicians for their tactics. There also appears to be a lively discussion in the comments, but they might all have kissed and made up by the time you click through.
- Finally (for now), Kenyan Points of Discord appears to feel the same way that I do. So very very proud to be a Kenyan right now!
Well done, Kenya. I’ve always loved you, but you have now reminded me why I do so very, very much.
[Kenya flag icon used with the kind permission of Javier Ocasio at StudioTwentyEight]