Feature: Kenyans express optimism after conclusion of hotly contested polls

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-13 00:39:07|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NAIROBI, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Regina Wairimu defied freezing cold and light showers at dawn on Tuesday to rush to a nearby polling station where a long queue of voters patiently waited for their turn to cast their ballot and elect their favorite leaders.

The middle-aged mother of three has in the previous elections defied elements and demanding chores at home to participate in a noble exercise of choosing the next crop of representatives at all levels of government.

Her career in the medical profession has as well nurtured a desire to participate in a civic duty that would ultimately determine whether local communities would benefit from improved delivery of critical services like health, education and water supply.

During this election cycle, Wairimu was determined to vote for her favorite candidates, aware that it would have a significant impact on the lives of her young offspring.

The career nurse told Xinhua on Saturday that during a conversation that she hoped the post election phase in Kenya would be marked by realization of hopes and ideals that unite all citizens irrespective of their political affiliation.

"We spoke with our votes during the just concluded elections and expect the newly elected leaders will unite the country and champion the interests of ordinary citizens," said Wairimu.

She hailed the maturity demonstrated by aspirants from different political parties during the campaign season and expressed hope that sobriety and decency will become the hallmark of Kenya's political discourse.

"I hope the newly elected President Uhuru Kenyatta will fulfill the promises he made to the nation during his acceptance speech. His call for unity and patriotism resonated with citizens yearning to move past a divisive and hotly contested election," Wairimu remarked.

Kenyans trooped to polling stations in large numbers on Tuesday to elect a new president, county executives, lawmakers and ward representatives.

Tony Mullei, a grocery store owner in a low income suburb located on the eastern edges of the capital, Nairobi closed his businesses for hours to participate in the voting exercise.

The 34-year-old father of two had great expectations that his favorite candidates would clinch victory in an election that was fiercely contested.

Twelve hours after the voting ended, Mullei relished in victory of his favorite candidate for a local elective post but was saddened by failure of the candidates for national elective posts to trounce their rivals.

Nevertheless, the hardworking entrepreneur has vowed to soldier on and pursue his dreams irrespective of disappointments experienced during this election season.

"I had mixed feelings when the results for this year's elections started streaming in our television screens. It was refreshing to watch the lawmaker and local representative I voted for win with a landslide margin but a gloomy mood set in when my favorite presidential candidates trailed in the polls," said Mullei.

The ardent fan of the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) flag bearer, Raila Odinga has nevertheless reconciled with his failure to clinch the ultimate crown but has pledged to support the policies of President Uhuru Kenyatta who emerged victorious in the hotly contested race.

"Our lives must go on irrespective of who won the presidential ticket and I was encouraged to hear Kenyatta extends an olive branch to his competitors. That is a patriotic gesture and hope opposition leaders will also accept the election results gracefully and agree to move this country to the next level," Mullei said.

He is among millions of Kenyans who by close of the week appeared determined to shake off the post election blues and forge ahead with their normal lives.

Regina Oluchina, a 23-year-old college student and part-time worker in hospitality industry said the electioneering period exerted pressure on her studies and career but was determined to chart a fresh beginning now that new leaders were about to be installed.

Though measured in her political views, Oluchina revealed she adored the tenacity and youthful luster exhibited by Kenyatta but has as well admired the courage and resilience of veteran opposition leader, Odinga.

"I think the two gentlemen have a lot to teach the youth of this country since they have formidable political and business careers. They campaigned vigorously and seem ready to reconcile the country in the aftermath of high octane competition for the top seat in the land," said Oluchina.

She lauded Kenyatta for making a statesman like acceptance speech after being declared the winner and hoped that Odinga too would concede defeat and work with his competitors to develop the country.

"Our level of political maturity went a notch higher this election season. The leading presidential candidates engaged in issues based campaigns and hope it will be the trend in future," Oluchina said.

She is optimistic that civility, respect and maturity will become the defining feature of Kenya's politics.