Back in 2003 we used to reside in Lanet in Nakuru town, life was fine and we were an ordinary family of twelve facing the usual challenges. My Father, a chef by profession, applied for a job at the Highland Hotel in Molo and was hired. After sorting things out and tying up loose ends by around August 2003, we packed up and moved to Molo to live with him.
I went to school there along with my brothers and sisters, made friends and generally built a life around the town. Apart from the land disputes that kept coming up and still do to this day everything was peaceful. People of different tribes lived side by side with common courtesy and friendship. My best friend was John Ngige, a Kikuyu and we used to do everything together and shared the same dreams. He too was an MC and loved rap and dance. We were part of a youth group called Squash it led by Francesca Kisira and also part time Red Cross volunteers.
The years went by and 2007 came along with the campaigns and election fever. During the campaigns the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) promised equitable distribution of resources through devolution. Their opponents the Party of National Unity (PNU) claimed that it meant Majimbo a system in which people would be chased back to the native regions. It was a campaign gimmick since PNU had the same thing in their manifesto but most people took it to be gospel truth. Still, there was no violence and despite the debate people were friendly and enjoyed a good laugh at the end of everything. There was a universal craving for change in the political landscape.
People woke up early to vote on the 27th of December, it was my first time to do so and had to travel to Rhodah in Nakuru town to cast my ballot. I was also a polling agent for a PNU parliamentary candidate in Molo although I was an ODM supporter. The exercise went smoothly and there were no incidences of violence. Things started going south when the tallying was delayed for days. Suspicion ran high when the Molo constituency ODM candidate was declared winner but the media stated that it was only a provisional result and the final tally would come from Nairobi at the Electoral Commission Headquarters.
Tension was high and there were rumors that in the outskirts of town skirmishes had broken out between ODM and PNU supporters, namely the Kalenjin and the Kikuyu tribes and their sympathizers. The first Internally Displaced People (IDPs) started arriving in Molo on the 29th of December, and we, as Red Cross volunteers, were called to action. On the 30th of December Mwai Kibaki, the incumbent and PNU presidential candidate was declared winner under acrimonious circumstances with claims of widespread of rigging and vote fraud rife and loud and was hurriedly sworn in. PNU supporters celebrated for around an hour in and around town and businesses belonging to ODM supporters were looted or destroyed.
That night in the entire country was plunged into a sea of violence. I was worried since Molo is a small town and I had to watch over my siblings since my parents had traveled up country to vote. I am a Luo by tribe and we were known to have been in the ODM camp. A vast majority of Molo IDPs and Molo residents were Kikuyu and PNU stalwarts. In January, ODM friendly tribes were flushed out of their houses and told to leave and since we could not be move to the Molo IDP camp we were transported to Nakuru. We took shelter at my elder sister’s house in Rhodah. Those who didn’t have family in the town were put in the new camp at the Afraha Stadium.
Late January violence flared up in Nakuru, I went to the Nakuru Red Cross branch to offer my help. Somewhere along the way I was accosted by a rag tag band of about twenty youth who asked me about my tribe and almost attacked me but after produced my volunteer kit they let me go. I was dispatched to the Stadium where I worked in the night shift. That was where I met REPACTED members James Karongo, Lawrence Mwai and Rolland Lusioli. Eventually a peace deal was reached and the violence and tension came to an end. REPACTED had a function at Menengai Secondary school about peace and reconciliation and I was invited to perform my song titled Rejesho (restoration). Afterwards I was called to the side by Collins Oduor and Dennis Kimambo and given an envelope which contained a monetary reward for my efforts which surprised and pleased me since I had never been paid for a performance in the past. I then got to know more about REPACTED and eventually got to join as a full time member.