On 8/8 Kenyans exercised their democratic right to elect their preferred president, governor, senator, women rep, Member of parliament and MCA. By the way, my 2-year-old also had his preferred presidential candidate who was totally different from mine. He kept calling his two names whenever he appeared on the TV screen and even always said the famous ‘Niko ndaaani, ndaani ya….(his preferred candidate’s party). This shows that we cannot escape from politics especially during the campaign period when all the media houses eat, sleep and talk politics.
Back to the election day, there were several sideshows my personal best was activist Boniface Mwangi casting his vote sandwiched between his wife Njeri Mwangi and three children, and Martin Kamotho famously known as Githeri man who was photographed eating githeri out of a paper bag as he waited for his date with the ballot. What carried the day though was ‘babies-for-hire’.
As anticipated, the queues were long at the polling stations and Kenyans being Kenyans, they found creative ways of finding shortcuts just to jump the queue. They resorted to the “rent-a-baby” trick so that they can vote first because officials allowed preferential treatment to parents with babies, pregnant women and persons with disabilities.
Since it was a matter of a willing ‘renter‘ and a willing ‘rentee‘, the same baby was used by several ‘parents’ just to jump the queue. To crack down on queue-jumpers who rent babies in order to exploit a rule letting parents with young children skip long lines, the election officials resorted to inking the tiny fingers of babies who accompany their mothers.
This ‘rent-a-baby scam’ was so pronounced that it did not escape John Kerry’s eyes. The former US Secretary of State said he saw the same baby used several times to jump the queue.
So many questions have been ringing on my mind:
- What if a mother rents her baby for X shillings and the ‘renter’ goes missing with the baby?
- What if the rented baby senses the strange mother and starts wailing uncontrollably?
- Did the ‘renter‘ carry several baby clothes and baby shawls for the baby to break the monotony or even conceal the baby-for-hire trick?
- What if the ‘renter’ was asked to breastfeed the baby as proof that she is the original mother?
- As a ‘renter‘, how did you know that the baby was for hire?
Tough questions that only the ‘renter‘ or the ‘rentee‘ can help bring into perspective.
So were you a ‘renter‘ or a ‘rentee‘ ? please comment below on how you executed the trick.