Wilson Aminda: Why Raila Odinga's election battle is mine

Friday October 13 2017

Wilson Aminda.

Mr Wilson Aminda and other Nasa supporters protest on the Kisumu-Kakamega road in Kondele, Kisumu County, on October 2, 2017. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By RUSHDIE OUDIA
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In every National Super Alliance (Nasa) protest in Kisumu County, a burly man, often photographed shirtless, is seen commanding a crowd of demonstrators.

The faithful Nasa protester, known for his antics and fearlessness, was first photographed by the Nation in protests in 2013 after the presidential election.

PROTESTS

Despite the possibility of the protests turning violent, Mr Wilson Aminda, 22, has been participating in all Nasa demonstrations.

On Monday, just as he has been spotted three weeks in succession, he marched at the front, ensuring no protester walks too fast or too slow.

Nasa has increased protests to three days a week – every Monday, Wednesday and Friday – until its demands are met.

Mr Aminda married in 2014 and has a four-month-old daughter. He sat his KCSE exam in 2012 and attained a grade of C+ (plus).

He blames his joblessness on “poor governance over the years.”

REFORMS

During calm days, Mr Aminda does odd jobs, including refereeing matches at the Moi Stadium. He is also the founder and team manager of Manyatta United that is funded by donors.

Mr Aminda said he takes part in demonstrations because he wants reforms in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and in Kenya as a whole.

“Kenyans cannot suffer because of one person or a few individuals. This country is bigger than [IEBC chief executive Ezra] Chiloba and President Uhuru Kenyatta. Chiloba’s exit will pave way for a free and fair election,” he said.

The protestor said he goes to the streets because he is angry about the high rate of unemployment, poverty and runaway corruption. This is why he is pushing for change.

He seems not to be moved by the risk he exposes himself to, bearing in mind the casualties and victims of election violence and post-poll protests in the region.

DEATHS

According to a report released on Monday by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, at least three deaths have been reported during the post-election chaos from August 9, including six-month-old baby Samantha Pendo.

“Many people, including friends and relatives, on many occasions call me to warn me against participating in demonstrations but I defy their calls because I am doing it for a good course. We must change this country,” said Mr Aminda.

It has been risky. He said he once cheated death in protests held mid-last year to demand the exit of former IEBC commissioners and chairman Issack Hassan.  But Mr Aminda’s cousin was not as lucky – he was shot dead that day in Kondele.

His cousin is survived by a six-year-old son who has been adopted by Kaloleni/Shaurimoyo ward representative Prisca Misachi.

Mr Aminda said he and his cousin were headed for the protest, but he changed his mind fearing that it would be violent.

WORRIED

“I tried to convince my cousin not to go, but he did not listen to me, only to find out later that he had been shot dead. This has affected me to date and at the same time given me the impetus to fight for reforms so that his death does not go in vain,” he said.

Mr Aminda said his wife Eunice Ajwang, 20, warns him against protesting.

“My wife tells me to attend demos at my own peril. She tells me that when I die, she will enjoy compensation money. I even wonder where that money will come from,” said Mr Aminda.

Ms Ajwang said whenever her husband attends the demonstrations, she is always sick with worry and fears she might not see him alive again.

She calls her husband during demonstrations to check up on him, but Mr Aminda makes her more worried and gloomy when he paints a picture of the violent protests.

HARD WORK

“I try to convince him to keep off the protests but my advice falls on deaf ears. He says he does this so that his young daughter may enjoy the fruits of his hard work, including free education and healthcare,” said Ms Ajwang.

She also questioned where Mr Aminda takes his clothes as he always leaves home fully dressed but appears on television half naked.

But Mr Aminda said: “When I strip, it gets the attention of Chiloba. I cannot address him in my official clothes.”

He plans to contest for an elective seat in 2022 despite being poor.

“I am an able leader who has been in the campaign secretariat of various politicians, including Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o. Here in Manyatta, I am well-known as a capable leader,” said Mr Aminda.