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10 major things that defined the ‘jinxed’ month of August

The month of August has finally come to an end and with it goes some major events that defined what many Kenyans consider a ‘jinxed’ month.

From the general elections and its aftermath, sports to new words which had people Googling their meanings, here are the 10 major ones.

1. Panic shopping – On the weekend preceding election day, Kenyans were compelled to stockpile their household supplies to avoid a likely scenario of running short of foodstuff and other necessities on the polling day. This left many major supermarkets with empty shelves as people shopped for what they thought they needed.

2. ‘Exodus’ from Nairobi – There was an upsurge in the number of passengers travelling upcountry days before the general election. But it came a cost – inflated fares and shortage of upcountry PSV.

3. Election Day – And when election day finally came on August 8, Kenyans stood in long ques for hours to elect their new leaders.

4. Long wait for results – With the actual voting process done with, Nairobi was reduced to a ghost city as the long wait began for the announcement of the presidential results. For the remainder of the week, those who ventured into the CBD were greeted by rows and rows of metallic shutters, as traders chose to keep their premises shut.

5. Post-election skirmishes – The eventual declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the presidential election unfortunately came at a cost for some innocent souls, particularly two little children who were allegedly killed by the police during violent skirmishes that erupted thereafter.

Six-month-old infant Samantha Pendo died after she slipped into a coma from injuries inflicted on her by police officers at their home in Nyalenda slum, Kisumu County. The same grief was shared by the family of Stephanie Moraa, 9, who was shot while playing with her friends in Mathare slums.

6. IAAF World Championships – With the nation gripped in a perpetual election fever, the global athletics event in London served as a welcome distraction for many Kenyans. Team Kenya finished second behind the USA with a total of 11 medals (5 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze), although this was a drop in performance by Team Kenya, which topped the medal standings at the previous championships two years ago in Beijing, China.

7. ‘Vifaranga vya computer’ – A new phrase was introduced to the Kenyan political vocabulary by Nasa leader Raila Odinga while announcing that the opposition outfit would challenge the presidential results. Mr Odinga termed President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto as “vifaranga vya kompuyuta, waliochaguliwa na kompyuta.

8. Supreme Court petition – And with their rejection of the presidential elections results, Mr Odinga challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election victory at the Supreme Court. Mr Odinga has claimed that the election was rigged in favour of the incumbent, Kenyatta, who won a second term with 54 percent of the vote.

9. Mayweather vs McGregor – Widely hyped as the ‘Money Fight”, the professional boxing bout between the undefeated five division world Ccampion Floyd Mayweather and two-time mixed martial arts (MMA) world champion Conor McGregor also took center stage towards the end of the month. Mayweather went on to extend his perfect record in the ring to 50 victories with a technical knockout (TKO) victory over McGregor in the 10th round of the fight that was held on August 27 in Nevada, US.

10. Ban on plastic bags – Then came the world’s toughest laws of reducing plastic pollution after Kenya imposed a ban on the commodity. The ban applies to the use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags. Those found breaking the law will risk a four-year jail term or fines of up to Sh4million. Law-abiding Kenyans have since been forced to embrace alternatives overnight after the ban took effect.