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Is It Worth It? An Election Story By Agbemor-Flint Honour Kwame

Monday, November 7, 2016

By Agbemor-Flint Honour Kwame

57, 58, 59, 60, 61.....the count just started but the whole place is heating up. All of a sudden the R.C middle school JHS corridor is packing up with voters who had returned to witness the count of their votes.
Little Jonny who is sitting at the front of the crowd, not really sure what was happening, was just watching and enjoying the count. He was the only one sitting outside the line that separated the people
from the counters and the only police man.
201, 202, 203, 204.... he joined the rest as they counted in chorus. Soon, Jonny began missing the count. His level of education and the count wasn't tallying. 523, 524, 525 was not for a primary 2 child. But Johnny kept his cool in front of the crowd where he sat and didn't dare to get up and struggle through the crowd back home. His best option was to wait till the crowd dispersed.
Time was passing and the count was in the 1000's now. Jonny was not sure why the count was never ending.
Earlier in the day, he saw a long queue that ended only in the evening. He knew something important was happening that day in the village because everybody stopped whatever they had to do that day to queue. He had an idea and he was curious to see what happens at the end.
There was a moment of shouting among the crowd briefly and it woke Jonny up from his doze. He thought it was all over but then the count started all over again and the crowd got thicker. He attempted to move through the crowd but that wasn't possible. Jonny started getting scared because he knew his father will be looking for him. He was also hungry and sleepy. Jonny gave up and returned to where he sat on the ground hoping the second count will end and the crowd will disperse.
One thing that kept Jonny comfortable was that, his Class teacher was one of the people counting the pieces of papers on the table just in front of him. Miss Lucy is a good teacher to Jonny. She visits him at home once a while to help him with his homework and interact with his family. Jonny has a fondness for Miss Lucy.
537, 538 and again Jonny lost count and started dozing off.
No no no no, we won't agree.... we won't agree. Count again otherwise we won't go on. No no no no... Jonny was woken up by these shouts. There was confusion at the school park. People were struggling with each other and shouting at the top of their voices. The policeman around is trying to calm nerves down but it was an exercise in failure. Jonny heard the police man talking on a device asking for support. He was again not sure what was happening but at this point, it was obvious he will get hurt if he doesn't get up from the ground he was sitting on. Jonny managed to crawl under the table where the counting was being done. He could see the female shoes from Miss Lucy from where he was hiding.
At this point, Jonny knew there was trouble at the school park. From his hide out he could see men and women fighting and throwing objects at each other. The lone policeman tried so hard to prevent the fight from reaching the table where the papers were being counted; the same table that served as solace to little Jonny. He fired gunshots in the air on two occasions and this terrified Jonny. Tears began flowing down his cheeks whiles shivering intensely, clinching to one leg of the table. He thought of holding tight to Miss Lucy's legs but they were not there; in fact no leg was there to hold on to.
Then came hope. Jonny heard from afar the sound of a police siren. The sound of the siren drew closer and sounded louder until he could see splashes of red blue and yellow lights all over. Everybody started running in every direction. The police chased them equally and managed to "catch" some of them. Still from his hideout Jonny could see every action. He covered his ears with his hands, closed his eyes and tried to remember the calmness this whole exercise started with; the count, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... that's all he came here to see.
After a long while, Little Jonny managed to open his eyes and realized the fight had ended and only a few people were on the field. Slowly, he came out from his hideout. He stood a while and stared at the mess that has been caused within just a few moments. He could hear sobbing and pockets of whispers. A few people gathered in groups discussing what could possibly be the outcome of the events of the evening.
Slowly, he started his walk back home. With tears still running down his cheeks, he struggled through the broken chairs and tables scattered everywhere. The roof of some houses near by were on fire. A lot of people were hurt and just sitting waiting for help. The presence of the police has doubled but nobody seems to notice little Jonny's journey back home.
He thought to himself, what just happened? Is it worth the peace we had since morning? What could cause the villagers to fight among themselves without any provocation? He can't get answers to any of these questions. For now, Jonny just want to get home to see if his family was safe.
He looked back one more time when he was about taking the path from the field to his house and all he wished he could remember from the day was the count, 23, 24, 25, 26 and how funny it got when he struggled to catch up when it got to 578, 579, 580...

He walked the rest of the journey home with dried cheeks and shivering feet. This is madness, he told himself.

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