Lameck Aguta is still a local hero, more than twenty years after taking a gold medal in the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver. For the elections in his home country of Kenya he is a ‘peace observer’ in his home region of Kajiado which lies to the south of the capital Nairobi. At the recent testing of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System, which will be crucial for voting and transmitting results next Tuesday, he sat with other observers from National NGOs, Civil Society and International bodies including the Commonwealth.
A marathon runner he knows also, from his own experience, the violence that can so easily disfigure lives in Kenya. Three months after winning the Boston marathon in 1997 he was clubbed during a robbery after a car accident and was in a coma for months and nearly died. Now the Athlete Manager for a national organisation, Global Veterans and Lamosport, he remembers the violence that erupted after elections in 2007 in which more than a thousand people are reported to have died.
Kenyans will not repeat that, he said. ‘It was a big lesson. ‘This election is tight, but we are preaching peace.
Every election comes and goes,’ he added, ‘but on the next day we will still have to live together.’