Police must maintain order during protests

Wednesday, March 29th, 2023 05:40 | By
Police must maintain order during protests

The burning of a church and mosque in Kibra in the aftermath of anti-government protests mobilised by opposition leader Raila Odinga on Monday night was unfortunate and extremely reckless.

It took quick intervention by the city-county government to salvage part of the property as rival gangs disguising themselves as Muslim and Christian faithful engaged each other in running battles until midnight.

Political competitors should be restrained to ensure that their rivalry does not spill over to places of worship.

Save for an incident in 2007 when dozens of people seeking refuge in a church in Eldoret were burned to death by a mob in an explosion of ethnic violence that almost engulfed the country, Kenya has never witnessed religious animosity since her independence.

This is not an incident that any Kenyan who was mature enough in 2007 would like to witness again. Its memories remain traumatising to the survivors as well as the millions of Kenyans who saw the images of the victims on television screens.

The convenors of the latest protests and the police have a responsibility to minimise the menace.

Unfortunately, the opposing camps allied to President William Ruto on one side, and Azimio leader Raila Odinga on the other, are now embroiled in a blame game over the Monday violence and destruction of property.

And as the blame game between the two camps over the violence heightens, the National Police Service (NPS) under the command of Japheth Koome has found itself on a wild goose chase.

On Monday, police were conspicuously missing as goons invaded a farm linked to former President Uhuru Kenyatta, and looted and destroyed property for hours.

As the goons had a field day on the Kenyatta family farm, another set of hooligans was busy torching a church and a mosque in Kibra.

It is disturbing that the police decided to give the two incidents that threaten the stability of the country a blind eye.

It is imperative that both the convenors of the demos, ensure that they are peaceful and devoid of any disruptions to normal business.

Police equally have a duty to ensure that law and order is enforced during the demos and that the rights of non-demonstrators are not trampled upon.  

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