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Political violence must be stopped

By Editorial Team
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021
In summary

Violence scenes witnessed at the burial of Mzee Abel Gongera, the father of Kisii deputy governor Joash Maangi, must be condemned.

That national leaders embarrassed themselves in front of the whole country is abhorrent.

And what makes matters worse is the reason for the fight. South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro had left the podium after making a pitch for his ally, Deputy President  (DP)William Ruto.

It was Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati’s turn to make his remarks when hell broke loose.

Arati’s remarks seem to have irked Osoro and the latter could not tolerate it anymore. He took to the podium and a fight broke out.

While the juvenile act may be regarded as an isolated incident, political violence is steadily creeping back to public engagements and if nothing is done, the country should be prepared for the consequences.

Last week, Kenyans were treated to stone-throwing scenes in Nairobi when ODM leader Raila Odinga toured Githurai area to market the Building Bridges Initiative when his entourage was attacked by youth chanting the wheelbarrow slogan.

And when Ruto delivered his donations of wheelbarrows to Nairobi’s Burma market two days later, the violence was replicated.

Youth who think they should not listen to the DP address his supporters, stormed the rally chanting BBI slogans and violence erupted.

Violent scenes were also witnessed in Msambweni , Kwale county recently during a by-election.

The common thread in all the instances is that tell-tale signs were visible, with leaders said to facilitate young men to disrupt rallies or shout down their opponents.

It’s not a secret that political temperatures are rising rapidly a year-and-a-half to the General Election. The onus is with politicians to put an end to polarising politics.

What will it benefit a politician to lead a fractious or broken country? Ironically, some of the discussions in these rallies is how leaders are going to unite the country and solve its myriad problems. But after the talks the split is much wider.

While some leaders hope to gain from the chaos and thrive on intolerance, we call upon the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Interior  ministry and the police to do their part in ending this worrisome trend.

What was witnessed in Kisii, Githurai, Burma and Msambweni will morph into full-blown intolerance akin to the tension that preceded the 2008 post-election chaos.

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