Since 1902

Raila, Ruto camps must show political maturity

January 1st 1970

ODM leader Raila Odinga with Deputy President William Ruto during a past event at Litein High School, 2014. [DPPS]

Calls to leaders to desist from making inflammatory statements and sowing seeds of discord usually fall on deaf ears. Political meetings which, in any case, contravene a presidential directive banning rallies as a means of controlling Covid-19, have become breeding grounds for hate speech and intolerance.

On Sunday, a rally called by Deputy President William Ruto at the Jacaranda Gardens in Nairobi turned chaotic after a group of people interrupted it with Azimio la Umoja slogans while another group responded with UDA slogans. 

There are those, like Ruto, who blame Embakasi Member of Parliament Babu Owino and ODM leader Raila Odinga for the fracas. The ODM side, on the other hand, was quick to accuse the deputy president of instigating the chaos for ulterior motives.

While it is yet to be established if any of the two political camps is telling the truth, one thing is clear; their allegations are most unfortunate. Each side is clearly trying to gain political capital from the sad incident. Which is tragic because allegations such as those peddled by the political opponents have the potential of creating bad blood among their supporters and even causing bloodshed. 

Rather than make unfounded claims, each side should have reported what they knew to the police so that they could carry out investigations to unearth the truth. Pointing fingers at each other at this time when the mercury in the political thermometer has climbed sharply is most irresponsible.

Raila and Ruto have been touted as the two horses in the August election. It is therefore important that they and their allies show political maturity and lead by example through their words and deeds. Political candidates and their teams must refrain from making statements that can divide Kenyans.

If another unfortunate incident as that in Jacaranda happens, leaders should hold their horses and invite police to carry out investigations instead of stirring up the hornet's nest with unfounded statements.

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