Supremacy battles between three candidates eyeing the Thika parliamentary seat overshadowed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to the area on Wednesday.
Uhuru was at the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturing plant in Thika to preside over the launch of the Volkswagen vehicle assembly line.
Outside the gates of the plant, police had a hard time trying to contain supporters of incumbent MP Alice Ng’ang’a and her two competitors in 2017, Patrick Wainaina and Maurice Mburu, who almost exchanged blows.
Ms Ng’ang’a’s supporters carried two banners bearing pictures of herself and the President while supporters of Mr Wainaina and Mr Mburu bore placards bearing messages in support of the President and his Jubilee Party but castigating the MP.
At one time, area chiefs and their assistants were called from the President’s event inside the vehicle plant to calm down the rivals, who were close to turning rowdy.
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Police dispersed the crowd when a group from Wainaina’s and Mburu’s camp attempted to grab one of Ng’ang’a’s banners.
A police officer who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media said there were all indications that the county would witness violence in the run-up to the forthcoming elections.
“Something no doubt needs to be done to avert such happenings again.The three leaders’ supporters recently clashed at Jua Kali. Today, we have witnessed a similar scenario during the President’s visit,” he said.
Recently, Thika West Deputy County Commissioner Tom Anjere convened a security meeting comprising the MP, sitting members of county assembly and aspirants. He read them the riot act for reported cases of violent confrontations between their supporters.
The administrator warned that leaders and their supporters who were found culpable of fanning violence and breaking the electoral code of ethics risked being jailed.
Ng’ang’a was recently appointed to head the Kiambu County presidential campaigns and is said to be facing stiff competition from Wainaina and Mburu, both renowned businessmen.