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Opinion: Apply the law ruthlessly on those out to cause violence

By Alexander Chagema | Published Wed, April 5th 2017 at 00:00, Updated April 4th 2017 at 21:03 GMT +3
Junet Mohammed's launch of re-election bid in Migori ended abruptly when chaos broke out following the arrival of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.

Migori town is developing a reputation for political intolerance and rowdiness. In September 2014, a political rally in Migori turned chaotic after some youth, no doubt acting at the behest of someone, threw a shoe on the executive dais while President Uhuru Kenyatta was addressing the crowd.

It would have turned out worse had the presidential guards not restrained themselves despite the provocation.

Some Orange Democratic Movement leaders who had accompanied Member of Parliament Junet Mohamed to launch his nomination bid in Migori on Monday this week ran into trouble after some youth attacked them.

This happened after Migori Governor Okoth Obado stormed the meeting, claiming he had not been notified of it taking place.

But while courtesy demands that a certain protocol be followed, there is no law that specifies that other leaders need the express permission of a governor to visit a county in any part of the country. The freedom of movement and association are embedded in the Constitution and cannot be supplanted.

Every care must be taken to ensure political intolerance and the use of terror gangs and jobless youth to intimidate those of a different political persuasion does not take root.

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Competition is healthy; hence those who feel the compulsion to use force to ride roughshod over opponents often turn out to be the weaker ones.

While law enforcers must do everything in their power to guarantee peace during party nominations, the campaign period and all the way to the election date, voters too must play their part by looking critically at those who offer themselves for election.

Voters must get smart and feel disgusted by unscrupulous politicians out to use them to cause violence or at worse, bribe them to influence the outcomes of elections. For at the end of the day when those elected fail to deliver, it is the voter who bears the brunt.