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What Koffi Olomide's deportation says about Kenyans

COMMENTARY
By Yvonne Okwara | July 25th 2016

This is my take on an incident that has sparked outrage in the country. Musician Koffi Olomide caught on camera kicking one of his dancers, his subsequent arrest and deportation!

The reactions to this episode have been varied. Some have said that Koffi was merely defending his wife's honour. Yet others say that the act of violence against a woman was unacceptable. Some of us have been ambivalent wondering what the fuss was all about. After all is he not one of the greatest musicians of our time?

Here's the thing: Violence is wrong. Period. Men beating men, men beating women, women beating men or even women beating women. Violence is wrong. It is illegal. Criminal.

One would imagine that is the reason why the police got involved in the end. I say in the end because at many levels, their action appeared to be a complete afterthought. The musician was arrested after 9 pm, some 10 or so hours after the incident happened at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Never mind that there were police officers right next to him as he launched the morning attack. To their credit, the police woke up, in the end.

Koffi Olomide is already back in Kinshasa, having been deported on Saturday. The conversation that followed his deportation is perhaps the clearest pointer about what is wrong with our criminal justice system. In a society where the law is followed without fear or favour, that action would have passed as just another day in the life of law enforcement officers. The fact that citizens are now debating whether police acted in good faith is telling indeed. Who would blame a section of Kenyans for questioning the action by police, when high profile figures routinely engage in unlawful acts without any noticeable punishment being meted on them?


Has impunity become so entrenched in Kenya that we now get surprised when wrongdoing is punished? Koffi Olomide broke the law, he was punished for it.

Going forward all of us can only hope that the same formula will be used to punish the hate mongers, those who steal our money, those who abuse our children, those who beat journalists while on duty, those who rig elections and yes, those who slap others.

That is my take - @YvonneOkwara

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