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Early campaigns risk chaos, stymied development

By Adhere Cavince | October 7th 2020 at 23:55:00 GMT +0300

Youth in Kenol, Murang’a County, engage in a peaceful procession on Tuesday to denounce Sunday’s political violence. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

The tragic deaths of two young men in Murang’a last Sunday are sad reminders of the sorry state of our political landscape.

Emerging details reveal how Christopher Kariuki, 21 and Peter Mbothu, 15, were lured to a political meeting that turned out to be a death trap.

Camouflaged as ceaseless fund drives and prayer meetings, what is happening in Kenya today are early political mobilisation and campaigns. If unchecked, the ensuing developments carry a number of implications for the country.

First, Kenya is still in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore creating activities that bring together many people is a huge risk factor. In many of the political gatherings, folks show up without face masks and do not observe social distancing protocols. The trend is not good, especially considering that the virus cases have been in the increase.

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Secondly the intensifying political rhetoric is pitting one arm of the government led by Deputy President Dr William Ruto against the other under the control of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Ruto has opted to racket his political fortunes instead of joining the President in service delivery to the people. The resulting atmosphere of suspicion, victimisation and perceived dereliction of duty risks scuttling provision of essential services even as Kenya looks to climb out of the global pandemic hole.

Thirdly, it is increasingly clear that the campaigns are unnecessarily heightening tension not just among politicians but also within the files and ranks of their supporters across the country.

The kind of brawl and chaotic scenes witnessed in Murang’a is emblematic of what Kenya has gone through with every electioneering period. That lives have to be lost because a section of government is on the road really defeats the purpose why a government exists.

Politicians who are keen to leverage violence, hate and other forms of discrimination against a section of the population have led this country into very tragic ends. While the chaos we are witnessing are disturbing reminders of where we should not be, they risk creating a precedent that could define the next elections, just like we have seen in the past.

For a start, the Deputy President should mask his campaigns until the appropriate time. Nobody should deny Ruto the opportunity to seek leadership, at whatever level. That is his constitutional right. However, his focus now should be service delivery in the interest of Kenyans who elected him.

As part of government, the Deputy President should be at least promoting the ideas and policies that hinges the existence of the ruling Jubilee Party. If at all he has run out of steam, the honourable thing is to get out of government and chalk on path to greatness.  

Secondly, young people in this country should see politicians for what they are: folks with nefarious and highly personalised agendas that in most cases, do not mirror the interest of the youth. In most cases, politicians bank on the energy, creativity and impressionability of the youth to get their way.

The grieving Murang’a families now only hold on to memories of otherwise promising lives snuffed off by flames of politics.

Instead of death, Kenya’s youth deserve security, skills upgrading and opportunities for economic advancement. No life should be lost because of politics.

Finally, the law enforcement agencies and other institutions tasked with ensuring order and political decency in the country should proactively curtail attempts to create politically charged environments that run counter to the development, unity and cohesion of the country.

-The writer comments on politics and governance @Cavinceworld 


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