Police should rein in acts of political hooliganism

Protesters in Githurai wash their faces after police lobbed teargas to disperse rioters who tried disrupting ODM leader Raila Odinga's rally, on Wednesday, January 27, 2021. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Goons disrupted a rally addressed by Raila Odinga at Githurai 45, Kiambu County, on Wednesday. On January 13, Raila was heckled at Burma, Nairobi. The following day, goons raided the United Democratic Alliance offices in Embakasi. In October last year, two people were killed at Kenol, Murang’a County, when two political camps clashed ahead of a political rally.

Early this month, youths blocked Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi from attending a planned meeting with Talai elders in Nandi County. There have been several other similar cases, leaving no doubt that we are clearly headed in the wrong direction. This should worry us all. It shows that we have learnt totally nothing from our turbulent past.

For those with a short memory, we would like to remind them that virtually all our general elections have been wracked by violence. The worse case, of course, was the 2007 post-election chaos that left 1,100 people dead and another 650,000 displaced.

At a time when we are seeking a permanent solution to such mindlessness, it’s saddening to see some people busy stoking the embers of anarchy. Blocking some politicians from visiting some areas or even heckling them is barbaric and a sure recipe for chaos. Every politician has a right to visit every corner of this country to sell their agenda.

Unfortunately, the violence is mostly instigated by some politicians. Therefore, even as the police go after wayward youths, they must go for those who bankroll them.

Police and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission must act firmly to ensure the growing culture intolerance does is nipped in the bud. That is best way to ensure we will have peacefull polls come 2022.