The political skirmishes witnessed in Kenol, Murang’a County, yesterday which left two people dead were unfortunate but not unexpected. Since trouble started brewing in the once tranquil ruling Jubilee Party which caused a chasm that gave birth to the so-called Tangatanga and Kieleweke camps, the county has never been at ease.
In September 2019, a church service in Kiharu Constituency was disrupted in a shameful confrontation between the area MP Ndindi Nyoro, a Tangatanga member, and Maina Kamanda of Kieleweke. Still, last year, Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege was reduced to tears after she was heckled by a crowd at a public meeting. Last month, Mr Nyoro was booed after he rose to address mourners at a funeral service at Nyakahura still in Murang’a County.
Yesterday’s chaos broke out ahead of Deputy President William Ruto’s visit to African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa Kenol Church where he was to attend a fundraiser. In a country where political violence has led to thousands of deaths, displacement of populations and widespread destruction of property, the current goings-on should worry all of us.
With the 2022 General Election drawing closer, the government, and everyone who values peace, must send a clear message that such mindlessness has no place in Kenya.
What is most disconcerting is that politicians have been accused of being behind sporadic outbreaks of violence in the county. While it is every politician’s, and indeed Kenyan’s, right to belong to political groups of their choice, including Kieleweke and Tangatanga, and to hold and air divergent views on national issues, including on who should be our next president, no one has the right to incite violence and shed blood. That is criminal.
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Therefore, if it is indeed true that the troublemakers were ferried in buses from Kiambu County to cause trouble in Kenol, those behind the plot must be apprehended. They must have their day in court. It is only when police take firm action against such rabble-rousers that sanity will be restored. This is the only way to forestall further trouble.
Unfortunately, police do not always arrest those behind such criminal acts. For instance, four months after hungry residents of Kiambu were fed on poisoned food allegedly by politicians, no one has been arrested. Such inaction makes some politicians wrongly believe that they are above the law; that they can walk away with murder.
Finally, politicians should have a modicum of respect for those who elect them. Inciting poor Kenyans into violence by paying them peanuts is an insult of the highest order.