Elections 2017

All leaders stand accused of inciting violence

In John chapter 8, we read the story of Jesus being confronted by Pharisees. With them was a woman they accused of having committed adultery. The accusers had a simple, straightforward, but portent question for Jesus; ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. In our law, Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death. Now what do you say’

It was a snare, but Jesus took a moment to reflect on it and came up with a perfect reply to their insistence for an answer. In verse 7, Jesus responded by saying; “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”. Nobody did. Their bloated egos had been punctured by superior intellect.

From Biblical Jerusalem, let’s saunter casually into Kibra, Nairobi. There, we walk into a ‘bedroom’ that has been the amphitheatre of fights as different political parties jostled roughly for the right to lay their tired bodies and hollow heads on the bed. It was an epic fight that produced quite a number of bruises, literally.

At the end of it all, many pugilists were unceremoniously bundled out of the ‘bedroom’ by the victor, and they have been sore since then. Figuratively, the adultery (violence) in Kibra was intense and so, the Pharisees (losers) went out to seek the teacher to sanction the stoning of the adulterer who is ODM.

Deputy President William Ruto and his troupe of loyalists have loudly complained, not to the police, but Twitterati, that ODM has a militia wing that terrorised Jubilee legislators during the Kibra campaigns under the guise of protecting their votes.

The sadists

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This claim is buttressed by demeaning pictures of physician Bonny Khalwale arming himself with stones for self-defence against hoodlums who common sense dictates could not have been Jubilee supporters. Khalwale is currently ‘Jubilee damu’. Amiable Musalia Mudavadi did not escape the attention of the goons either.

Never one to surrender, Baba and his troupe of loyalists took the battle to the Ruto group. Just like Ruto, Baba has his choice of unflattering epithets that only help muddy the waters some more. Then the sadists among them dredged up sad stories we would rather forget in our quest, even though suspect, of building bridges to national unity. In their youthful impetuosity, the boisterous lot went for each other with abandon.

The truth is that neither Jubilee legislators and those who subscribe to their philosophy nor those from ODM and its philosophy have the moral fortitude to point accusing fingers at each other over violence and myriad despicable acts committed against innocent Kenyans. If the challenge Jesus threw at the Pharisees was directed at this belligerent lot, I doubt any would cast a stone. Indeed, because most of them appear to be ideologically challenged, violence is their stock in trade, whether physical or verbal.

Damascus moment

We need not look beyond the post-election violence period of 2007/2008. Then, Raila Odinga and William Ruto were in the same camp, speaking the same language that goaded unthinking masses into taking the law into their hands. The result was 1,300 dead Kenyans whose only crime was being in the wrong place after some leaders willfully balkanised the country in their quest for supremacy.

Over half a million other Kenyans were displaced and today, some of them live in abject poverty as squatters because they are yet to be compensated. Sadly, those for whom they suffered and lost everything they had painstakingly built over years live in affluence.

Both sides, tainted as they are, must stop taking the moral high ground and instead concentrate on introspection. The Damascus moment must happen amongst our national leaders to get this country out of the quagmire they drove it into. And we, the Kenyan citizens, must stand up like drenched puppies and shake off the Stockholm syndrome that has held us in servitude for more than half a century.

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Some of those who have assumed a holier than thou attitude to castigate the Kibra violence have been state guests on many occasions. Charges against them range from exhortation to violence to urging youths in one community to carry machetes for the purpose of performing crude surgical acts on the crotches of others from a different region.

Leaders must renounce violence, not for political exigency; not in the privacy of their highly protected homes; not before compromised clergy, but in public and with utmost sincerity. Let them own to their misdeeds and seek forgiveness. From there we can embark on the path to healing. The culture of violence betrays our emotional and political immaturity while also depicting us as people incapable of rational thought processes.

Mr Chagema is a correspondent for The [email protected]