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Law enforcement agencies must aggressively go after inciters

By Fred Waga | Oct 20th 2017 | 2 min read

Kenya is facing one of the toughest political times in recent years, and divisive messages only exacerbate the threat to our nationhood.

It is therefore unfortunate that with just four days to the repeat presidential election -- which is being boycotted by the Opposition -- divisive messages continue to emanate from leaders on whose shoulders the burden of holding the country together rests.

Whereas most of these comments are made in public, it is instructive that majority of the offending suspects get away with a slap on the wrist, a combination of knowing people in high places, lethargic enforcement agencies and a horrible culture pervasive in government of lack of accountability.

This week, we are particularly disturbed by reports attributed to acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i. Whereas his utterances at a public rally in Nyamira is open to interpretation, it is disturbing when he is quoted as encouraging ‘Chinkororo’, a militia group, to take matters in their own hands in the event that anyone attempts to block local people from exercising their right to vote. As the custodian of the law, the minister must not only enforce the law but also be seen to be doing so.

Secondly, we condemn acts of violence against officers of the IEBC whose training sessions have been disrupted by criminal elements with political leaders in their midst. Investigative agencies cannot afford to let such actions go unpunished as non-deterrence will only encourage others to seek violent options to resolve conflicts.

And so it is within their mandate to go after Kisumu Senator Fred Outa and Ms Ruth Odinga, a former deputy governor of the county, if they have the evidence that they breached the law.

We insist that more politicians must be held to account for incitement. But demanding that the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) takes stern action against wayward leaders would be asking too much for a State agency that has paid lip service to seeking justice for the aggrieved.

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