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A country perpetually locked in protest

STUDIES
By | May 25th 2009

Last year, New Year dawned on a Kenya in a fashion reminiscent of the Wild West — rampant lawlessness, riots, teargas, gunshots and an all-pervading stench of death.

In the following months, all it took was a rumour, a political statement, a murder and citizens and law enforcement officials would spill out onto the streets for another orgy of violence and death.

When calm returned towards the end of the year, prison warders practically held the whole country to ransom. Schoolboys followed, firing their own violent riots that saw property worth millions damaged.

This year has been no different, beginning in a cloud of teargas for activists hell-bent on a holding a prayer meeting for Mungiki adherents allegedly gunned down in cold blood by the police.

Unknown assailants

The same chaps were soon killed, assassinated if you like, by unknown assailants near the University of Nairobi. Yelling comrade power, University of Nairobi students fought it out with police, detained a corpse and kicked up a riot that saw one of their own killed by a stray bullet.

In between, IDPs were demonstrating all over the place and watchmen, teachers and university lecturers were threatening to go on strike. Then Kenyatta University students stepped up the ante. First, they held a peaceful protest before they intellectually stoned, smashed and torched everything within vicinity.

Casual workers

Not to be left behind, women boycotted sex, almost at the same time that casual workers were throwing stones at the minister for Labour. Meanwhile, Raila was protesting; Kibera residents were uprooting the railway over Migingo and Martha Karua, Aaron Ringera and Amos Wako were protesting over this or that. In fact everyone, including the media, had a grouse of sorts and they were protesting to the high heavens.

And now mechanics have declared total war on Kirinyaga Road. Kenyans will recall television footage of the middle-aged man who was practically tear gassed out of his car, the passerby who was clobbered senseless by police and the police lorry that was burnt to a cinder by irate protestors.

Meanwhile, ODM is protesting that PNU have no right to pretend that they are reformers because they are not.

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