Don’t let criminal gangs to rear their ugly heads

Organised criminal groups have caused a lot of pain and suffering in the past. Clashes between these gangs composed of lawless youth and security agencies have left deaths, severe injuries and destruction in their wake.

One of the most notorious was Mungiki, which was behind a reign of terror in central Kenya and the Rift Valley that had devastating consequences.

The country cannot afford a return to such mayhem. This is precisely why leaders, irrespective of their political affiliation, must come out and condemn the reemergence of such groups. This is why the claims by top government officials, including Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki about revival of Mungiki should alarm all peace-loving Kenyans.

Clandestine plots are not how to resolve the political differences that have arisen in the country, necessitating the holding of bipartisan talks to avert mayhem. There will always be disagreements between the political leaders, which is not surprising as they bitterly compete in elections to win the people’s mandate.

At the peak of the lawlessness over a decade ago that saw the emergence of Mungiki, Sungusungu and Angola and Musumbiji gangs in western Kenya, lives were lost. The victims included many innocent Kenyans.

The late Internal Affairs minister John Michuki is one man, who is remembered for his no-nonsense crackdown on such gangs, but also blamed in some quarters for the strong-arm tactics that harmed innocents caught in the crossfire.

CS Kindiki has accused politicians, he did not name, of seeking to revive the banned group to destabilise the country and warned that the government will deal ruthlessly with them. Mungiki would kill people to instill fear in various localities and loot property. The gang members were also known to extort money from traders and matatu operators.

However, the top government officials should not use their condemnation of the alleged revival of Mungiki and other criminal groups, as a red herring to justify their targeting of certain individuals over political differences.

If, indeed, there is any substance in the claims that trouble could be brewing again, then the authorities must move quickly to nip the plot in the bud. Kenyans deserve peace and tranquility to freely go about their business.