Police must be fair in handling political rows

What you need to know:

  • The freedoms of movement and association are enshrined in the Constitution and must be enjoyed by all.
  • There have been several incidents in which unruly youths disrupted the Deputy President's public rallies.

Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso’s rather arrogant response to complaints of alleged harassment by Deputy President William Ruto’s allies is uncalled for and unjustified. As a senior official, he must not be partisan in the discharge of his duties. Indeed, the DP’s team deserves praise for following the procedure to lodge the claim.

The freedoms of movement and association are enshrined in the Constitution and must be enjoyed by all, irrespective of political affiliation, unless one breaks the law. The aggrieved politicians could have chosen to confront their rivals but, instead, elected to go about it in a civilised manner.

As the August general election approaches, political tension will continue to rise. The police and other government agencies must strive to be even-handed in handling disputes between rivals. They should not rush to dress down individuals or groups seeking justice. They should investigate an incident or allegation before telling off a complainant.

The job of government officials is to fairly arbitrate in conflicts to ensure that justice is done. Anybody found to have transgressed should then be judged on the basis of the wrongs confirmed to have committed. The people should be encouraged to seek arbitration and avoid taking the law into their hands.

Ours is a proven judicial system that is capable of resolving disputes. The officials’ role is to ensure that the rule of law prevails at all times by making judicious decisions.

For their part, the police have dismissed as baseless allegations by the Dr Ruto-allied United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party’s officials that it has failed to stop the violence against its supporters. However, there have been several incidents, including one at Jacaranda, Nairobi, in which unruly youths disrupted the DP’s public rally, chanting his rival’s slogans.

But Mr Shioso has, in a rather hasty reaction, denounced UDA’s protest as “outrageous and provocative” and aimed at tarnishing KPS’s name. It is not enough for the police to declare that they are committed to enforcing the rule of law and upholding the protocols guiding political rallies and other public events.

All must refrain from actions that undermine institutions and offices critical for the unity and security of the nation.

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