Let youths not engage in political violence

Kondele youth

A man carries a stone when youths attempted to block Deputy President William Ruto's motorcade from accessing Kondele roundabout in Kisumu County on November 10, 2021.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

This is not the first time nor the second that the country is experiencing chaos that results in violence during political rallies. They have been taking place and almost becoming the norm.

Last Friday, Azimio la Umoja presidential aspirant Raila Odinga’s address to Soy Constituency residents was cut short when rowdy youths stoned the helicopter and vehicles ferrying him and his entourage. He was in Uasin Gishu County for the burial of Mzee Jackson Kibor.

The incident has worried many Kenyans since it posed a threat to multipartyism , freedom of speech and association. It later emerged that some politicians had organised the attack. Police summoned them to record statements even as some suspects were arrested over the issue.

 Politicians should not use youths to disrupt political rallies of their opponents. That is a problem that has been digging deeper into the democratic space of the country for quite some time. A few months ago, a similar incident occurred in Kondele,Kisumu County, where rowdy youths stoned the convoy of Deputy President William Ruto.

Several cases of political violence have been reported and are expected to continue if no decisive action is taken, with just a few months until the general election and several aspirants selling their agenda to the citizens.

Similar incidents were earlier witnessed in Embakasi East, Kenol and Kibera, just to mention a few. So far there’s no sustainable solution to this worrying trend.

Political violence

Political violence is suspected to be undertaken by youths who are being incited by politicians, who bribe them with a little cash so that they can attack their opponent or disrupt their rally. They think that doing so will fetch them enough votes to defeat their electoral opponents.

Friday’s and similar attacks are a dark reminder of what the country went through during the 1992 and 2007-2008 post-election violence, when many Kenyans were killed, lost their property or were displaced.

Violence during the electioneering period is a huge threat to the peace and stability of the country. It’s high time politicians who are using innocent youth to cause violence stopped immediately since the Constitution outlaws violation of human rights.

What has been happening is a perfect lesson that should be learnt by the government to awake from its deep sleep and take action immediately. I urge the police and other security organs to move with speed and ensure that the culprits are charged and, if found guilty, jailed to serve as an example to others

Let every candidate feel free to visit any part of this country and even sell their manifesto there. Supporters of political parties and youths who are being misused by the politicians to cause chaos should know that they will be held individually responsible for their crimes.

Rodgers Otiso, Migori

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