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Campaign Against Political Violence And Hooliganism In Thika Take Centre Stage On Social Media.

Thika MP Alice Ng'ang'a and JungleNut Ltd. C.E.O. Patrick Wainaina whose supporters were recently involved in political violence.
For the last few days, social media platforms have been abuzz with Thika residents condemning political hooliganism and the very unfortunate violent incident between supporters of MP Alice Ng’ang’a and those of an aspiring candidate, Patrick Wainaina that happened last Friday during a funds drive organised to assist Jua Kali-Engen fire victims.

Majority of those opposed to this uncouth behaviour argued that the era of political antagonism was long gone and it was so primitive for a small group of people to take residents to the dark ages of political intimidation and violence.

“There is no justification for the aggression and the verbal outbursts that followed this incident. Everyone has the right to support their candidate of choice without being coerced or forced. It is not possible for any of these candidates to be loved by all the people and they should therefore accept that reality,” said Joe Mungai, the Thika KNUT Executive Secretary in his post.

He added that there was need for Thika people to campaign peacefully as there was life after politics.

“People should start to appreciate that each one of them has the right to vote for their candidates of choice without having to physically attack each other. We should learn to differ on ideology and policies and understand that each person’s view is worth. Let’s learn to accommodate different viewpoints without necessarily hurling insults or fighting each other since this all what democracy is all about,” he added.

Cess Blessing on her part said that the spectacle of a posse of goons and hooligans hauling and hurling kicks and blows at each other just reminded her of the worst vestiges of the 2007-8 post elections violence, sending chills down her spine. She said that although this was just a minor incident, signs were all over that if nothing was done, the electioneering period in the constituency may end being a bloody affair.

“Those who attack others thinking that by doing so they are expressing their support for their candidates are sadly deluded. Their outrageous behaviour is simply bringing their candidates into disrepute albeit by association,” said Cess.

John Muturi said, “The government ought to take a very stern action against these perpetrators of violence especially those captured on camera attacking their opponents. They need to face the full wrath of the law to act as a powerful deterrent to any would be copycat hooligans. We cannot sit back and watch as a few misguided hooligans tarnish the image of our town. People should learn to be tolerant to others with divergent views.”

The residents also called for an intensive audit of the political leaders to ascertain their involvement in such violence.

One reader said, “NCIC should come in and investigate the behaviour and trends of some of our leaders. Any leader who compliantly applaud violence should be arrested and IEBC cancel their candidature. The way things are heading now is really frightening and alarming and if not checked, we are in for a rude shock.”

The general argument here surrounded the fact that all candidates and residents were free to breathe, walk, talk and live the spirit of the constitution which legitimises the reality of divergence of opinion and choice irrespective of their background or association.

In a functioning democracy, vigorously but fairly conducted campaigns provide a powerful way of defusing a people’s internal arguments. However loudly they denounce one another, rival politicians at a certain level should work together to uphold a political system on whose rules they all agree. But in places where political rifts run deep, elections can have the opposite effect, stoking internal tensions to the point where violence explodes.

Leaders should play a constructive role to help keep elections and electioneering periods peaceful. Political leaders should at all times preach peace and instill a spirit of tolerance in their members ahead of next year’s general elections. They have personal obligation to denounce political violence as it has potential to degenerate into chaos if not stopped.

“Violence has far reaching consequences and one of them is that it retards development. We want our politicians to preach peace and love during their campaigns rather than attacking each other. We want issue-based politics,” said Juma Okoth, a resident of Makongeni Phase IV.

The church should move away from its comfort zone and play that outstanding role of calling for calm and denouncing politicians, who in their view, incite tension for their own ends. It may be hard to understand quite how pivotal the role of faith leaders can be in tilting a situation towards or away from violence but one common theme of religious preaching is that people will answer to a higher power for the consequences, direct and indirect, of their words and deeds. That surely applies to religious leaders themselves as much as to their flock. 

As for the people, they should as a matter of sense, learn to vote for competent candidates rather than on sycophantic support. There is great need for the authorities and the civil society to foster civic education that empowers the voters to make an informed choices.

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