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Elected Leaders, Aspirants Summoned By Thika DCC Over Violent Confrontations.

Thika West DCC addressing a press briefing at his offices. Accompanying him are members of his security team who include Thika OCPD Erastus Muthamia (in glasses).
All political leaders from Thika West Sub-County have been summoned to a security meeting in connection with the Sunday violence that has claimed 2 lives and several people mugged and attacked by violent youth.

Thika West DCC Tom Anjere said that he had personally invited all elected leaders and aspirants for all the various elective post for a meeting on Monday the 14th of November to deliberate on how best they would administer their campaigns in an environment of peace.

“As the district security team, we have summoned all those candidates who intend to vie for any of the elective positions for a security meeting on Monday next week. We want to discuss how they are expected to conduct their campaigns when that time come as you quite well know, official campaign time has not yet been announced. But our greatest intent is to ensure that peace prevails at all time,” said Anjere.

He warned that his office would not entertain any candidate who conducted their campaigns after the stipulated hours nor any one of them who used hired goons to cause chaos or disrupt their opponents’ political gatherings.

He assured that investigations to unearth what caused the death of John Njuguna Mwangi, a teacher at Thika Barracks Primary School, were underway and they would ensure that those responsible were brought to book. Otherwise, he decline to confirm or deny that the violence that erupted on Sunday evening were politically instigated, saying that the police were digging up leads to unwrap who the real perpetrators were and what their motives was.

Last Sunday, two people are suspected to have died after goons started mugging residents who were heading home from a live concert organised at the Thika Stadium to launch a musical album by Muigai Wa Njoroge. Several political bigwigs who included Governors William Kabogo (Kiambu) and Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang’a) were in attendance.

Last month, there were several incidents of supporters of rival parliamentary aspirants clashing. The mood in Thika Town Constituency has been tense ever since the launch of Jubilee Party in September where goons have been seen disrupting meetings and functions organised by those who were seen to be from a different political inclination. Social media platforms have also been very volatile with opposing sides hurling insults at each other and threatening their opponents of dire consequences for opposing their preferred candidates.

This situation if not checked will erupt into full blown violence when the campaigns will be officially announced. The authorities must be alert so as to anticipate election-related violence well in advance and employ conflict prevention programmes put to mitigate any violent occurrence and stem its escalation.

The DCC and his security team ought to trigger some dialogue amongst electoral stakeholders in order to create an agreement on the rules of the game and also the build-up the commitment and relationships. He should set up community forums, teach-ins and panels, to educate the public, as well as encourage them to air out differing opinions and to force politicians to go on the record with their beliefs.

Violence triggered by the rivalry between the contestants can be controlled by ensuring that all candidates adhered to the political parties’ code of conduct with strong sanctions penalising electoral violence. There is also need to have an intensive voter/civic education programmes concerned with election campaigns and polling, and also special programmes/activities aimed at preparing candidates for election loss.

Members of the community policing, Nyumba Kumi leaders and the citizens themselves have a great role to play in preventing any form of violence and should have a more prominent role in strategies and programmes aimed at the prevention of electoral violence.

Lastly, the security team should make it the norm to work with the media through regular press releases and support independent media that is willing to provide critical information and alternative viewpoints not as easily available in big mainstream outlets.

Otherwise, as the residents of Thika Town Constituency and Kiambu County as a whole, we say no to political violence and hooliganism.

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