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Police forced to lob tear gas canisters to avert an ugly political clash.

One of the photos taken by residents using their cellphones just before the violence erupted, forcing the three police officers to demand for reinforcement from Makongeni Police Station.
Police were on Friday evening forced to lob teargas canisters to break up a violent clash between two opposing political outfits at Madaraka Market Makongeni in Thika Town Constituency.

Violence erupted at around 4pm after a team of Eng. Patrick Wainaina (Wa Jungle) started leveling the road separating the market and Makongeni Phase 4. A group of people emerged from the market chanting the name of area MP Alice Wambui Ng’ang’a, confronted the other group and demanded them to “disappear” as that “was not Wainaina’s zone”. 

The Wainaina group is said to have resisted and insisted that the road was a public infrastructure and they were entitled, as residents too, to answer the cries of the people of Makongeni who had suffered for long over the poor state of the road.

It was at this moment the group from market attempted to violently evict the Wainaina team but were outnumbered and repulsed back into the market.

Eyewitnesses we talked told us that the group from the market blew some whistles to draw the attention of their colleagues who immediately regrouped and charged the Wainaina group again. They are said to have been pelted stones and debris to the other group, forcing them to scamper for safety.

Other people soon joined in the fray in support of either group and hell broke loose.

Police from the nearby Makongeni police station were immediately called in and just in the nick of time, were able to save one of Wainaina’s graders which was about to be torched after its driver ran away for his dear life.

“The bulldozer was intercepted just as it was about to join Garissa road. Its driver had stopped to avoid crashing a police land cruiser and some Nissan matatus which were held up in a traffic snarl-up. They pelted it with stones, forcing him to abandon it and run for his life. One of the demonstrators boarded it and reversed it towards the market’s dumping site where they started shouting ‘Choma! Ichomwe!” said one of the people who witnessed it all happen.

According to this resident, the bulldozer was saved when the police dispersed the crowd with teargas canisters

At least four people were wounded including the bulldozer driver who sustained a bruise on his arm after being hit with a stone. The grader had its windows and windscreen shuttered in the melee.

The residents we spoke to castigated the violence saying that the era of political hooliganism had now been overtaken by events.

“We can never allow such hooliganism to take root here in Thika. Why should one stop an initiative that is beneficial to the public? For your information, it is us who will decide who to vote and who not to vote and such acts will only serve to alienate the electorate from politicians associated with violence,” said Ephantus Nzau who operates a kiosk along Phase 4.

Nzau reminded the electorate that some of those who lost in the Jubilee nominations had initiated projects that now benefit the people but they never went away with them when they lost.

“We saw Morris Mburu build a classroom at Kenyatta Primary School but he lost. The children who are now enjoying that facility are not Mburu’s but our children. Jungle (Wainaina) will not be the one using this road but us. Why then should anyone instigate violence to stop him from repairing it while the people have their ballots to send him home if they do not like him?” asked Nzau.

Peter Muriuki or Wa Josee wished for a time when politicians would be competing to outdo each other in projects devoid of political dramas and name calling. He noted that, eventually, these chaos only harmed the mwanachi with the politicians living pretty in the comfort of their homes.

“If we hurt each other here, who benefits? We all work here and we have known each other for all the time we have been here. Why then should we let politicians divide us and take weapons against each other for their own benefit? We need to mature up. There is life after elections,” said Wa Josee.

He added that it was such nasty political intrigues that has derailed the development of the area as some people just opposed programmes meant to benefit the public just because of their own selfish political gains.

“Why should anyone oppose the repair of a bad road or the erection of security lights? They only do this to safeguard their selfish interests and not those of the residents. If they are cheating themselves that they will win the elections this way, watch this space,” he said.

Thika Town has in the recent times experienced pockets of violence and political intolerance reminiscent to some parts of the country where political opponents do not see eye to eye. This is worrying. As we head for the electioneering period, Thika residents are simply calling for very peaceful campaigns.

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