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January 17, 2019

Say no to political assassinations

 

Drawing from the word’s etymology, Wikipedia tells us politics is, among other things, the process of making decisions applying to all members of each group and that more narrowly, the word refers to “achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state.”  

We learn from both observation and political study as Wikipedia reminds us that a variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include “promoting or forcing one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries.”

We also know that politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.

Indeed, even in our own individual families, politics is alive and well to the extent it’s about power and influence; those who have it be it in the family or society at large occasionally wield it responsibly but often irresponsibly, selfishly and recklessly, if not ruthlessly.

So much so such that as between and among politicians, simple disagreement or questioning of one’s conduct becomes lightening rod to vanquish those with whom they disagree or those who question them not just because they disagree or can’t be questioned, but because they see those challenging them as their mortal enemies standing in the way of what they want and that therefore the solution is to eliminate them.

That’s why we have had fist fights in Parliaments, political arrests and the ultimate price for challenging those with power, namely, political assassination.

In our beloved Kenya, we have had a fair share of all of these, especially political assassinations that peaked in the late 70s and early 80s. Kibaki may have left us no legacy one can speak of other than denying Raila even his nusu mkate (half-loaf) but one can say we never really had political assassinations to speak of during his presidency and that’s a testament to his own style of politics and discipline among his inner circle who are often the architects of these political assassinations.

The same cannot be said about the Uhuru administration not even a full five-year term we already have a claim of at least one person having been assassinated and from there we have a few or many more, depending on one’s level of comfort with conspiratorial theories and whisperings.

When a Recce officer publicly lets the world know he’s trigger happy to kill a Member of Parliament or more, one cannot possibly dismiss that as empty threat; rather, combined with the fact no action was taken against this officer, one must and has to conclude resorting to violence to punish those with whom one disagrees is not a thing of the past, but is a vice alive and well decades after we thought it was behind us.

That’s scary and if President Uhuru wishes to be on the right side of history on this subject, he should forthwith have this officer ordered to withdraw his incendiary and wanton display of willingness to resort to violence to silence a person merely because he didn’t like what the person said or did.

Similarly, the president should see to it that his security chiefs do not arbitrarily withdraw security details for politicians simply because those politicians are not towing the Jubilee line or simply because they’re vocal in their opposition to his government; their refusal to tow the Jubilee line or being vocal in their opposition to the Jubilee government is their Constitutionally protected right of which no one can take away, and that includes the president and his security chiefs.

That’s the new Kenya we want, namely, one where people are free to express themselves or associate with whomever they wish without fear of retribution from the state.

That’s second only to our other want and that’s having the will of the people expressed at the polls without fear, intimidation or vote rigging.

We can and must have room for both and Uhuru has a big say in both.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal expert and political commentator in the US

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