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POLITICAL KILLINGS

Is history of assassinations repeating itself or Ruto is crying Wolf?

In Summary

• When Tom Mboya told Parliament that his bodyguard had tried to kill him and there was a threat of assassination against his life, he was finally killed.

Deputy President William Ruto.
Deputy President William Ruto.
Image: FILE

Reports are awash that some state officers having been meeting to plot the assassination of Deputy President William Ruto.

Should we take these reports seriously or dismiss them as cries of attention-hungry boy who cried wolf but ended up being killed by the wolf when villagers would no longer respond to his distress calls?

Opinion in the country is divided right down the middle whether the Deputy President should be believed or not on this matter.

Given our history of political assassinations since we became independent, whatever I think of Ruto politically, and given my democratic beliefs that everybody has a right to life and all other rights, we should take the threat against his life most seriously: Not just to protect him but myself and everybody else against assassinations. As Martin Luther King Jr.said, violation of justice anywhere is violation of justice everywhere.

Though many people dismiss this threat as hyperbole and an empty threat to attract publicity and sympathy, our history advises us to take threats of assassination most seriously.

When Tom Mboya told Parliament that his bodyguard had tried to kill him and there was a threat of assassination against his life, he was finally killed. The government did not offer him adequate security even after he raised the matter. The assassination of Mboya subsequently split and nearly tore the country asunder.

Thereafter, when JM Kariuki, the most popular politician of his time, was shot at and police indicated they could hardly protect him because they had themselves been shot at. He ended up being assassinated by persons who were associated with the state, killing the person who would have become president and people’s champion in government. J.M was killed despite asking government to protect him and many people claiming he was crying wolf when he protested there were people who wanted to kill him.

Bishop Alexander Muge was also assassinated in a road accident despite warnings by Okondo a government minister that if he dared go to Busia, he would be assassinated before he got home and he was.

Martin Luther King Jr. would himself prophesy his own death before he was assassinated.

Ultimately government minister Robert Ouko was murdered when he warned that Kenya had become a state where people were eliminating one another as if in a jungle.

 

If outcries of danger have become precursors of assassinations, why should the country and government not take seriously cries that people were plotting to assassinate someone.

However much we may hate someone politically, since we claim to be a democracy where no one should be assassinated for expressing their rights, beliefs, thoughts and ambitions however unpalatable, no one should ever be harmed for expressing their rights and beliefs. In the democracy we claim to be, no one should be killed, detained or threatened merely because they seek top leadership of the land. This is where we were during the one party dictatorship and where we must never be in a multiparty democracy or it is sham.  

And though some people believe those who do not completely obey their bosses should be punished or fired, the worst punishment such persons should suffer is loss of their lives. Indeed, when such persons are also part of government, such state should be dissolved, elections called and a fresh government with internal cohesion formed. The solution to political disobedience must never be physical elimination of someone.

In a democracy, no one should play games of brinksmanship by crying wolf of assassination if such threat does not exist. Should someone play such a game, they should immediately lose their jobs.

Without saying any one is guilty of plotting any one else’s assassination without proof, those who have been around for some time know many of such threats are real and should never ignored or allowed to materialize. Those who know the dangers of subjecting people to tyranny must summon all their will and courage to forewarn the country against assassinations. It is unpatriotic to keep quiet until things happen and doing anything is too little, too late.