July 25th 2017

Entertainment / What’s Trending

Kiambu turning into hotbed of political violence, thanks to Jubilee dominion

The mere fact that many well-informed Kenyans are making light moments of the the reports about political violence might suggest the acceptance of it in politics as well as its recurrence amid a climate of distrust and opportunism. The Jubilee Party ticket is a life-and-death issue in Kiambu County.

By John Onyandojonyando@kenyafreepress.comWednesday, 19 Apr 2017 08:33 EAT

A photo showing Mr Mwaura's left ear that he says was pierced by the bullet.

Is Kiambu County becoming the hotbed of political violence in Kenya? Jubilee nominations have not even started but four politicians from the area have either been kidnapped or violently attacked by people suspected to be working for their political opponents.

Discussions on the use of violence as a political means have filled social media platforms as Kenyans recollect on past events where politicians have used violence to intimidate their opponents or feigned it to win sympthay votes. Two parliamentary and two MCA aspirants have reported being attacked but the actual circumstaces surrounding the former are controversial, to say the least.

Last Friday, Kabete parliamentary aspirant Charles Gitau went missing, allegedly kidnapped, and his bullet-ridden car was found a day later, triggering fears that he had been killed. He later surfaced in Narok and the police are investigating his case, about which he has refused to speak to journalists.

On Monday, Ikinu ward representative aspirant Kenneth Kinyanjui went missing, also feared to be kidnapped. On the same day, Kalimoni ward aspirant Margaret Wanjiru Kibe was also allegedly kidnapped. Both aspirants are yet to be traced and their families have appealed to the police to investigate the events and protect the aspirants once they are found.

However, the news that shook social media came yesterday with the attack on ODM Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura, who is seeking the Ruiru parliamentary seat on the Jubilee Party ticket. The MP, who has repeatedly condemned ODM as being a party of violence, sensationally claimed that his opponent Simon King'ara had tried to have him assassinated. 

“Assassination attempt by Simon King’ara, a bullet has pierced my left ear and car sprayed with bullets. Rushed to Nairobi Hospital,” he wrote in a Facebook post last evening. He also explained to journalists the motive of his attackers, "These guys were trying to uproot a boda boda shed I had built so that they would build theirs on the same place and they attacked me when I tried to stop them."

Unexpectedly of a violent crime, the MP's post was met with a sense of disbelief. Mike Wahome wondered how much time the MP had to put up the posts from an event that ordinarily should have traumatized him. Journalist James Momanyi of the People Daily said, “My friend Isaac Mwaura has allegedly been shot in the ear by his opponent for the Jubilee ticket. I hope it's true. It's like this nomination exercise is a matter of life and death”.

A hilarious comment by Caroline K. Gikunda went thus: “Just woke up to this guy getting a "Dr" title..it never crossed my head he was one. Meanwhile some people are sooo incompetent! Like the guy who tried to assassinate Dr Mwaura! Surely, that bloody earlobe cannot be evidence of an assassination. Unless he was using his own finger nails.”

The mere fact that many well-informed Kenyans are trying to make light moments of the the reports about political violence might suggest the acceptance of it in politics as well as its recurrence amid a climate of distrust and opportunism. But that in itself cannot dent the fact that the Jubilee Party ticket is becoming a life-and-death issue in Kiambu County.

According to discussions on Facebook, the dominance of Jubilee Party in Kiambu County spawned a dynamic never seen in the region for the first twenty years of multiparty politics. The larger Kiambu always had no credible presidential contender, and its politicians chose whether to ally with Mwai Kibaki (Nyeri), Kenneth Matiba (Muranga) or any of the small parties then led by Kikuyu politicians.

Thus, between 1992-2013, Kiambu politicians enjoyed considerable independence from the leading presidential contenders, and several MPs won election on such insignificant parties as Safina, Ford-Asili, Ford-People, Social Democratic Party (SDP), Sisi Kwa Sisi, and even Raila Odinga’s National Development Party (NDP).

Since 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta has demanded that politicians supporting him must be in his party - the National Alliance (TNA) in the last election and Jubilee Party in 2017. With the NASA wave expected to be more robust ahead of the election, the pressure on Kiambu leaders to support the president's party will only rise, hence the competition for Jubilee tickets.

Incidentally, this development is taking place in Central Kenya at a time other regions, notably Luo Nyanza, which had experienced monolithicism in the multiparty era are beginning to liberate themselves. In the last elections, several Luo leaders, including a governor, were elected on a party other than that led by Raila Odinga. By some accounts, more are expected this time.

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