Heightened political tension in country a smudge on celebrations
Anthony Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe
This year’s Mashujaa Day, being celebrated in Kisii, comes at a time the country is experiencing heightened political activities.
Leading the renewed campaigns is Deputy President William Ruto, who has been crisscrossing the country to popularise his ‘Hustler’ movement on the one hand and Opposition leader Raila Odinga who has also been holding meetings with political leaders from various parts of the country on the other.
Raila on the weekend also announced that the next round of Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rallies, which had been suspended following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, will commence soon.
But it is Ruto’s political activities in various parts of the county that have dominated news, after a number of them had to be cancelled or were dispersed by the police for various reasons.
Two weeks ago, a funds drive the DP was set to preside over in support of a boda boda sacco in Nyamira County was stopped at the last minute following the introduction of the Public Order Act by the state.
A month ago, a similar event by the DP witnessed chaotic scenes after a section of youths attempted to disrupt the meeting.
So, today’s celebrations at the Gusii Stadium comes as a sigh of relief both for the politicians and the locals.
Political analyst Javas Bigambo says it is sad that the current crop of politicians has not emulated the sacrifice that the independence heroes endured to free the country from the yoke of colonialism.
“They tolerated each other and did not allow the colonialists to divide them. Those were the heroes that we are celebrating.”
“If we are talking about cohesion and de-ethnisising the country and yet we are incoherent by the words coming from the leaders, we can see that one of the pillars on national cohesion is crumbing even before the house stands,” he says.
According to Bigambo, DP Ruto should go slow on his campaigns as a mark of respect to the president as the country celebrates the Mashujaa Day.
The celebrations come at a time when the fight for the Gusii vote is gradually narrowing down to a two horse race between Ruto and Raila.
With nearly 900,000 votes, the region, which has largely been voting for the opposition leader would be a valuable swing vote region for Ruto if he manages to wrest it away from the opposition doyen.
Ruto has stepped up campaigns to raid the perceived opposition zone, which Raila has held for over a decade now.
He has been aggressively courting leaders from the region with residents now split on who to support between him and Raila, as well as Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i who has been mentioned as a potential presidential contender in 2022.