Outrage over chaotic scenes in mini polls
Rawlings Otieno and Byran Onyango @wangumarci
ODM leader Raila Odinga has warned that the peaceful co-existence that has been experienced in the country courtesy of ‘Handshake’ should not be taken for granted by eroding some liberties.
The warning came even as the Elections Observers Group (Elog) charged that violence witnessed in the just concluded three by-elections should be a cause for alarm in the run up to the 2022 polls.
On Tuesday, the electorate in Bonchari and Juja constituencies and Rurii Ward voted in their leaders after the former representatives passed on while in office.
“What we have witnessed in the by-elections in Bonchari and Juja is an abuse of police powers and an arrogant display of impunity by a few overzealous and bellicose government functionaries,” said Raila in a tweet.
Raila, the ‘Handshake’ partner reminded the electorate that an election process is an opportunity for the voters to express their will at the ballot and not an avenue to pursue imaginary or short-legged political interests.
“Security forces exist to serve the people and not the interests of those out to conduct political experiments.
The peaceful co-existence post-2018 must not be taken for granted by some rogue elements wanting to confuse the ‘Handshake’ for an excuse to erode our hard-earned liberties. This must stop,” said Raila.
ELOG, while condemning the incidences of violence and voter bribery, charged that some of its officials were forced to scamper for safety after armed goons invaded the Juja constituency tallying centre.
There were allegations that armed individuals had tried to forcibly stuff the ballot boxes before the security officers intervened.
Elog chairperson Ann Ireri condemned the violence.
“What we witnessed in Juja is unacceptable. The violence was happening in full glare of the students at Mangu.
“The parents of those students should actually sue the State for the acts of omission and commission on the part of the security apparatus,” said Ireri.