Rein in political thugs but protect freedoms
One of the victims of last Sunday’s Murang’a County violence was a 15-year-old boy.
The boy, who was not eligible to vote in the next general election, paid the ultimate price for a cause he may not have understood.
A father of a three-month-old baby suffered a similar fate and because of that a young widow has been left to fend alone for her child.
It is for this reason that we support the measures announced by the National Security Advisory Committee (Nsac) yesterday to rein in violence and hate speech.
The Nsac decision was taken because “the country is experiencing growing political tension that is creating division and pitting sections of politicians and their supporters against perceived opponents.
This situation is increasingly polarising the country along ethno-political lines, and, therefore, undermining national cohesion, peace and security and derailing our transformative economic agenda”.
Wounds of the 2007 post-election violence are yet to heal. And it all started in small doses; when wale watu (those people) turned to madoadoa (spots) and the war drums got louder, the result was the death of more than 1,000 people.
Yesterday’s move by the top security organ to prescribe how political gatherings will be conducted, messages framed and punishment for contraveners, is welcome.
It makes sense to hold conveners of political meetings accountable for the security and peace in the gatherings.
Equally important is holding those attending to account for what they do and say during the gatherings.
Any incitement or messages of hate should not be part of political discourse. Any responsible media will not entertain inciting, derogatory or hate messages in its content.
Nevertheless, as the government moves to create sanity among the various players, they should always remember that Kenyans enjoy freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.
These freedoms must be protected at all times. The security forces on whose shoulders lie the implementation of the Nsac advisory should not take advantage of the communication and curtail what we as a society stand for.
It will be counterproductive to enforce the law and at the same time break it.
No political cause can repay the lives lost or opportunities missed because of violence.