September 14, 2014 OPINION/NEWS




Joe Khamisi

If what took place in Migori last week had happened during the times of Jomo Kenyatta or Daniel arap Moi, Kenyans would still be counting bodies days after the nearly catastrophic event in Nyanza, the perceived stronghold of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

But President Uhuru Kenyatta is a humble and tolerant leader just like his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki. He took it in his stride when hoodlums-for-hire interrupted the public meeting he had convened to discuss development matters for the region. The thugs, perhaps high on drugs, pelted the VIP podium with shoes, shouted insults at the President, and overturned chairs as they fanatically chanted Raila’s name.

The security personnel who were present only moved in to protect the President as required by their mandate. No shots were fired. No one was roughed up. It was a rare demonstration of our level of maturity fifty years into independence. It showed we have moved away from the imperious, capricious era of political intolerance to a more bearable nation.

Although the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) was quick to distance itself from the unfortunate and embarrassing event, I am not convinced opposition elements did not have a hand in the planning and execution of the fracas.

For anyone to suggest that it was the county governor – and not the President – who was the target of the missiles is hoodwinking Kenyans. The governor had been to the area before but had not been assaulted. And even if it was a domestic county matter, why parade it in front of the Head of State?

I believe CORD was involved because CORD is, by broad definition, a left-of-centre-leaning organisation whose vocabulary includes explosive phrases such as “revolution,” “violence,” and “the Arab-spring.” On several occasions, its leaders have threatened to march to State House to evict the tenant who happens to be Uhuru Kenyatta, and have gone further to give ultimatums of all manner and kind.

Uhuru may not be Jomo or Moi, but the Fourth President of the Republic of Kenya is not a wimp. He has the guts, the power and the resources to make life difficult for the opposition if he chooses to do so, but in his actions and words, he has repeatedly hinted that that’s not the way he wants to go.

It must be known that the sitting President enjoys the support of the majority of Kenyans and the backing of the constitution, and has a job to ensure that peace and stability prevail in the country.

It is therefore the responsibility of opposition leaders to restrain their followers from engaging in unlawful activities especially against the person of the President. As one sober writer said in a social media post, even if one disrespected the President, he or she must respect the institution of the presidency.

We cannot, in a modern society, operate on jungle laws. Aggrieved persons have the right, under the constitution, to seek redress in the courts of law.

Finally, I am glad the government has arrested some suspects from that event and continues to look for others, but these should also include leaders who bankrolled the goons. They too must face prosecution since no one is above the law.




Joe Khamisi

Joe Khamisi is a former journalist, diplomat and Member of Parliament. He is also the Author of the Politics of Betrayal:Diary of a Kenyan Legislator, a political memoir about the situation in Kenya between 2001, when the ruling party of President Daniel Arap Moi, the Kenya African National Union (KANU), merged with Raila Odinga’s National Development Party.

The book also narrates cases of corruption in Parliament and in the Media and records Senator Obama’s visit to Kenya in 2006. As a friend of Barack Obama Senior, the author also remembers the times and tragedies of the American-educated economist.

Joe Khamisi’s second book, a biography, ‘Dash Before Dusk’, is currently awaiting publication.

In addition to the above books, Joe Khamisi blogs at , and for media enquiries can be reached at [email protected]

(This article is courtesy of Joe Khamisi and was originally published at the above blog on 11th September 2014)

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