Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Unspoken Truths About The Nyachae Election Violence Incident
Hon Simeon Nyachae who watched in glee as ODM’s William Ruto, Omingo Magara and Chris Bichagge formerly of Coffee Board Of Kenya but now an aspirant, were chased by armed youths stubbornly insists that he has nothing to apologize about. He further adds that the press has taken sides already in these elections and they seem to be overwhelmingly on ODM’s side.
Before we go into the events of last Friday that have raised so much heat, let us analyze Nyachae’s allegations against the press. The Minister gives as his evidence the fact that his incident has received so much publicity and yet the harassment of other candidates in Kisumu has not been covered by the press. He also insinuates that ODM seem to be getting more press than other political parties.
Now that last statement is true although it is not a matter of favoring but pure commercial reasons. The brand new Nairobi Star seems to have been struggling until they discovered the “ODM trick.” The truth is that any headline you put on any second rate rag of even gutter press publication that has ODM on it will sell like hot cakes. So what do you expect the press to do? I do not want to speculate at this juncture as to why this is so and why ODM headlines sell even in the heart of Central province. But I want to say that I believe in fairness and that the major political parties should get equal coverage as far as possible. However the headline business is serious business because it touches on the commercial survival of publications and my take is that publications have the prerogative on what headline they should carry.
Incidentally the East African Standard was first off the blocks on this one and their circulation ahs increased by several tens of thousands with sales going overboard in Nyanza and Mombasa, since they started carrying ODM headlines daily.
But I digress. Let us come back o the issue of the day. Here are the facts;
- William Ruto and Omingo Magara were NOT invited to the said fundraiser, but decided to do some mischief to pit the popularity of ODM against the waning one of Hon Nyachae. Hon Nyachae simply had to hit back. That’s the man’s character.
- Hon Simoen Nyachae openly provoked the youths (who were armed to the teeth) to attack the ODM leaders by his every action, including that of leading them in Kisii circumcision songs used in times of war.
- Jimmy Awenyi openly told the press that the day he went through the Kisii circumcision ritual he took an oath to defend the Kisii community. What he meant was to defend the community from infiltration by any other political interests. It is instructive that the Kisii have always been insighted by their leaders to be hostile to any foreign political interests. Remember how Raila Odinga also got attacked in Kisii in the run up to the 2002 elections. In fact the only presidential candidate to have campaigned freely in Kisii without heavy security presence is Charity Ngilu when she ran for the presidency in 1997.
- However this time round the ordinary folks are refusing to be told what to do and for the first time we are seeing them defying their leaders. Look out for this trend countrywide as the general elections approach. Many politicians are still not aware of the big leap ordinary voters have taken in understanding the issues at hand and in their yearning for real change. Most voters will be virtually impossible to cheat (see my other post on how Moi ran into similar problems in Aldai recently.)
- Nyachae instructed the security personnel present in the area to stay out of the proceedings and for this, I support the idea of him being made to answer for his actions. There is no law in Kenya that says it is OK to use violence when you have been provoked and sparing Nyachae will encourage many other politicians planning violence in the forthcoming polls.
- It is now clear that just as I said last year, violence is going to be rampant in the forthcoming polls as Friday’s circumstances are going to be replayed in so many other parts of the country.
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