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Is MP Simba Arati the new face of electoral violence in Nairobi?

Editor’s Note: Our GOTTA.NEWS blogger today is Joseph Watima. Watima takes a look at the violence experienced during the just concluded Kibra by-election.

It was appalling to watch ODM MPs being at the forefront of unleashing violence against Jubilee supporters during the just concluded Kibra poll.

It is an open secret the group led by Dagorreti North MP Simba Arati unleashed violence against Jubilee supporters under the guise of voter bribery.

And the violence seems to have paid off, at least by ODM standards, given the low voter turn out that did not hit half of the over 118K people registered to vote in the constituency.

In one of the viral videos, Arati, who harbours dreams of becoming governor is seen setting up his Kimilili counterpart Didymus Barasa for a beating.

It’s unsettling the legislator unleashed violence on his colleagues in the National Assembly as police watched.

What’s more, among those he wanted ‘chased away’ by his gang were women MPs.

Didmus Barasa
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa during one of the campaign meetings in Kibra. Photo: courtesy

Let’s not forget Arati was adversely mentioned in gang violence in his constituency in late October 2017 that left over 10 people dead.

In early October, Jubilee’s candidate McDonald Mariga and Woodley MCA Mwangi Njihia’s convoy was attacked by goons along Ngong Road, an incident which Arati denied involvement.

I have watched Kenyan politics for over five decades now and people who exhibit Arati’s kind of audacity are in most times under state protection.

Now my question to Interior CS Fred Matiang’i: Is Arati above the law such that he can unleash violence on opponents and go scot-free?

But amidst the ODM chaos, Bernard Imran stands out as a man of peace, just like his late brother Ken Okoth.

His speech immediately after being declared MP-elect underlined his commitment to unite the people for development.

Mariga and ANC’s Eliud Owalo also put up a spirited fight in the by-election. And their concession speeches showed the two are indeed dignified gentlemen.

Imran must endeavour to free Kibra from the tag of chaos by empowering area youths. Like his brother Ken Okoth, Imran must strive to do better than his party leader Raila Odinga who did very little to improve the residents’ living conditions.

For starters, Kibra is part of former Lang’ata constituency which Raila represented for 20 years before it was split to the current Lang’ata and Kibra constituencies.

So if Raila referred to Kibra as his bedroom, it’s because he knows the area as the palm of his hand.

Noteworthy, Kibera slum domiciled in Kibra has been the base where Raila and ODM have always retreated whenever they need to push a questionable agenda.

During the 2007 post-election violence, youths from Kibera uprooted the railway line and paralysed movement of goods to Uganda.

The incident is revered by section of residents and forms one of the most jealously guarded identities of the area.

Needless to say, these unemployed youths who are already indoctrinated with violence provide a ready army for ‘Baba’ and the ODM party whenever they need people to execute a wicked scheme.

An average Kibra goon takes pride in how even armed police fear to venture in their hideout.

For being the ‘base of action’ lives have been lost in confrontations with police.

Imran must strive to change this narrative so that Kibra youth can joy in tangible success as opposed to taking pride in senseless violence.

 Opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the writer and do not necessarily represent the position of We welcome writers to give their views on social and political issues. Send your opinion to [email protected]

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