The opposition has fulfilled its threat to march to the IEBC’s offices nationwide in a quest to push the commissioners out of their offices. But are we about to see a repeat of a not-so-distant history, as CORD protests continue?
CORD’s top officials, despite being cautioned by government, made sure that the demonstrations were carried out, ignoring the warning of the government against violent agitations in the country.
Though the opposition has got the permission of the court to persist with its demonstration as long as it is free of violence, the CORD protests turned chaotic as CORD’s top leaders clashed with police.
As the clash broke out, the police seized the opportunity to unleash their newly-acquired police anti-riot gear for the first time. Also, newly imported water cannons were tested and used to disperse the protesters along with newly imported tear gas canisters.
Two newly imported lorries among the more than 20 lorries imported from China were also used, together with two old ones deployed along University Way before the CORD protests, poised for their mission.
One of the lorries, believed to be laced with chemicals, was allegedly used to lash water at the protesters. And in the end the demonstration was divided and the agitators ran separate ways to safety.
That’s was the same way the opposition’s attempt a fortnight ago was met. In contrast to the demands of opposition politicians, IEBC commissioners, led by Chairman Issack Hassan have sworn to remain in office. Many stakeholders have paid more attention to the CORD’s use of violent protests to kick out the commissioners. Stakeholders from within and outside Kenya have repeatedly suggested peaceful dialogue.
Former Chairman of Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC) Charles Nyachae is reported to have urged IEBC commissioners to resign for the sake of all Kenyans.
IEBC has faced a terrible credibility loss, with some of its leaders linked to top-level corruption cases, especially one that involved a high-profile anti-bribery case. The reliability loss has made the commission gather haters, not just a huge and growing fraction of the political class but also religious organizations who have also demanded for the commission to be dissolved.
If our documented history serves us well, we will recall that the Mau Mau Uprising of 1952 to 1960, also known as the Mau Mau Revolt, which resulted in the death of over 200,000 native Kenyans, began as a series of protests not unlike what we have at the present.
The question now is: Is history about to repeat itself? We hope not.