Last night I slept with a sinking feeling in my stomach. See, I was flipping through stations and paying close attention to the three Meru Stations and I chanced upon an ugly scene – people, lots of people in a rowdy crowd, were fighting. Like one of those mass brawls where everyone hits everyone else. I thought it was a movie scene, but then the quality of the video was quite raw -like you would expect on Baite TV. What caught my attention was the language, they were shouting in Kimeru. And then one of those ugly Baite TV captions popped up:
Captain o Ndua Mithika Linturi na Gikosi Kiawe Gutonyeera na Kuthukia Mucemanio jwa Kawira Mwangaza.
I paused and watched intently. So, Kawira Mwangaza, I think she will be vying for Women Rep for Meru County, was holding one of her OKOLEA drives where she mobilizes people to help a disadvantaged member of the society. This time it was at Kabuitu Market in Igembe South in aid of residents whose houses had burned down.
As she was talking on the podium, there was a sudden disturbance – scores of people came, singing. They were led by the local MP, Mithika Linturi who unceremoniously went up the podium and stood by Kawira. (Don’t forget this was her “rally”). Kawira introduced him to speak and announce what he would be contributing for the affected people. That’s when it went south. Linturi stood and said:
Let me set things clear first. I was not invited here by Kawira. I am here because I have every right to be here because these people voted for me… There is no way a woman can introduce me, an elected leader of Meru, to speak… I must come last because being the man, I am the head and not the neck. We can’t allow that. Will you allow that, people?
… and so on..
Violent scenes start
Well, it was in Kimeru and explicit language was used. Before long, all hell broke loose. Someone in Kawira’s team was being beaten mercilessly. People were shoving each other. There was havoc all over. Women were screaming. Children were running helter-skelter all over the place. This had turned into a war. The podium was overturned by none other than the MP himself. There were images of injured people, some blood was shed.
What does that immediately evoke? Last year’s Jamhuri Day celebration at Meru Polytechnic that turned into a violent stone throwing contest, mass insult match, and a teargas bath?
Or something worse, say, like 2007/2009’s PEV?
These are images that don’t fit well with the peace enjoyed by Meru. Violence was something we had always seen on TV. When violent Gor Mahia fans threw stones, we sneered. When other counties and communities were involved in any form of violent tendencies, we threw derogatory expressions. We would always say that we are too peaceful, too busy, to fight because of politicians or any sport.
But lo and behold! We have suddenly started behaving like the “cows” we always sneered at. We have suddenly started fighting each other because of politicians. 50 bobs, areas of origin (I have seen some references of Meru North Vs Meru Central) and gender are raising our hands against each other.
Will we fight, too?
What a shame! If Kenyans spring post-election violence later this year (God forbid) will we be burning each others’ houses too? Will we be using our renowned panga skills against the people who will not vote for the Kiraitus, Munyas, Linturis, Mwirias, Kajujus and Mwangazas of our county?
All the signs are there… and the future looks bad. If you are reading this, you are probably a Meru youth. Do not allow yourself to be used by anybody for political reasons. Don’t sink our peaceful community into another shameful ass-wiper.
Don’t get me wrong on this, by the way. I did not say Baite TV/Kawira or Linturi was right or wrong. I will leave that opinion to you. But one thing we can objectively agree on: the fighting supporters were stupid.
Maintain the Peace, please.
This is the personal opinion of the author. This blog is neutral media outlet for The Ameru and not biased in any way politically.