Peace actors in Kisumu County have raised a red flag over political intolerance ahead of 2022 general elections.
Elly Opondo, executive director of Champions of Peace, says the trend is worrying and points Kisumu Central and Muhoroni as hot spots.
Opondo says they have been monitoring political trends and identifying political violence indicators on time for appropriate action.
He says the coming election is full of expectations but that does not mean it degenerates into political violence.
“We are in a multiparty democracy and therefore we expect a lot of tolerance,” he said.
Opondo says they will not count statistics but demand for action from the relevant government agencies.
“As an organization, we are doing what is called early warning, early response,” he said.
Addressing a press conference in Kisumu, Opondo says the violence being witnessed in the lakeside city will hamper economic recovery.
He says the lifting of curfew by President Uhuru Kenyatta was a stepping stone to heal the economy and violence will sink the Kisumu economy further.
They were reacting to the violence witnessed on Friday in Kisumu when Kisumu Central MP Fred Ouda was alleged to have attacked some people in a local restaurant.
Ouda is currently out on a police bond and is expected to be arraigned in court once investigations are complete.
Opondo says such acts of violence from a lawmaker is unfortunate and must be condemned.
“This is the time we need economic recovery, and economic recovery cannot thrive in a hot political situation,” he said.
A member of Kisumu Chamber of Commerce, Pauline Akwacha says what was witnessed in Kisumu last week is a setback to democracy.
Akwacha warned the youth to desist from being used by politicians for their selfish gains.
“We are against violence and we would not like chaos to be brought within our city,” she said.
She noted that many women aspirants will pull out of the race if the violence persists.
“Women will fear coming out due to violence as you all know, mothers fear violence, mothers are peace builders,” she said.
Antony Okewo, chairman Kisumu District Peace Committee called upon institutions mandated to bring peace to come out and address the political intolerance.
“We don’t want to be a hot spot again, so I call upon the National Police Service (NPS) and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to step in on time,” he said.
By Joseph Ojwang