The recently concluded by-elections gave a preview into a possible picture of what to expect in 2022, and if the unrest that was witnessed this past week was anything to go by, then pundits have their work cut out for them.
It should be quite easy to make a prognosis of areas which are likely to experience chaos, as it should be, those that will not experience any chaos. Interestingly, and quite conspicuous too, was the fact that in each of the areas which experienced unrest, UDA had its fingerprints there, so to speak.
In Matungu, most of the clashes that were witnessed were between ANC and ODM, with the most talked about spat being that one between Homa Bay women representative Gladys Wanga and Kakamega senator Cleophas Malala. There were running battles for the better part of the day, with supporters of ODM’s candidate David Were clashing with those of ANC’s Nabulindo. Nevertheless, the most disturbing images to come from Kakamega are those of former sports CS, and UDA member Rashid Echesa assaulting an IEBC official.
In Kabuchai, skirmishes were also witnessed between members of the area party, Ford Kenya, and those of UDA, which is closely allied to the deputy president. Most of these incidents happened in the run-up to the election. However, even on election day itself, so uneasy was the situation, that several allies of the deputy president, who are also affiliated to UDA were arrested on suspicion of being in possession of weapons. They included Nelson Koech, Didmas Barasa and Samson Cherargei among others. They have since been released, but Charargei has seen his gun confiscated.
In Nakuru county, the violence was concentrated in London Ward which saw supporters of UDA’s candidate Nziuki, clash with those of the Jubilee candidate. Things seemed to get out of hand when even Lang’ata MP Korir was roughed up by Jubilee supporters.
In Huruma Ward of Uasin Gishu however, things went on uninterrupted. Peaceful scenes were witnessed as voters queued comfortably and cast their votes without any incident. This also happens to be the deputy president’s home county. Whether this disparity was purely coincidental, or can be explained as part of some political machinations, is yet to be ascertained.