Unique GSU officer honoured
Published on March 7, 2008, 12:00 am
By Abiya Ochola and Lucianne Limo.
The paramilitary officer who distinguished himself by pleading with a rioting mob in Nairobi at the onset of post-election violence has been awarded by the Rotary Club for making peace.
Superintendent Joseph Musyoka Nthenge of the General Service Unit by word disarmed a group of rioters instead of opening fire or lobbying tear gas at a time when the country was aflame.
Nthenge was captured by TV cameras beseeching charged youth not to resort to violence and destroy what had taken 40 years to build.
“Munataka kuharibu Kenya kwa siku moja nchi ambayo imetichukuwa miaka arubanne kujenga” (You want to destroy Kenya in a day yet it has taken us 40 years to build it?), the officer posed in a footage that was circulated around the world as the voice of reason in a country that was slowly degenerating into a killing field.
The group abandoned their mission and dispersed peacefully. On Thursday, the Rotary Club feted the officer and awarded him the ‘Rotary Amazing Persons Peace Award 2008’.
“I had an alternative and saw no need to use force. I wanted the people to understand that we (GSU) were not enemies but friends. I felt very honoured when the angry youth acknowledged my plea,” said Nthenge upon receiving the award.
Meanwhile, a group of internally displaced people (IDPs) has given the Government a 14-day ultimatum to resettle them or face mass action. They complained that the Government had ignored their plight and only tackled the issue of legal reforms. They asked President Kibaki and the Prime Minister-Designate, Mr Raila Odinga, to visit IDP camps. “The leaders should jointly visit the IDPs to affirm that as leaders they support our constitutional right to own property anywhere in the country,” said Mr Jesse Mwaniki, their spokesman .