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Talk with all gangs then

Publication Date: 5/2/2008

Since Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for dialogue between the outlawed Mungiki sect and the Government last month, there have been repeated pleas from various quarters reinforcing that proposal.

In fact, there are reports that the Government has sent emissaries to talk to the sect leaders, including its jailed spiritual chief, Maina Njenga.

The calls for dialogue were inspired by the fact that the use of force had failed to contain the sect. Equally significant was the realisation that the sect members may have valid grievances that must be addressed.

At any rate, the birth of Mungiki and other similar gangs across the country is attributed to glaring inequalities in society. Young people feel marginalised, which has given rise to disillusionment and the concomitant desire to  agitate for recognition.

Whereas the principle of dialogue is desirable, it must be done within a broader perspective. For instance, how far is the Government prepared to go in reasoning and reason with Mungiki, which after all, is an outlawed entity.

Second, what will be done with other gangs like Sungusungu, Kalenjin Warriors, Baghdad Boys, Angola Msumbiji and others, which may also have valid grievances?

If the Government chooses to hold talks with Mungiki, it must devise an equally reasonable approach to dealing with other gangs. Most importantly, those calling for Njenga’s release from jail must also realise that this will have far-reaching legal implications, and is likely to set a dangerous precedent.

Write to the author

About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.


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