Locals protest over vandalized election billboards

Irate residents of Tunyai, Tharaka constituency, Tharaka Nithi County held protests on Thursday, after they found one of the billboards belonging to Chuka Igambang’ombe MP Muthomi Njuki who is seeking governorship on Jubilee Party ticket vandalized.

Transport was paralyzed along Tunyai-Ciakariga road for about one hour as the rowdy residents while carrying Njuki’s placards chanted songs, while accusing a rival contender for the seat of involvement in the act.

They blamed the rival candidate for hiring goons to destroy the billboard that was erected at Tunyai market.

Benard Kithaka told media that the billboard was intact throughout the day on Wednesday, and the culprits could have destroyed the material late in the night.

We were surprised to find the billboard damaged because it was intact yesterday evening, said Kithaka.

He expressed need for politicians to embrace tolerance noting that peace was paramount before, during and after elections.

Politicians should sell their policies and allow competitors a free ground to do the same, but all we want are peaceful campaigns, he noted.

Sarah Kageni, a resident of Ciakariga accused the incumbent governor Samuel Ragwa of indulging in divisive politics instead of uniting the locals, something which she said if not corrected, might lead the county to chaos ahead of the next month’s polls.

She asked youths to refrain from being paid by politicians to engage in dirty politics but rather be agents of spreading messages of peace during the entire campaigning and electioneering period.

I ask youths to preach peace not being paid to disrupt the peace we need especially as we head to elections, said Kageni.

Contacted for comment, the governor dismissed the accusations terming the incident as an organized move by Njuki to tarnish his good development record as a way of gaining political mileage.

I condemn this act and those responsible should be arrested, said Ragwa, noting that he was strictly following IEBC campaign rules.

This is a calculated move by my opponent to tarnish my reputation. I want us to have a free ground for competition and voters will decide in a month’s time who to lead them, he added.

The governor asked locals to allow every politician sell his or her agenda peacefully, noting that every one of them has a right to campaign and put a billboard at any place in the county.

Source: Kenya News Agency