Kenya: Kicking Out Koffi Laudable

Kenyan police did not cover themselves in glory when the sorry episode involving Congolese musician Koffi Olomide began.

Olomide assaulted one of the dancers in his troupe with breathtaking impunity right before the rolling cameras on Friday morning.

He did this at the airport, a security installation in which dozens of uniformed and ununiformed police officers are stationed.

The fact he was not detained on the spot was disturbing. However, authorities deserve some praise for the way they recovered from that debacle, albeit under heavy pressure from the public.

Assault is a serious crime in any jurisdiction. Hitting a defenceless woman, especially one over whom one has so much power as their employer, is a completely abominable act.

It is fair to say Olomide expected he would be saved by his status as a mega-star.

However, he was rightly deported on a Kenya Airways flight bound for Kinshasa at 11.30am on Saturday.

That was absolutely the right thing to do. Some have made the legitimate point that many high-profile Kenyans have gotten away with a slap on the wrist for similar crimes of assault, some caught on camera.

It is true such episodes have occurred far too often. The failure to punish one crime does not mean that all others should go unpunished. Instead, it would me more useful to agitate for more even-handed application of the law going forward.

It would have been a travesty of justice if Olomide, with his long record of assaults and general loutishness, had been allowed to take to the stage with the same dancers who he violated as if nothing had happened.

Let’s hope his summary deportation will cause him to pursue help with the anger problems for which he clearly needs professional help.

Source: The Nation.