Back to the ‘Tom and jerry’ days

Back to the ‘Tom and jerry’ days

By McCreadie Andias,

Many of us have in our childhood days watched the American animated comedy ‘Tom and Jerry’ where Tom, a strong and rather powerful cat and Jerry, a rather small but stubborn mouse are centered in a rather hilarious but messy rivalry in a house setting. Tom is strong but faces havoc and frustration while chasing and hunting over irritating and troublesome jerry.


The Film resembles episodes of street riots and altercations between opposition protestors and law enforcement agencies in hit and run tactics, hunts and chases that have dominated big cities in the country during opposition led protests pushing for political, economic and electoral reforms.


When we look back to Kenya’s political history, we cant fail to remember the famous ‘tom and jerry’ days between ‘tom’ (anti-riot police officers) and ‘jerry’ (ardent opposition supporters).


Raila Odinga, a very strong opposition leader in the country, has a big name behind the famous ‘tom and jerry’ days. Being a strong opposition leader in at least the last 3 ruling governments, Raila has successfully led these famous days during the Moi era, Kibaki era, Uhuru era and now Ruto era.


These famous days have been characterised by altercations between the law enforcement officers and ardent opposition supporters clashing within city streets ,exchanging stones and teargas cannisters.


In 1997 during the Moi’s era, Raila led demonstrations against Moi and mounted pressure on Moi’s administration to accept minimum electoral and legal reforms ahead of the 1997 polls.


In 2007 during Kibaki’s era, The cat and dog games became more intense shortly after the 2007 elections where the disputed elections turned city streets into hotspots of demonstrations and riots, These riots became so hot in what would lead Kenya to its darkest political disputes in history, police engaged citizens and at points citizens engaged each other. Kenya attracted attention of the global leaders and mediation attempts forced a government to be splitted into two blocks Raila earning an appointment as prime minister.


In Uhuru’s tenure, the man again Raila Odinga led a series of ‘tom and jerry’ days disputing 2013 presidential elections and unsuccessfully challenged Uhuruto’s win at the Supreme court .

Then running under the CORD coalition, Raila called for protests saying his victory was stolen.


In 2016 he called for a mass action to push for electoral reforms at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.


He pushed for radical re-structuring of the IEBC and alongside his then co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper),Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Moses Wetangula (Ford-Kenya) led demonstrations accusing the IEBC of conspiring to compromise 2017 elections.


The leaders led a march to ‘occupy’ IEBC headquaters in Nairobi forcing parliament to initiate IEBC reforms that led to exit of then commissioner Isaac Hassan and entry of Wafula Chabukati.


He however lost again the 2017 polls and again claimed that his election was robbed taking his supporters back to the ‘tom and jerry’ games in the streets until the unexpected happened in 2018.


Very few expected  that the ‘tom and jerry’ days in Uhuru’s era would only be culminated by a simple handshake between  the president and opposition leader Raila Odinga.


Now we are under a new regime Under William Samoei Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua.

Its only six months since the two took office and Raila Odinga has started a new wave of ‘tom and jerry’ days .Only these time Raila wants the new government to stop the IEBC restructuring process and instead reinstate four former IEBC commissioners who resigned with one being  fired (Cherera Four) and ameliorate the cost of living.


Raila declared a countywide mass action which officially fruitioned  yesterday, he declared Monday 20th a public holiday where demonstrations would rock different cities in the country in a push for electoral and economic reforms.


Yesterday Nairobi and other parts of the country including Kisumu, Kakamega, Kitale, Migori, Homa Bay and Nakuru witnessed a new episode of the famous ‘tom and jerry’ days.


Police deployed in different parts of the riot-rocked cities were drawn to running battles with rowdy protesters, counter attacks ,chases and hunts leaving major cities smoky and messy.

In Cities like Kisumu, the hunters became the hunted where police seemed to be overpowered by fierce rioters and at instances forced to draw back and run for their breaths.


The showcase of supremacy battles in either firing teargas cannisters or accuracy in pelting stones grabbed media headlines just like the same old days.


Raila this time being quite older, but more stronger and fierce, led a series of marches in Kamukunji, Juja, Estleight, Embakasi and Mathare alongside his loyal brigade and ardent supporters, they brought the city to an absolute standstill with businesses in some areas like CBD forced to close due to fear of looting.


Odinga has declared that this protests would be rocking every Monday of the week until his ultimatums are met including opening of last year’s election servers which he believes bears the truth about the 2022 election results.


It clearly seems that we are back to the ‘Tom and jerry’ days this time seeming a bit wild and what we can’t establish yet is whether the government will bow to pressure and form a truce with the opposition or will the government stand still and say ”Bring it on!”.


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