The dirty side of elections reared its ugly head when a Jubilee Party aspirant was assaulted by a group of youths allied to County Assembly Speaker Susan Kihika.
The incident comes hot on the heels of another one in which James Kariuki, the driver of Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria, suffered a broken arm when he was attacked by supporters of his boss’ rival during voter mobilisation in Free Area estate last weekend.
Mr Kariuki is admitted in Kijabe Mission Hospital.
Kariuki was attacked by supporters of Benson Mwangi, who is eyeing the Nakuru Town East parliamentary seat.
In the latest incident, Hezron Manyara, who is vying for the Biashara ward seat, suffered head injuries, a broken rib and a black eye during an incident at Chrome Lounge in the wee hours of yesterday morning.
According to a report recorded at Central Police Station, Mr Manyara was attacked by three members of Ms Kihika’s #Team 100%.
Kihika is gunning for the Nakuru senatorial seat on a Jubilee Party ticket and has put together a formidable campaign team across the county, including the #Team 100% and #Team Mama, which residents have claimed are made up of supporters who are over-zealous in their handling of people.
The report indicated that Mr Manyara was attacked by the three – Joseph Kingoina alias Kongolo, George Muigai and Anthony Koskei – after dropping off a passenger at the entertainment spot located on Oginga Odinga Street.
Speaking at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital where he was receiving treatment, Manyara said the three well-built men descended on him with kicks and blows the moment they set eyes on him.
“I had only expressed my reservations about having outsiders fronting Ms Kihika’s campaign, which was my view on the ongoing campaigns,” he said yesterday.
Area police boss Joshua Omukata confirmed that the incident was reported at the police station as OB/4/9/21/17 and that police were looking for the three men.
“Mr Manyara reported the incident in the wee hours of the morning. We are investigating the circumstances under which he was assaulted,” Mr Omukata said.
When The Standard contacted Kihika, she said she had heard about the incident but did not know exactly what had happened.
“It’s unfortunate. I abhor violence and condemn any form of it,” she said.
The Speaker said the fight was not about her campaign but had something to do with her team.
“I conduct my campaign without any form of violence and those who support me know that. I want to clarify that what happened at the nightclub had nothing to do with Susan Kihika but personal differences between people,” she said.
Last November, three people were accused of assaulting another aspirant, Symon Mbugua, who is contesting the Kwa Rhonda ward seat on a Jubilee ticket.
One of the suspects in yesterday’s attack is also linked to an assault on Elijah Kinyanjui, a blogger said to have written a negative article about Kihika.
Nakuru Human Rights Network has called for speedy investigations into the rising incidents of political violence in the county.
Simon Nasieku, a human rights activist, said those involved in political violence must be dealt with to stop the escalation of violence.
“The police and the IEBC must intervene quickly to stop the escalation of violence in Nakuru County. Some of the people involved are powerful individuals who, if no action is taken against them, will not stop attacking their opponents,” he said.