Friday, October 19, 2012

Anxiety Attacks

Midweek is deadline day for the East African and I tackled the subject of last week's Mbagala riots, thinking that perhaps it had blown over enough to comment on. Which is the problem with having a deadline that's several days removed from publication. The situation has evolved and now there are synergies with Zanzibar's current problems. Reuters is using the word 'Islamist.' Sigh.

I still don't think that this is a religious fight, per se, because denial is a river in Egypt. Still, the tide turned when the Police arrested Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda in connection with last week's riots. Ah, the heavy hand of the state security organs. Meanwhile in Zanzibar, policeman Said Abdulrahman was executed by a mob on his way home in the disturbances that followed the disappearance of another cleric, Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmed.

Woke up this morning to a woeful text message. Apparently an ultimatum has been issued to the police: if Sheikh Ponda is not released by noon today, protesters will "not be responsible for what happens." Perhaps they hoping that somehow the rule of law as practiced by our oh-so-gentle police will not apply to them? 

I approve of a good hearty protest, but only in the peaceful sense. Having the city threatened with violence is a whole different ball game. Seriously tedious for the remaining four million and change of us to be so inconvenienced by a fight we just don't want. I am hoping that the police will get off its testosterone crack pipe and just send the cleric home to defuse the situation. They can afford to handle this matter with more finesse than they have so far and I hope they do. Put my tax shillings to good use, people, and by good use I don't mean teargas. 

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