Matiang’i, Kibicho to blame for Kibra chaos, MPs say
By IBRAHIM ORUKO
Jubilee legislators affiliated to Deputy President William Ruto during a press briefing at Parliament Buildings on November 12, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho have been dragged into the heated Kibra by-election politics.
This comes as MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of undermining the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Some 14 Jubilee MPs allied to the Tanga Tanga faction, which coalesces around Dr Ruto, Tuesday claimed Dr Matiang’i and Dr Kibicho held a meeting with Mr Odinga on the eve of the by-election, where the issue of the violence was discussed.
Led by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa, the legislators said the meeting at a hotel in Karen discussed the election. “We are aware that both Dr Matiang’i and Dr Kibicho secretly met Mr Odinga in a hotel in Karen over the by-election,” Mr Ichung’wa said.
But in a quick rejoinder, 13 ODM MPs warned the Tanga Tanga group against threatening civil servants over the Kibra by-election.
“Leave civil servants out of this by-election,” the MPs said in a statement read by National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed.
“The civil servants were not voting but just doing their work,” Mr Mohamed added.
He dismissed claims that Mr Odinga met Dr Matiang’i and Dr Kibicho, insisting the DP was still bitter over his candidate MacDonald Mariga’s loss in the hotly contested by-election. Mr Mohamed challenged the DP to accept and move on.
“The DP has been telling people to accept defeat. It is now his time to accept and move on. We won that election and our supporters protected the votes. People rejected the goons he sent to buy voters,” Mr Mohamed said.
The MPs said the “noise the DP is making over the by-election” is a scheme to set the ground to reject the BBI report, which is to be published soon.
“Let him (Ruto) not hide behind Kibra. He should come out and oppose his boss over BBI and handshake,” he added.
Although the Jubilee MPs did not give details of the Karen meeting, they claimed that its setting provided the perfect opportunity for the chaos that unfolded in Kibra.
The seat that fell vacant following the death of former MP Ken Okoth was won by his brother Bernard Otieno Okoth.
“It’s because of the meeting that goons commanded by Mr (Samuel) Arati have not been arrested,” Mr Ichung’wa said.
He said the goons behind the violence enjoyed high-level patronage in the Office of the President, adding that the buck stops with the Interior CS.
“We can’t allow violence to be used to stop Kenyans from exercising their right to vote,” he said.
ODM has, however, denied causing violence in Kibra and instead shifted the blame to Dr Ruto’s supporters, whom they accused of bribery and intimidation.
They said Mr Odinga was using the BBI to create divisions in national leadership and to wage “irresponsible attacks on the DP”. They demanded that Mr Odinga should apologise to the public for the violence.
“To emphasise his hypocrisy, the spectacle of ODM’s chaotic and violent conduct in Kibra was a direct demonstration by Mr Odinga that he still adheres to the politics of murderous personality cult, ethnic animosity, violence, bloodshed, intimidation and balkanisation of Kenya’s ethnic enclaves,” said Soy MP Caleb Kositany.
The Jubilee MPs said what happened in Kibra is exactly what BBI seeks to heal, arguing that the ODM leader had subverted the spirit of the handshake in the full glare of national and international media.
“As long as violence is still available to ODM and Mr Odinga as a tool of political agenda, BBI is not going anywhere,” Mr Kositany said.
The MPs challenged the ODM leader to demonstrate his commitment to the handshake and the national unity agenda by publicly apologising to the people of Kibra.
The MPs want people captured meting out violence on voters arrested. “Failing to do that will make Kenyans believe that Mr odinga is above the law,” they said.