Raila denies sponsoring chaos at Deputy President’s rallies
ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday dismissed claims he was sponsoring violence to disrupt Deputy President William Ruto’s campaigns. Speaking in Nairobi, Raila claimed Ruto was crying foul after sensing defeat in the August 9 election.
“Our competitors are now claiming ODM is planning violence; there is nothing like that,” Raila said. “We will defeat them on the ballot, the tsunami is coming.” Raila spoke at City Hall when he launched the countrywide enhanced voter registration.
He also scoffed at Ruto’s campaigns in the city, saying Nairobi is locked under his Azimio La Umoja movement, which, he expressed hopes of getting more than 1.6 million in the county.
“I got over 900,000 votes in the last election, President Uhuru got 700,000. Cumulatively we got more than 1.6 million votes. In the coming election, we will get more,” he said.
Raila spoke on the day the United Democratic Alliance Party (UDA) wrote to President Uhuru Kenyatta to complain about alleged State-sponsored violence in its rallies.
The party accused the ODM/Azimio and the State of being the enablers of violence which have seen several rallies attended by the DP marred by violent incidents.
In the letter, the party warns that deliberate inaction and bias by security agencies was setting the stage for a repeat of the 2007 post-election violence and the return of the International Criminal Court.
The party demanded an assurance from the President, as the chairman of the National Security Council, that lives and properties are protected under the law, and that the instruments of State and security apparatus will not be deployed in a partisan manner, or cause mayhem and deaths.
The letter, which was signed by the party national chairman Johnstone Muthama and secretary-general Veronica Maina, was copied to the Chief Prosecutor, ICC, the African Union, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and Director General of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Philip Kamweru.
It was also copied to the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati, National Cohesion and Integration Commission chair Samuel Kobia, the US Embassy, British High Commission and the Delegation of European Union.
The party expressed concern about the recent security incidents and their implication on the General Election and national stability.
“It has since become abundantly clear that the goons who attacked our meeting at Jacaranda Grounds were encouraged and facilitated to prevent the rally from taking place, in keeping with ODM’s “Bedroom Policy” of using violence to ring-fence parts of the country as no-go-zones for other political parties,” read the letter.
The party threatened to move to court to seek the arrest and prosecution of the culprits. “ODM has had a policy of engaging in violence which it has implemented over the years to suppress democratic competition, at horrendous cost of innocent Kenyans in life, limb and possessions,” the party claimed.
The party officials accused security agencies of doing little to prevent violence or bring the perpetrators to book. “Without any form of accountability, the emboldened perpetrators continue to gloat over their deeds and threaten to unleash worse mayhem in future,” the party states in the letter.
UDA said ten major incidents of violent disruption of its activities had taken place, and at least six had reported to the Inspector General of Police.
“They have all gone unattended by the IG. This negligence on the part of the security agencies is not only dismaying to all law-abiding Kenyans and disappointing to the UDA fraternity, but it also explicitly signals the state approval or support for the criminal acts of ethnic and political violence conducted in furtherance of a divisive agenda obviously focused on the 2022 General election.”
The party claimed that ODM had resorted to violence as its last option. But ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna dismissed UDA’s letter saying it was directed to the wrong person. He said trouble witnessed in the DP’s rallies were self-inflicted and urged the DP’s team to use the right channels to report criminal activities in their campaigns.
“If there are criminal occurrences in their meetings, why should they report to the President? They should report them to the police, the DCI for action,” he told People Daily.
He absolved ODM of blame saying it was a plot to soil the image of the party. “They can write as many letters to whoever they want even the Pope but it is known the troubles they are facing are of their own making. We cannot buy such theatrics.”
He said the violence witnessed in Ruto’s rallies were linked to money distributed during the events. “The police were clear about the violence in Kondele in Kisumu, that it was all about differences on money distributed. It is the same case in Jacaranda,” Sifuna added
—Additional reporting by