Govt defends chiefs for allegedly engaging in politics
Kenya Kwanza leaders have warned of an ongoing national Identity cards mop-up exercise allegedly being undertaken by chiefs in Kirinyaga aimed at suppressing voters' turnout.
The leaders who included National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Governor Anne Waiguru and Tharaka Nithi senator Kithure Kindiki, accused principal secretary Karanja Kibicho of allegedly instructing chiefs to mob up the IDs.
The leaders said voters were being given money in exchange for their identity cards in exercises disguised as training conferences.
Muturi said the ID mop-up is meant to deny voters the right to participate in the August 9 polls.
"We are asking you to take the money being given out by PS Kibicho and use it because it is your money. This is the money you pay as taxes. Use the money and ensure you vote for Ruto," Muturi said.
Muturi asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to appreciate those who helped him ascend to power after the nullification of his election in 2017 because he had given up.
"Uhuru wanted to abandon Kenyans in the hour of need and this could have sunk the country into chaos. It's us together with Ruto who forced him to accept repeat polls," he added.
Governor Waiguru asked voters not to sell their voting rights to those buying their IDs.
She said the ongoing relief food distribution being spearheaded by chiefs under PS Kibicho was meant to coerce voters to support Azimio Presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Waiguru asked chiefs to refuse to be used by state operatives to interfere with the elections.
However, the ministry of Interior PS Dr Karanja Kibicho denied the claims saying that chiefs are professionals and are acting according to the law.
Speaking in Kathaka Primary in Ndia Constituency, Kibicho defended the chiefs noting that they are not aligned with any political formation ahead of the August 9 elections.
"Our chiefs are neutral and acting within the law. They also take part in various government programs like distributing relief food and that cannot be interpreted as conducting campaigns, it has been happening since independence," the PS said.