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Ruto rebukes Kinoti on probe of PEV cases

By Noah Cheploen
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020
George Kinoti addresses 2007/08 post-poll violence victims on November 23, at DCI headquarters in Nairobi. Photo/PD/File
In summary
    • Legal team: Deputy President William Ruto’s legal team maintains the case facing indicted lawyer Paul Gicheru has no implications on their client.
    • Recent surrender: The government has written to the International Criminal Court saying Gicheru is on his own after his recent surrender.

Noah Cheploen @cheploennoah

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday renewed his attacks on the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti over post-election violence cases just days after the government wrote to the International Criminal Court (ICC) saying indicted lawyer Paul Gicheru is on his own after his recent surrender to the court.

In what appeared to be a well-choreographed attack on Kinoti, Ruto and several politicians allied to him accused the top detective of allowing himself to be used by unnamed individuals to propagate ethnic and political hatred. 

Although he did not mention him by name, Ruto warned that the country’s criminal investigations department was being used by unscrupulous individuals hell-bent on causing ethnic and political animosity particularly in Rift Valley.

“We have said for the last three years that criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions have ethnic and political  targets.

Now they have taken it a notch higher, that they want to use them to incite tribalism and tension in Kenya,” the DP said.

Ruto’s latest onslaught on Kinoti comes in the wake of revelations that the Kenya government will not cooperate with the ICC in the case involving Gicheru, who is accused of bribing six witnesses not to testify against the DP during Ruto’s trial at the Hague-based court.

In a letter to the Court, Kenya, through Attorney General (AG) Paul Kihara, indicated it will not enforce any conditions imposed on Gicheru should the court release him.

Yesterday, Ruto’s legal team maintained the case facing Gicheru has no implications on their client.

“The matter has no implication on my client. It really has nothing to do with the case which Ruto and radio broadcaster Joshua Sang’ faced at the ICC sometimes back, it is nothing to worry us,” said Ruto’s lawyer Katwa Kigen.

“The issue of Gicheru’s bail application has no effect. It is far removed and alien to the closed case and discharge. Personally, I wish Mr Gicheru well on his request.”

In his letter, the AG said Gicheru’s surrender to ICC was voluntary, adding there was a binding decision by the High Court in Kenya lifting the warrants of arrests on Gicheru and another suspect, Philip Bett.

“In view of the foregoing, and by dint of the existing order of the High Court, Kenya observes that it may not, at this point in time, be able to accord the Court the assistance contemplated in Rule 119(1) of the Court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, unless the said order is lifted or otherwise varied,” AG Kihara wrote.

This was in response to ICC Chamber request to Kenya on her observations regarding the request by Gicheru for conditional release to Kenya.

ICC also sought to know Kenya’s willingness and ability to enforce conditions that the court could impose on Gicheru.

Speaking in Nakuru county yesterday, Ruto sensationally claimed the DCI was now targeting people based on their tribe and political affiliation, warning the police were treading on dangerous grounds.

He said public officers should remain professional and impartial at all times.

“The abuse of criminal investigation and criminal prosecution targeting people because of their tribe or their political affiliation is the wrong thing to do,” he said, adding: “It is worse if criminal investigations and prosecutions are used to incite ethnic hate and tribalism in our nation.”

The DP, who spoke during the funeral mass for Edith Wanjiku at St Michael Catholic Church in Maili Sita, Bahati sub-county, said there were plans by unnamed individuals to revive ethnic animosity in the region for selfish political gain.

Wanjiku, the mother of Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, died at 103 years.

“I want to ask public officers charged with the responsibility of doing the job of protecting our country, not to use those offices for the wrong things. You are taking our country backwards. You will not succeed. And we pray against you and you will not go very far,” he said.

Old wounds

Referring to a much-hyped event where Kinoti hosted a section of the 2007/08 post poll violence outside the DCI offices last week, Ruto urged Kenyans to jealously guard and defend the prevailing peace and stability in the country.

Kinoti’s attempt to revive the 2007/08 cases elicited angry reactions with President Uhuru Kenyatta slamming him— publicly —for allegedly trying to open old wounds. “Those trying to open up old wounds must be warned,” the President said.

“What they are doing is not a joke,” the President said when he presided over the launch for the collection of signatures required for the Building Bridges Initiative  referendum planned for June next year.

Referring to the President’s remarks, Ruto urged the DCI boss to “use his brain”.

“Na vile Rais alisema, kila kiongozi wa serikali, wa siasa, kabla haujapanga na hujasema na hujafanya, tumia akili kama uko nayo. Tafadhali,” Ruto said yesterday.

However, a section of political leaders have maintained that Kinoti could not have acted without the knowledge and consent of his superiors, adding that the President’s speech was equivocal.

“Even the DP acknowledged that police have, for a very long time, been manipulated by the government.

According to our Constitution and the National Police Service Act, the DCI in the performance of the functions and duties of office, is under the direction, command and control of the Inspector General,” a senior government official said yesterday.

Senator Susan Kihika and MPs Martha Wangari (Gilgil), Kimani Kuria (Molo), Joseph Tonui (Kuresoi South), Charity Kathambi (Njoro), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Rahab Mukami Nyeri Women Rep), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Caleb Kositany (Soi) had set the stage calling for Kinoti’s sacking.

“We want to say categorically, we do not take our peace for granted and we will not allow anybody to interfere with the peace in any manner… there are people in this country who are competing to please somebody. Please do it without interfering with our peace,” said Kositany.

Kihika asked President Uhuru to sack Kinoti, saying he had failed in his mandate. “We are very unhappy.

He has no iota of decency, no ethics and no moral compass and if Kenya was another country he would have been sacked,” she said.

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