An aide of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was questioned by police for the second time on Monday even as a civil rights activist laid claim to the group at the centre of Eliud Owalo’s troubles.
Mr Owalo, who headed Mr Odinga’s Presidential Campaign Secretariat for the March 4 General Election, is being questioned by security agents over claims of an impending uprising against the government. He has, however, refused to record a statement, saying, he had not committed any offence.
His lawyer, Mr Harun Ndubi, said police had made 11 allegations against his client. Police, he said, were concerned that the alleged activities would be marked by chaos similar to the Saba Saba riots of 1990 that forced President Moi to yield to demands for introduction of multiparty politics.
“Police are saying that he is intending to mobilise the youth in urban centres and slums to cause civil disobedience and that he is planning to provoke the police into long-running battles with the view to cause commotion,” Mr Ndubi said.
Police further asked him about other reports including forming a “standby force” consisting of young people in major slums and towns.
Police investigations have linked Mr Owalo to a movement called March 4 Movement (M4M), which, they say, plans to cause civil disobedience.
However, the matter has taken a new twist after activist Okiya Omtatah wrote to the CID claiming ownership of a movement cited in the case.
In a letter to the head of the Serious Crimes Unit John Kariuki, Mr Omtatah acknowledged leadership of the M4M, arguing that there was nothing seditious or underground in the formation. (READ: Police set to quiz more suspects as mystery over ‘March 4 Movement’ deepens)
Mr Omtatah absolved Mr Owalo from claims that he is linked to the outfit, which, he said, was openly planning to roll out mass campaigns on a proposal to amend the Constitution to prevent populous communities from dominating minorities in elections.
“M4M is a progressive and an above board campaign aimed at amending Article 138 of the Constitution of Kenya so as to move the country from the so-called ‘tyranny of numbers’ to the safety of numbers,” Mr Omtatah said.
He has also forwarded to the CID a letter he wrote to IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan on April 14 notifying him of his group’s intentions to campaign for the constitutional amendment.
Mr Ndubi said police claimed to have information that the activities would be funded in US dollars and the money would be sent from Britain.
Mr Owalo was required to explain what he knew about it.
The money was to be channelled to Kenya disguised as foreign exchange for Somalia, Uganda and South Sudan.
A Nairobi law firm would be used to “hide” the cash, Mr Ndubi said police revealed to them.
It is these claims that Mr Owalo said he would not respond to unless police told him the offence he had committed as well as the complainant against him.
“I have declined to respond to those allegations and write a statement because I am a stranger to those allegations. They are unable to establish any offence for which I was summoned. As and when they establish any offence, I’m willing to come back and engage them in further discourse,” he said.
Mr Owalo was first questioned on Tuesday last week, but declined to have a statement taken.
Mr Odinga’s aide has also been threatened with lawsuits by two top security officials. Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi and National Security Intelligence Service boss Michael Gichangi have threatened to sue Mr Owalo over claims he made ahead of the election.
In letters written in February and March, the two top security chiefs’ lawyers say allegations of a plan to rig the elections were untrue and cast them in bad light.
On Monday, Mr Waweru Gatonye, who is representing General Karangi, declined to comment on the matter until he consults his client.
Efforts to get a comment from Maj-Gen Gichangi’s lawyers were unsuccessful as a lead partner in the Mohammed Muigai Advocates was said to be out of the country.
On Monday, Mr Owalo arrived at the CID headquarters at 11am and left shortly after 1pm.
Police also claim civil society organisations would be used to support the anti-government campaign.
Mr Ndubi noted that police revealed that Mr Owalo planned to take advantage of the ongoing cases at the International Criminal Court to cause a diplomatic and public relations crisis.
President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto face crimes against humanity charges in The Hague over the 2007 post-election violence in which 1,300 people died and over 600,000 others displaced.
The lawyers and supporters of Mr Owalo, who accompanied him to the CID headquarters dismissed the police claims.
“What police are saying is neither logical nor coherent. This is a shameful act meant to take the country backwards. I urge the government not to be tempted to use high-handedness,” Mr Ndubi said.