Police are considering charging beleaguered blogger Dennis Itumbi with treason as investigations into an alleged ‘assassination plot’ against Deputy President William Ruto entered a crucial stage.
Sources at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), who spoke in confidence, told the Sunday Nation that Mr Itumbi could be charged with the offence when he returns to court to formally take plea on Wednesday.
“Generation and circulation of a fake letter containing such contents is highly treasonable, we are considering possible charges and you cannot rule out that,” said the detective who sought anonymity because only DCI boss George Kinoto is allowed to comment on the investigation.
Mr Kinoti did not respond to our enquiries.
On Saturday, security at the Muthaiga Police Station was intensified with officers only allowing limited access to Mr Itumbi.
Some of those who wanted to see the controversial State communications official were denied access.
Mr Itumbi’s lawyer Moses Chelang’a was among those who were denied access on Friday evening with police telling him that he could not see his client after 6pm. He was, however, allowed to see Mr Itumbi Saturday.
“On Friday, the police said that we had arrived late. We were, however, able to see him on Saturday,” he said.
Mr Itumbi’s mother is also said to have been made to wait for two hours before being allowed to see him. She is said to have arrived at the station at 3pm but it was not until 5pm that she was allowed audience with her son.
Mr Itumbi’s lead lawyer Katwa Kigen also protested that his client was yet to be interrogated since he was locked up at the station on Thursday for five days.
“Nobody has talked to him, he has not even recorded any statement all this time,” said Mr Kigen.
The enhanced security at the station followed events of Wednesday night when Mr Itumbi’s visitors were allowed unlimited access to him late into the night, with the last group said to have left minutes before midnight.
Pictures of Mr Itumbi and his friends; including television journalist Jacque Maribe chatting and laughing in a room within the police station on Wednesday night were widely shared on social media.
And on Thursday, the station’s OCS Alphonse Kemengua was interdicted as the National Police Service worked to streamline operations at the police station.
Outside, allies of Dr Ruto at whose Harambee Annex office Mr Itumbi was operating from, intensified calls for his release unconditionally, maintaining that he was innocent.
Speaking in Kuria West, Migori County in the presence of Mr Ruto, his hosts, Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama and his Kuria West counterpart Mathias Robi asked the government to stop “intimidating” Mr Itumbi, who is accused of authoring a “fake” letter alleging a plot to assassinate the DP.
“Why are the detectives not going for the real planners?” said Mr Robi.
But addressing mourners in Meru County, Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya told off Mr Ruto’s allies who he accused of politicising investigations into the alleged “assassination” plot.
Mr Munya said he has never participated in a meeting to plan the assassination of any Kenyan.
Speaking during the burial of Mr Johnson Killingo, a neighbour, at Ntamichu in Tigania East, the CS said politicians should allow institutions to do their work adding that the accused deserve justice.
“You cannot give a court ultimatums. The court follows procedures. It is against the law for politicians to give the magistrate ultimatums. Those doing that are not fit to be leaders. The courts should be given time to do their work,” Mr Munya added.
He termed the alleged plot “non-existent” adding that investigations will vindicate him.
“The meetings we have held as government officers are focused on development,” he said.
MPs and Senators close to Mr Ruto accused Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho of being behind Mr Itumbi’s tribulations to cover up the assassination plot allegedly discussed during the La Mada meeting which he is said to have chaired.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen has previously demanded thorough investigations into the alleged plot to eliminate the DP, saying Mr Itumbi’s incarceration was intended to cover up the matter.
The Sunday Nation has learnt that the arrest of the blogger has shaken Dr Ruto’s camp especially of the growing perception that the letter alleging the assassination plot was authored for political gain rather than on a real threat to the DP’s life.
Publicly, the pro-Ruto team, known as Tangatanga, has put out a brave face insisting that the arrest of the blogger was a diversionary tactic and insisted that the question on the agenda of the La Mada meeting should be settled.
Two top Jubilee politicians admit that the letter was part of Team Tangatanga strategy to call out Mr Kibicho over the offensive remarks he is alleged to have made about the DP during the meeting.
Additional reporting by Ruth Mbula and David Muchui