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'Police state' remark by Ruto ally angers Uhuru

Monday December 30 2019
RUTPIC

President Uhuru Kenyatta joins family, friends and relatives in sending off reformist Charles Rubia at Karigu-ini Primary School in Murang'a County on December 30, 2019. He warned leaders against idle talk. PHOTO | PSCU

By NDUNGU GACHANE

President Uhuru Kenyatta has told off Deputy President William Ruto’s allies over claims of police harassment.

Responding to Tangatanga leaders who have been accusing senior government officials of misusing State powers, the President told them to engage in development and not idle talk.

Kandara MP Alice Wahome, who is part of the Tangatanga brigade, on Monday told the President to his face that the dark days of the Moi era were creeping back.

She challenged him to protect the freedom fought for by second liberation heroes.

The firebrand lawmaker, who has no apologies for her unwavering support for Mr Ruto, told the President that his legacy should not be a return to the 1990s police state.

IDLE TALK

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The MP is among the DP’s lieutenants who have incessantly accused State House operatives of witch-hunt and misusing State powers against leaders they view as anti-Uhuru for associating with Mr Ruto.

“We’re living in a difficult period and there is fear of the 1990s creeping back. We have received threatening calls and it can’t and should never be [like this]. It should be your legacy to protect the democracy that was fought for and I will stand by that,” the MP told the President.

In a swift rejoinder, the President dismissed Ms Wahome’s claims, saying his administration is ably safeguarding freedoms.

“We’ve safeguarded and protected the freedom wholesomely. No one has been hindered from speaking out, even at the rooftops, and at the top of one’s voice. However, leaders are misusing the freedom by failing to use it to propagate peace, unity and in the fight against graft.

“That’s the best way to protect the freedom; not in idle talk that will not help in the fight against poverty, corruption, unemployment and tea woes. Let’s use the freedom to articulate issues to make the lives of ordinary citizens better,” the President said.

MIGUNA'S RETURN

To show that his administration is committed to safeguarding democracy and freedom of expression, the President indirectly said lawyer Miguna Miguna — one of his fiercest critics — is free to return to Kenya and continue exercising his freedom of expression.

“I hear that there are those seeking to board an aeroplane to come back to Kenya to continue talking; let them come and shout but let’s use the freedom of expression in a manner that will help Kenyans,” the President said.

The leaders spoke at Kariguini Primary School during the burial of former political detainee Charles Rubia.

Tangatanga leaders have been accusing top government officials of humiliating and undermining them for their support for Mr Ruto, claiming their bodyguards have been withdrawn and trumped-up charges filed against them

Ms Wahome has, in the past, told the Nation that the State has revived a 2012 civil suit and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is now ready to prosecute her.

She says the case is purely civil and succession in nature and has nothing to do with the DCI.

DCI BIASED

Ms Wahome is among Mr Ruto’s foot soldiers and was appointed to lead Inua Mama lobby, a group which was formed to counter Embrace Kenya that popularises the ''handshake'' and supports President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.

She believes all leaders affiliated to Mr Ruto have been targeted by the State.

Ms Wahome said the woes facing governors Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu), Stephen Sang’ (Nandi) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) are as a result of supporting Mr Ruto.

She wondered why Mt Kenya and Nyanza governors had not been arrested and charged.

“What the Nandi governor did is just like what Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has been doing -- demolishing buildings sitting on public land.

“On Governor Waititu, I’m a lawyer and I know there are files for governors in Mt Kenya and Nyanza that are ready for prosecution but since it is illegal to support Mr Ruto, some governors’ files have been fast-tracked,” she told the Nation.

JUBILEE AGENDA

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa, a confidant of Mr Ruto, said there are forces in the "Stop Ruto Movement" who want to use their position to intimidate the DP's supporters.

“If anyone imagines that we can live in fear and in the old era, where you could coerce people or intimidate them into submission to certain political inclinations like Stop Ruto Movement, that is somebody living in the past.

We’re focused on working to propel forward the Jubilee agenda of transforming Kenya, and those in politics to frustrate Ruto will continue to suffer frustrations as Kenyans are not stupid. They will differentiate between those doing 'Stop Ruto' politics from those advancing the Jubilee agenda,” he told the Nation.

ROGUE STATE OFFICERS

Mr Ichung’wa directed his anger towards Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, whom he accused of insubordination.

“Who is Kibicho to a DP elected by millions of people to furnish him with [Mr Ruto’s] itinerary?

“It is this kind of arrogance and impunity by civil servants dabbling in politics under the guise of managing security that is undermining our Constitution, our national values and getting the nation into unnecessary political narratives,” he said.

He accused Dr Kibicho of being among the ''underwriters and sponsors of the Stop Ruto Movement'' but said they would not allow them to use public offices to advance their agendas.

He said he has received death threats, but vowed to stay put and to always speak his mind and stand up for justice and fairness across the board.

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