Deputy President William Ruto’s camp has taken the campaign war with ODM leader Raila Odinga to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s doorstep, alleging State-backed violence at UDA meetings.
UDA officials Veronica Maina and Johnson Muthama on Monday wrote to President Kenyatta, the chairperson of the National Security Council, blaming their opponents for the violence and claiming that some people had condoned the violence.
“We write to express our profound concern about recent deeply worrying security incidents, sustained by official inaction and condonement by the State, and their implications in the light of the impending General election, and national stability in general,” UDA states in the letter.
The party argued that meetings had been disrupted several times and that at least six cases were reported to the police commissioner.
“They have all gone unattended by his office,” the letter says, adding that “the inaction explicitly signals the State’s approval or support for the criminal acts of ethnic and political violence conducted in furtherance of a divisive agenda obviously focused on the 2022 General Election.”
The letter listed seven incidents that took place on the stated dates and in the stated locations, including a violent clash at a party convention in Kisii town in September 2020, a protest by Kisii residents on October 4, 2020, a second violent clash by party supporters in Mahoo Ward in Taita Taveta on August 24, 2021 and several party meetings that were disrupted by violence in Busia on October 23, 2021 and Kondele in Kisumu on November 10, 2021.
“Without your impartial and proactive enforcement of the legal framework to uphold constitutional freedoms, human rights, democratic participation and national cohesion, your government will in effect be enabling the ODM and Azimio to set the stage for an extremely troubled General Election season in 2022,” UDA says in the letter.
The letter was copied to the police boss, National Intelligence Service Director-General Phillip Kameru, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, the chief prosecutor and others.
The latest incident is the chaos that rocked the DP’s rally in Nairobi at the weekend, the party notes.
“On Sunday, January 16, 2022, at the Jacaranda grounds in Nairobi’s Embakasi East constituency of Nairobi County, a gang of rowdy goons chanting “ODM”, “Raila” and “Azimio” slogans violently attacked people who had turned up to listen to the Deputy President who was touring the area,” the letter says.
“As ODM becomes increasingly overwhelmed by political competition, violence remains its last desperate resort,” UDA claims.
The UDA officials say that although the youths’ attempt to disrupt the rally failed, “the apprehension, injury and alarm caused to innocent members of the public cannot be ignored.”
Government spokesperson Col Cyrus Oguna, however, dismissed the protests from the DP’s camp as mere “political rhetoric”.
“This is political rhetoric with no facts and substance…The President has more important things to do for Kenyans,” Mr Oguna said.
Police spokesperson Bruno Shioso responded: “I can’t comment on a letter written to the President on State matters.”
ODM has also dismissed UDA’s attempt to link Mr Odinga and the party to the chaos during the Sunday meeting in Nairobi.
“Our attention has been drawn to a statement by UDA regarding events at their botched rally in Nairobi on Sunday. In the past two weeks, the national conversation has remained centred around the UDA brigade’s warning to everyone they call “madoadoa” to leave the Rift Valley, or face the consequences of making a free choice at the ballot,” ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna said, referring to an offensive statement by Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.
Mr Sifuna added that “because the focus has shone on them for their reckless talk and conduct, UDA and its warmonger leader have been desperate for ways to deflect attention from the madoadoa grave they dug themselves into”.
“They have been craving any remote chance to besmirch the names of President Uhuru, Rt Hon Odinga and (Interior) CS Matiangi, in a desperate attempt to draw false parallels and hand us the violence skunk they are breeding. We want the violence network in UDA to know that ODM will not carry your madoadoa burden,” he added.
He blamed what he termed DP Ruto’s “philosophy of handouts” to the youth to attend his rallies that he claimed had boomeranged on him when aggrieved youths “demand their share of the loot and disrupt his rallies”.
“It happened in Kondele, Kieni and there is every reason to believe that is exactly what happened at Jacaranda too. May it go on record that the Rt Hon Odinga has indicated that he is running to create one indivisible country, a far cry from the DP’s tribal and class-wars mentality.”
He said ODM welcomes the call for the police, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and other investigative agencies to look into the chaos at Jacaranda.
“We have no doubt that the same conclusions as were drawn in Kondele, the fake assassination claims and fake abductions will be reached,” Mr Sifuna said.