Uhuru warns against revival of PEV cases
Zadock Angira and Kirera Mwiti
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday warned against reviving the 2007/08 post-election violence cases, insisting that the country had healed.
The President maintained the political stability in the country was paramount in what appeared to be an indirect attack on the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti who announced on Monday that fresh investigations had been launched into some of the cases.
But the President’s remarks during the launch of Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) signature collection yesterday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) left it to a number of interpretations.
“Wale ambao wanajaribu kuchimba makaburi, wasifikiri wanacheza, mimi siwezi kubaliana na mambo kama hayo (Those trying to dig up old graves, let them know that it is a joke. I cannot agree with such),” he said.
In a dramatic twist that exacerbated the confusion and anxiety that has been witnessed in the country since Kinoti’s pronouncements, the President said he neither approved nor was aware of the plan and only learnt of the move through the media.
“Let us be faithful to the peace, to the stability and the unity of this nation,” he said.
Speaking at the DCI headquarters, Kinoti disclosed they received the reports on September 15 and that a total of 118 cases had been recorded that day.
Kinoti’s remarks kicked up a controversy, prompting him to issue a clarification on Tuesday that they would only dwell on the cases that were not finalised.
“If, in the course of investigations we find a particular case was determined by the courts, we do not re-open such a case.
This is because nobody can be subjected to double jeopardy as defined in our country’s Constitution,” he said.
He said it was an acknowledgement of concerns raised by Kenyans.
“I, therefore, wish to caution members of the public against being misled by those taking my statements out of the context, alluding that DCI is revisiting PEV cases,” he added.
But the President, without mentioning names, warned: “You don’t think before you talk, you don’t think before you act. You must always think before you do something.”
Kinoti has been on the receiving end, especially from the allies of Deputy President William Ruto, who have accused him of being used to settle political scores.
On Tuesday, DP Ruto tweeted: “The provocative incitement to ethnic hate/division intended by the resurrection of PEV is an evil attempt to resuscitate the tribe project destroyed by the Hustler movements’ realisation that poverty and unemployment deliberately bred by poor leadership is our problem not our tribes.”
But in what appeared to be an indirect response to his DP, Uhuru yesterday said: “Mimi siendi kwa magazeti.
Mimi nakutana na watu tuu... Hata Twitter munaona mimi nitoka huko. Hii kitu ni bure, ni matusi tu,” he said at the KICC.
Kinoti has, however, maintained that police were not involved in politics saying as law enforcers, they were only fulfilling their duties.
“We remain true to our mandate to prevent disrupt and deter crime before it occurs.
Whenever the DCI receives such complaints from a person or a group of persons regarding a threat to their security, we are duty bound to investigate expeditiously without any favour or prejudice,” Kinoti said in a statement on Tuesday.
Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah termed it an attempt rescue the BBI by driving ethnic animosity.
Recipe for chaos
A section of Kenyans yesterday expressed concern saying the President had the power to direct the DCI boss to stop the probe and wondered why he instead issue indirect and ambiguous attacks, at a public function.
Kinoti had also said the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai would meet the complainants at a later date and it was not clear whether that was to happen without the knowledge and the consent of the President
The probe, which culminated into the meeting at the DCI headquarters on Monday, has been going on for the last two months.
Yesterday, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) also questioned the move to reopen the cases.
As various leaders across the country continued to question the latest move, NCIC termed this a recipe for chaos in areas that had recorded peace and the communities had moved on.
NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia welcomed the clarification from Kinoti over the PEV cases noting that the previous statement had raised concern and fear in some quarters.
He said there was no need to reopen the cases as this would end up creating fresh tension and mistrust among communities affected by the violence.
“The victims agree what they went through was painful but they have healed and forgiven each other and there is no need to go back there again,” he said.
Dr Kobia said the commission was keen to build on the unity and forgiveness that the affected communities had reached after the bloody 2007 elections.
“As the country heads to the proposed referendum, we are keenly monitoring the situation to make sure that the nine issues identified in the BBI report are attained,” he said.
A team of detectives drawn from the Homicide, Land Fraud Unit and Gender units of the DCI have for the last three days been recording statements from victims mostly from some parts of the Rift Valley region. Kinoti said the exercise will go on without fear or favour.
“While arbitrating between conflicting parties, we give audience to all without favouritism to ensure an amicable solution is achieved. The distribution of our officers to the grassroots enables us perform this function,” he said.