Illegal weapons: DCI seeks to search homes of Kisii Governor Arati supporters

Cathrine Njue

Kisii County Criminal Investigations Officer Cathrine Njue with Interior CS Kithure Kindiki in his recent visit to Kisii.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

In a new twist in Kisii County politics, the government, through the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), has asked the court to allow it to search the homes of 14 supporters of Governor Simba Arati.

In the Miscellaneous Criminal Application at the Kisii Chief Magistrate's Court, the DCI alleges that the 14 people are in possession of illegal weapons which they have been using to commit various crimes in Kisii County.

The prosecution alleges that there is a credible intelligence report that the accused have illegal weapons meant for committing crimes and disrupting peace in Kisii County.

 “I have information that the respondents are organising criminal activities which are a threat to the public safety and that of the entire Kisii County. I am carrying investigations of the respondents’ pursuit to intelligence reports…,” reads an affidavit by the Kisii County Criminal Investigations Officer Cathrine Njue. 

As such, she requested the Court to issue her with an order for a search warrant “to enter, search and obtain any crucial information, documents and items from the homes or houses belonging to all respondents”.

The DCI submits that sections 1118, 119 and 120 of the criminal procedure code give the court power to issue a search warrant, upon an application.

Further, the DCI notes that Section 22 of the criminal procedure code gives a police officer the power to search a place entered by a person to be arrested and the power to break into or out of a house.

“The national police service has the ultimate constitutional duty to detect, investigate and prevent the commission of crimes and ensure that the law and order is maintained… there is an urgent need for the court to issue the prayers sought by the applicant,” the application signed by Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Joseph Kimathi reads.

The supporters of the governor on the DCI’s radar are David Nyakwama, Japheth Mosoti, Danfas Kengere Omwando alias Abass, David Okindo alias Bongo, Dennis Nchiore alias Mzungu and Patrick Onsongo.

Governor Simba Arati: Gunshots fired were aimed at me

Others are Francis Moenga Omesa, Ogeto Sanzu, Justus Moraba, Hezborn Mochama, Clinton Musioma Omosa, Isaac Omanga, Paul Kabosi and Dennis Nyakwama.

Initially, Governor Arati’s counsels George Morara and Zelmer Bonuke headed to court; claiming that the police were allegedly profiling as goons 13 of the governor’s “innocent” supporters.

They were successful in obtaining a court order that barred any arrests of the suspects by the State or any person that is acting under the instruction of the State.

"... ex parte and pending the hearing and determination of this application, this honourable court be pleased to issue a conservatory order restraining the respondents, their servants, agents, junior officers and, or anybody from arresting, harassing or otherwise however interfering with the applicants, “ordered Justice Teresa Odera.

According to the duo, the profiled supporters of the governor were David Nyakwama, Japheth Mosoti, Danfas Kengere, David Okindo, Paul Momanyi, Dennis Nchiore and Patrick Onsongo.

Others are Isaac Omanga, Dennis Nyakwama, Joseph Machoka, Jared Onchari and Ogeto Samson.

Comparing the two lists, Paul Momanyi, Joseph Machoka, Jared Onchari and Samson Ogeto who were on the lawyers’ list are not on the DCI list.

The DCI list, however, has new names and one extra person.

The application that is being handled by the two lawyers had listed the Kisii County Police Commander Charles Keses, Kisii County Criminal Investigations Officer Christine Njue,  and the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome, as first, second and third respondents, respectively.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights was listed in the case as an Interested Party.

Mr Morara and Mr Bonuke had earlier explained that the list of the perceived goons was given to them by Ms Njue.

In the application, the lawyers are contesting the branding of the said persons as goons and the intended arrest by the State which they claimed had "no lawful course".

"Kenya is a constitutional democracy and we hope that the respective institutions or particular entities that have been served (with the court order) will obey them and give the rule of law and justice a chance," Mr Morara said then.

In the miscellaneous application number E018 of 2024, the 13 applicants cited Articles 2,19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 47, 48, 49, 50, 258, 259 and 260 of the Constitution of Kenya; which relates to their liberty, freedoms and security.

The lawyers had put on notice any police officer who may allegedly want to be (mis)used by politicians to intimidate people.

The alleged profiling of Mr Arati's supporters came just days after Mr Arati and Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu clashed at a funeral in Kisii County.

At the funeral, government officials led by CS Machogu were heckled.

Before the heckling incident, Mr Arati's bursary distribution event in Nyakembene, South Mugirango was disrupted by hooligans leading to the shooting of four people.

The moment armed men attacked Kisii Governor Simba Arati in South Mugirango

The shooting incident was linked to the political wars of Governor Arati and his arch-rival, the South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro.

Mr Osoro immediately distanced himself from the incident saying that he had avoided going to Nyakembene Centre where he was to launch a road construction project because he had been informed that the governor was having another function there.

Governor Arati reported the matter to Kisii Central Police Station.

In 2023, Mr Arati was quoted saying that one of his supporters was killed for wearing a t-shirt bearing his (Arati's) image.

Governor Arati has suspected foul play; often alleging that the security apparatus in the county was being misused by his political rivals led by Mr Osoro.

At one time, he reported to his Gusii Stadium office only to find fully armed General Service Unit officers "relaxing" outside his office.

Mr Arati interpreted the GSU presence as intimidation by his rivals who are currently working in the ruling Kenya Kwanza government.

Mr Arati was elected on an Orange Democratic Movement ticket, an opposition party.