DP Ruto: Uhuru's government using NIS to help Raila win August polls

Deputy President William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto. He has opened a new war front with the State over what he says is abuse of intelligence information and services to the advantage of his main competitor, Mr Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto Tuesday opened a new war front with the State over what he says is abuse of intelligence information and services to the advantage of his main competitor, Mr Raila Odinga.

In a letter, the DP’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) raised complaints with the Intelligence Service Complaints Board over what they term misuse of national security organs to advance political interests of Mr Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition.

Mr Odinga has been endorsed by President Uhuru Kenyatta for the presidency and has enjoyed presence of key Cabinet Secretaries and government officials, some of whom have openly expressed confidence about the former prime minister’s impending win in August.

The party said the use of NIS as a political tool to further interests of a political party poses a threat to a peaceful electoral process.

This, the UDA party says, will lead to compromising of the electoral process “through the unlawful, unconstitutional and reckless use of intelligence information”.

Provide an explanation

Consequently, the Dr Ruto-led party gave the board and National Intelligence Service (NIS) boss 14 days to provide an explanation, failure to which they will resort to legal action.

They argued that it is within the mandate of NIS to ensure no actor within the public or private sector leverages its resources to undermine the ongoing pursuit of a free and fair electoral process in August 2022.

“It is the quintessential national interest that Kenya remains a stable state. A free and democratic election is a fundamental pillar in guaranteeing this stability and security,” reads in part a letter dated June 7, 2022 and addressed to the IEBC as well as international bodies.

In the letter by Mutuma Gichuru and Associates Advocates, UDA raised concerns over what they said were “unlawful, unconstitutional and reckless use of intelligence” information by the Principal Secretary for Interior Dr Karanja Kibicho to further the interests of Azimio in the August 9 polls.

First round win

The letter cited that on the eve of last week’s Madaraka Day, Dr Kibicho alleged that intelligence reports by NIS showed that Mr Odinga would purportedly secure a first round win in the August elections with 60 per cent of the votes.

“We want to know whether the Director-General authorised and or allowed the release of NIS Reports or polling information for the subsequent use by the said PS to advance the interests and cause of the Azimio Party and to undermine the confidence of Kenyans in the fairness of the presidential electoral process,” UDA said in the letter.

It went ahead: “Whereas such utterances would ordinarily be dismissed as unfounded, populist, insignificant and inconsequential, they are in this instance of grave concern to our client considering that the source of such information has been attributed to NIS reports by none other than the Principal Secretary of Interior and Coordination of National Government whose Cabinet Secretary sits in the National Security Council.”

DP Ruto had swiftly responded to the claims by the Interior PS, daring Dr Kibicho to make the report public if they are certain Mr Odinga is leading in the polls.

The DP argued that, constitutionally, he had access to the report, which he insisted put him ahead of Mr Odinga by eight per cent.  “I want to challenge the public officials if they are serious about what they are saying, let them publish the report they are talking about that is coming from NIS,” said Dr Ruto last week.

The DP’s camp wants to know how classified information got its way into wrong hands, saying the occurrence was an outright breach and abuse of NIS’s mandate.

They argued that NIS Director-General Philip Kameru is the custodian of all reports of the NIS and it is his obligation to ensure such reports are kept confidential and serve only national interest as well as promote national security.

Remedial measures

Subsequently, UDA wants to know what remedial measures have been taken by the NIS in light of the breach.

UDA has given Mr Kameru and the NIS board two weeks to provide an acceptable finding or explanation to their grievances.

Further, they want an assurance that NIS will desist from partisan conduct including acting in furtherance of the interests of a political party or frustrating any political objective recognised by the Constitution.