Two arrested for heckling President Ruto during Bomet tour

President William Ruto addressing members of the public in Bomet town on March 16, 2024. Dr Ruto condemned political violence, heckling and chaos in his rallies sponsored by leaders with competing interests. 

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Heckling incidents occurred during President William Ruto's events in Bomet County last Saturday.
  • This follows a directive by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki on Monday to investigate sponsors of the political chaos.

Police have arrested two suspects believed to be the organisers of heckling incidents that occurred during President William Ruto's events in Bomet County last Saturday.

This follows a directive by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki on Monday to investigate the sponsors of the political chaos witnessed during the president's tour of the region.

Politicians and activists in the South Rift are currently gripped by fear following the directive. Bomet County Commissioner Ahmed Omar says the two suspects are currently in police custody and efforts are underway to locate and apprehend other individuals involved in the disruptions.

Bomet County Commissioner Dr Ahmed Omar (left) and County Police Commander Robinson Ndiwa speaking to journalists at the county headquarters where he said two suspects had been arrested and others being sought in connection with heckling during the tour by President William Ruto on Saturday.

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai| Nation

While the exact number of suspects being sought has not been disclosed, investigators aim to have them record statements and subsequently face legal proceedings.

"Some of the prominent politicians involved in planning and funding the chaos witnessed during the President’s tour will be summoned to record statements. They should know that no one is above the law in this country," stated Dr Omar accompanied by County Police Commander Robinson Ndiwa.

Similar efforts are being made in Kericho County, where the police are actively seeking suspects to record statements regarding the disruptions that occurred during the President’s tour last Thursday.

CS Kindiki emphasised the need to address the growing trend of political intolerance and disruptions during public gatherings.

Speaking during visits to Kericho, Nandi, and Trans Nzoia counties, the minister called upon security officials to take decisive action against individuals involved in political hooliganism.

“The government will be firm, ruthless and merciless in dealing with financiers, sponsors, those who encourage, support and abet goons to disrupt meetings by those of different viewpoints.

The security team is tasked to rein in incidents of disorderly conduct in political meetings, conclude investigations, and apprehend the organisers, financiers, and perpetrators of hooliganism in the County, regardless of their political or social standing," Kindiki said.

He further reiterated the government's commitment to upholding law and order, emphasising that no individual, regardless of their stature, would be allowed to disrupt public meetings or incite violence.

“There is increasing intolerance among political leaders and we are asking them to conduct meetings within the law and they must maintain the peace (in their political meetings). No person is allowed to disrupt public meetings, use goons to met out violence or harass members of the public,” the CS warned after meeting with top security and administration officers in Kericho.

Governor Erick Mutai of Kericho and Governor Hillary Barchok of Bomet encountered hostile crowds during President Ruto’s tour of the South Rift. Despite attempts to address the disruptions, including pleas for order from Dr Ruto himself, the heckling persisted, reflecting underlying political tensions in the region.

President Ruto expressed his dismay at the disruptions, condemning the use of violence and disruptions during political gatherings.

He emphasised the importance of maintaining peace and urged voters to express their grievances through lawful means, such as the ballot box.