Allies of the Deputy President are facing unprecedented pressure from supporters and competitors as the team prepares for the 2022 elections. These include arrests, party takeovers and probes that culminated in the arrest of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua on Friday.
On Friday evening, the DP tweeted in support of the arrested MP.
The arrest comes as one of the founders of Mr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party sought to control the political outfit, which was used by the DP to win the Kiambaa by-election. The party’s former chairman Mohamed Noor has filed a petition at the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) seeking to regain control of the party. Mr Noor accuses UDA chairman Johnstone Muthama and secretary-general Veronica Maina of illegally taking over the party without regard to its constitution.
Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu confirmed that her office received a complaint over the formation of UDA, which is linked to Mr Ruto.
UDA was formerly Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju’s Party Of Action (POA) before it transformed to Party for Development and Reforms (PDR) that has since been rebranded UDA.
According to Ms Nderitu, her office will act on the matter based on what the PPDT will decide.
“Yes, I did get the complaint. It is an issue they have taken to PPDT and since it is in the court, we now wait for it to resolve,” she told the Saturday Nation.
Mr Ruto, who is in an all-out war with his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta, has declared that he will use the party for his first stab at the presidency but the intrigues could derail the roll out of the political vehicle.
In addition, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria is fighting to retain control of the People’s Empowerment Party, a political outfit that backs the DP and recently won the Juja by-elections.
Yesterday, politicians allied to Mr Ruto alluded to the growing pressure, claiming that after Mr Gachagua’s arrest, more arrests had been planned against leaders allied to the DP.
They pointed an accusing finger at Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his PS Karanja Kibicho over the arrest, but provided no evidence of their involvement.
The leaders who spoke just hours after detectives arrested the Mathira MP at his Nyeri home said the actions by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, were part of a wider scheme by the government to intimidate and frustrate dissidents.
They said the arrest of the MP was not only sinister, but also suspect coming days after the defeat of the ruling Jubilee party by UDA in the Kiambaa by-election.
And speaking at Parliament Buildings, Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa, Alice Wahome of Kandara, Nakuru senator Susan Kihika, Irungu Kang’ata of Murang’a and Aaron Cheruyiot of Kericho also alleged that they were in possession of documents that had sanctioned the arrests and planned more arrests and chaos, and asked the President to intervene and avert possible violence ahead of the polls.
The MPs said that they were also aware of a larger scheme by the government to use the police and other security agencies to sponsor and create chaos with the aim of managing and disrupting next year’s elections, and even postponing the vote.
The Kikuyu MP said the plan was to either postpone or disrupt the elections, adding that documents within their possessions had shown that the police had been co-opted into the scheme. He said that options, including a possible impeachment of CS Matiang’i over abuse of office charges, were still open.
“That is why we have said to them, that cabal in the Office of the President, that you shall be held personally liable of any incidence of violence, both locally and internationally. The intention is because they have failed to influence political outcomes of elections and they have seen it through the by-elections and therefore they think that their last resort is violence using state agencies like the police,” said Mr Ichung’wa.
The Ministry of Interior did not answer to calls or respond to texts messages when contacted for a response.
Mr Ichung’wa said the arrest of Mr Gachagua was one of the many that the government had planned for leaders allied to the DP and who had played a central role in the past by-elections, adding that they were aware of plans to arrest him and Mr Kuria in the coming weeks.
“I am aware that they had asked and have been reviewing some of my old tapes with the view of finding something to arrest me for. I want to tell them that if they want me to incite, then they should organise a public rally for me. We know that they also plan to arrest Mr Kuria on Monday,” Mr Ichung’wa said.
Mr Kang’ata said: “The arrest of Rigathi Gachagua so far as we know it is based on trumped up charges. In fact, we are headed there (to the DCI) to ask why he was arrested in the first place.”
Mr Gachagua, who was detained by detectives at the DCI headquarters in Nairobi, dismissed the charges against him, saying that his predicaments were tied to the Kiambaa by-election where UDA candidate John Njuguna Wanjiku trounced Jubilee’s Njama Kariri.
“As predicted, two dozens of DCI officers raided my Nyeri home and arrested me to face trumped-up charges of money laundering. I am being driven to Nairobi at reckless speed to spend the weekend in the cells. I appreciate, it is bitterness with the loss of the Kiambaa by-election. Though I played minimal role, I had no vote. Kiambaa was just a tip of the iceberg, the handshake state faces a humiliating defeat in 2022,” said Mr Gachagua.
Kandara MP Alice Wahome alleged that there was an elaborate plan by officials in the Office of the President to create a separate unit of the police that would be used to fuel the chaos, a claim she said was supported by documents and letters that were in their possession authored by the Ministry of Interior sanctioning the move.
“The salient particulars of this information are that on July 2, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Interior Karanja Kibicho through his deputy Moffat Kangi wrote to the Inspector General of the police requiring, to establish a sub-committee for the development of criteria to guide government measures to arm chiefs and sub-chiefs in the country.”
“To prepare a concept note on the proposed establishment of a police unit for the national government administrative officers separate from the national police service, the way the administration police used to do,” said Ms Wahome.