What you need to know:
- President Kenyatta was clear that Kinoti's decision was done without proper thinking.
- Uhuru's sentiments is likely to mollify DP Ruto’s allies who have disapproved reopening of the cases.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has rebuked the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over the plan to revive criminal cases related to the 2007/08 post-election violence, warning that the move is a recipe for chaos.
In a veiled dig at DCI boss George Kinoti, the President said the events of 2007/08 are sensitive and he would not support any scheme to reopen the wounds of one of the darkest periods in Kenya’s politics.
“Those trying to open up the graves must be warned. What they are doing is not a joke,” the President said when he presided over the launch for the collection of signatures required for the referendum planned for June next year.
Mr Kinoti triggered a political storm on Monday when he announced that the agency had decided to reopen investigations into the 2007/08 post-election violence (PEV) that left more than 1,100 people dead following the highly disputed presidential poll.
The announcement by the President is likely to mollify DP William Ruto’s men who had disapproved of the reopening of the cases on the ground that it was part of the scheme to block the Deputy President from the 2022 presidential race.
Buried the hatchet
Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago has accused the DCI of playing politics with a sensitive issue and insisted nobody had been threatened.
The DCI boss said 118 cases were under investigation after several people complained of intimidation. Mr Kinoti, however, did not disclose the regions where the complaints have been reported.
“We will not let it happen again. We have received numerous complaints and we are acting on them,” Mr Kinoti said.
While President Kenyatta did not mention names, he was clear that the decision to reopen the investigations was done without proper thinking and vowed never to support the move.
“Tumetoka huko na mambo haya tumezika katika kaburi la sahau (We have already moved on and buried the hatchet),” the President said.
And as if to directly address Mr Kinoti, the President said: “If you have decided to reopen the investigations, you don’t know the kind of problem you are getting this country into.”
“Kwa sababu ukijaribu kuleta maneno hapa wewe hujui ni shida gani unaleta (You don’t know the kind of problem you are starting by reopening these cases).
Killings and displacements
“You must always think before you open your mouth. You must think before you act because we don’t want war in this country.”
In his announcement, Mr Kinoti said out of the 118 cases filed on Monday, 72 were homicides, 44 forceful displacements of persons from their homes and the rest related to gender-based violence, mostly gang rape.
Mr Kinoti has defended the latest probe, arguing that past efforts had failed to prosecute those responsible for the killings and displacements.
The President warned Mr Kinoti not to imagine that the decision “was a joke”. “Some of us know the benefits of peace. Let’s be truthful to peace, stability and unity of this nation.”
He insisted that the only way out of the current situation is to resolve underlying issues through constitutional and legal means, which, he argued, is what the BBI is seeking to do.