26 September 2012

Kenya: Uhuru Disowns Waititu

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday disowned Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu following utterances he made on Monday. Waititu made remarks that appeared to incite his constituents against members of the Maasai community.

"From today I want all Maasais chased away from here. They should go back to where they came from. They are not welcome in Kayole," Kiss TV quoted Waititu saying in Kayole on Monday.

A guard was killed and another seriously injured in Kayole on Monday afternoon minutes after Waititu urged residents to evict Maasais from the populous estate over the killing of a garbage collector who had allegedly stolen chicken from a cafe in Kona market.

Police were last night looking to arrest the former Nairobi city councillor after Internal Security minister Katoo ole Metito and the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko ordered his arrest.

In his statement yesterday, Uhuru demanded that Waititu, one of his ardent supporters, apologises to Kenyans and the Maasai community for his comments. "I strongly condemn any kind of comments and actions that can either be seen to be divisive or against national unity.

This is because TNA, its members and myself are strong advocates of national unity, togetherness, national cohesion and integration. More importantly, Kenya, including Nairobi, belongs to all of us.

"If Waititu believes in the values and beliefs of TNA, I demand that he apologises to the people of Kenya and the concerned community for the comments attributed to him yesterday," said Uhuru.

Waititu has been accompanying Uhuru across the country on his presidential campaigns and is believed to be one of his key point-men in Nairobi. He has attended several TNA strategy meetings.

Yesterday Waititu defended himself in Parliament saying that his remarks were aimed at foreigners who were threatening law and order in Embakasi. He, however, later apologised for the incident and promised to ensure that his constituents live in peace. "I had no intention of causing tension or disharmony," Waititu said.

Heritage minister William ole Ntimama demanded Waititu's arrest for allegedly inciting his constituents to kill Masaais who guard most of the business and residential premises in Embakasi.

"Waititu asked his constituents to hunt down and kill Maasais who killed the robbers. Three young innocent Maasai men were killed as a result. This is unacceptable and must be stopped," Ntimama said.

Tobiko had earlier asked the police to apprehend and prosecute the Maasai guards and street boys involved in the fighting that resulted in the death of two people and the injury of several others.

"Clearly the Maasai guards involved in the killing of the street boy and the street boys involved in the killing of the guard and injuring of the other took law into their hands and committed grave acts of criminality for which they must be punished. In addition Hon Waititu should be held responsible for his utterances.

He not only incited people to violence, but also incited feelings of hatred and hostility against the Maasai community. This is therefore to advise that you cause prompt action to be taken to ensure that all those found to have been involved including Hon Waititu are immediately apprehended and brought to justice," a letter from the DDP's office addressed to the Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere reference number ODPP/CAM/012/121 said.

The incident began when the guards fatally injured a garbage collector whom they accused of stealing from a cafe. In a revenge attack immediately after Waititu's utterances, a guard was killed and another seriously injured. The Maasai council of elders has demanded Waititu's arrest for hate speech.

Council chairman Kasaine ole Esho said the MP's remarks ridiculed the community. In press briefing in Narok town yesterday, Esho said that the statements can lead to tension especially at this time that the country is preparing for elections.

"We demand a public apology from Waititu. The Maasai community are peaceful people and usually welcome all the races in their region regardless of their ethnic backgrounds," he said.

Esho said under the constitution, every Kenyan has a right to live anywhere in the country. The elder urged President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to sack Waititu as Water assistant minister.

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