Kenya: Nyoro Arrest Exposes Deep Rifts in Ruling Party

11 September 2019

The arrest and immediate release of Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro on Tuesday has exposed the depth of cracks in the ruling Jubilee Party ahead of the 2022 polls.

Secret talks involving Monday night meetings and numerous phone calls led to the surprise dropping of charges against Mr Nyoro, the Nation can reveal.

The behind-the-scenes efforts partly played a role in the freedom of the legislator who accused senior government officials of being behind his dramatic arrest after Sunday's chaos at Gitui Catholic Church.

POLITICISATION

This emerged Tuesday as 40 Jubilee MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto singled out Interior PS Karanja Kibicho as the man behind the woes facing the MP, claiming the PS was using the instruments of State to persecute political opponents to paint the ruling party in bad light.

Led by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwa and Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, the MPs claimed during a press conference at Parliament Buildings that Dr Kibicho has converted the National Police Service into his personal militia to undermine his opponents and vowed to stand up and resist what they called the PS's "bullying tactics".

"The police brutality and politicisation of the service has become the norm since Mr Mutyambai took over as the Inspector General. We condemn these acts because it goes contrary to constitutional provisions," Mr Cheruiyot said.

Mr Ichungwah went further to claim that apart from the police service, the PS has roped in such other State agencies as the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) as a means of silencing government critics and challenged him to resign and join politics.

PARTISAN

"Dr Kibicho is using these agencies to lodge political wars especially to those who do not conform to his political beliefs. We will not allow people who were appointed to offer apolitical service to use their positions to play politics."

The MP, who chairs the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the National Assembly, declared that Parliament will hold personally liable public officers who allow their agencies to be involved in partisan politics as that is tantamount to waste of public resources.

"We are going to make the National Police Service vote independent and detach it from the Office of the President to pre-empt its misuse by people like Dr Kibicho," he said, warning the PS: "You can't get power through the barrel of the gun."

Soon after his release on Monday night, Mr Nyoro had singled out Dr Kibicho for being behind his woes.

The PS, in a rejoinder, accused some politicians of dragging his name in political battles.

ANONYMOUS

"When people are in trouble, let them handle their problems and leave Kibicho alone. They blame me because they want to convert criminal events into a political problem," Mr Kibicho said.

Those in the full picture of the behind the scenes talks told the Nation that by charging Mr Nyoro, it would give credence to concerns that the government was selectively applying the law on Jubilee's factions Kieleweke and Tanga Tanga adherents.

"It is true that if he (Nyoro) was to be charged there would be an escalation of concerns that the government is applying double standards as the regional politics heats up. The impartiality was critical at that point," said an MP from the region who chose to remain anonymous.

Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata, who is Mr Nyoro's lawyer, claimed he negotiated with the 'powers that be' to drop the charges against his client.

"There was a time Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu did something similar but he was never charged. I told them that they would create an aspect of unfairness," he said.

Additional reporting by Ibrahim Oruko

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