Kenya: DCI Re-Opens Post Election Violence Cases After New Threats

Armed youths at the height of the post-election violence in 2008 (file photo).
23 November 2020

Nairobi — Detectives have reopened investigations into the country's 2007-08 Post Election Violence (PEV) that left more than 1,100 people killed.

The Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said the investigation was reopened following complaints by several communities that are being profiled and intimidated amid rising political temperatures in the country.

Those who have lodged complaints and expressed fears for their lives include past victims of the 2007-08 Post Election Violence (PEV), the worst electoral chaos in the country that displaced more than half a million people from their homes.

"We will not let it happen again," said George Kinoti, the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), "we have received numerous complaints and we are acting on them."

Kinoti spoke at the DCI Headquarters on Monday, as more than 150 people, mainly from Rift Valley-the epicenter of the 2007-08 election violence, recorded statements.

Kinoti said 118 cases had been recorded, including 72 by people whose relatives were killed in the post-election violence and were still receiving threats.

He said 44 others are from people who were kicked out of their homes, some returned but are still living under threats.

Kinoti said they are taking action because the threats and intimidation reported by some of the victims are similar to what happened in the country in 2007-08.

"It is a matter we cannot take lightly because we all saw what happened in our country. People were well profiled and deliberately perceived as enemies just because of their voting pattern," Kinoti said, "in the end, many people were killed, their houses burnt and many uprooted from their homes."

Six individuals, including President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto were indicted at the time by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for various roles, but their cases were dropped for lack of evidence.

The two had been charged alongside then Police Commissioner Mohamed Ali, Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, former Minister Henry Kosgey and Radio Presenter Joshua Arap Sang. All their cases were dropped for lack of evidence.

Locally, several suspects were arrested and charged but there has been no update on the progress of their cases that were largely stagnant for lack of proper evidence or witnesses to testify.

"We are going back to these cases because people are being threatened, we cannot allow this to happen again in our country," Kinoti said, "we have heard from the victims and they all know who are threatening them. We will protect them."

Kenya's political temperatures have been rising as the country prepares for the 2022 presidential election, a high stakes vote in which leaders are angling to succeed incumbent President Kenyatta who is on his second and final term after re-election in 2017.

The political temperatures have been fuelled by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) spearheaded by President Kenyatta and his handshake partner Raila Odinga and which will culminate to a national referendum to amend laws.

Kenyatta's Deputy William Ruto has emerged as the leader of the opposing side, dismissing the initiative as a "more divisive agenda" after he was told that there will be no amendments to the final document.

Ruto is pushing for consensus-building before the document can be subjected to a national referendum.

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