NASA and Jubilee campaign teams are engaging in dangerous rhetoric, with presidential candidate Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta’s running mate William Ruto in sharp focus.
The Jubilee side was on Friday pushing for multi-agency investigative bodies to charge Raila over claims that he asked a community in Kajiado to shun others that have settled in the area.
The President has repeatedly claimed Raila was inciting Kenyans since the audio recording in which the Opposition leader asked the Maasai to stop selling land to outsiders went viral on Wednesday.
“Kenya cannot be led through tribal or divisive politics, we cannot achieve our development goals unless we unite,” Uhuru said in Kakamega yesterday.
The Jubilee team insists that Raila’s call amounts to incitement and may trigger ethnic tension.
Yesterday, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Directorate of Public Prosecution said they will back up detectives from the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) in un-coding Raila’s remarks.
But as the matter became a criminal probe, ODM leaders defended their party boss against accusations of incitement, saying his statement was misinterpreted.
In Nairobi, NCIC Chairman Francis Kaparo, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Keriako Tobiko and CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro separately told Sunday Standard they were reviewing the remarks asking Kajiado residents not to sell their land to outsiders.
Jubilee, which invited the NCIC to investigate and prosecute Raila for the sentiments, argues that the remarks, coming weeks to the elections, are likely to cause ethnic tension that could be a recipe for anarchy.
In its official complaint to NCIC, Jubilee, through its Secretary General Raphael Tuju, argues that Raila’s sentiments were inciteful, setting residents of Kajiado against others who are not of the same ethnic, social, political and religious background.
“It instills fear to non-Maasai residents in the area by telling them not to go where members of that community are,” said Tuju in his complaint. He called for sanctions against Raila “commensurate to the gravity of the offence”.
But Siaya Senator James Orengo led Opposition leaders in dismissing the calls for Raila to be investigated, saying the statement should not be taken out of context. Orengo accused President Kenyatta and his Jubilee team of relying on propaganda and fake news on social media to vilify Opposition leaders.
“The attack on our presidential candidate is unfortunate. Raila never uttered the words in the manner they are saying. They should get their facts right,” said Orengo in Ugenya during the burial of his uncle, Joseph Orengo.
“Raila’s address on the issue of land is very clear and nobody should try to misinterpret it for their own selfish ends. He said that indigenous communities had the right on their communal land.”
But Tobiko told Sunday Standard that the sentiments were under investigation as the Constitution allows every Kenyan to own property and live in any part of the country and registering as voters wherever they have owned the property.
“The DCI and NCIC have started investigations on the alleged utterances by Raila in Kajiado. The report is expected in my office before the end of next week. Nobody will be allowed to incite Kenyans,” Tobiko said.
Kaparo warned that NCIC will not be cowed by “the status or personality” of any person who they find to be inciting communities for political gains.
He said his commission and other agencies were working through the weekend to find if the sentiments by Raila could stand criminal prosecution.
“It does not matter who one is or what position he is going for in the political contest. We will not allow reckless statements geared towards winning anyone political mileage, worse still done through inciting ethnic emotions against members from other communities,” Kaparo said.