It's my duty to meet chiefs, Matiang'i tells Ruto

Interor CS Fred Matiang'i. [File, Standard]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has denied allegations by Kenya Kwanza that the government is using chiefs and other local administrators to campaign for Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

Speaking at Mary Mount Secondary, Molo, in Nakuru County on Tuesday, August 2, the CS said it’s his duty to liaise with chiefs to receive security intelligence on what happens at the grassroots.

“If I was not a public office holder, I would have used strong language [to respond to Ruto’s allegations]. The claim that chiefs are being used to campaign for a particular candidate is misplaced,” he said.

“I have been meeting chiefs all along because we work together. Imagine an Interior CS who doesn’t meet chiefs or a Health CS who doesn’t’ meet doctors,” added the minister.

“Last year, I met administrators in Trans Nzoia County, and there was no political agenda we discussed. In fact, we were talking about a report on FGM. These are our grassroots people. Who do I meet if not chiefs?” posed the CS.

On Monday, August 1, Deputy President alleged that the State was using chiefs to campaign for Azimio la Umoja candidate Raila Odinga.

“We ask our supporters not to be provoked. We respect democracy and that is why we have leaders from every part of the country. Those planning evil want to split communities. They won’t succeed,” Ruto said while on the campaign trail in the North Rift area.

Without mentioning names, the DP also alleged that there were individuals planning night meetings with chiefs.

Ruto’s running mate Rigathi Gachagua, who has on several occasions accused the State of using chiefs to campaign for Raila, also weighed in on the issue.

“Those distributing leaflets threatening communities against making informed democratic choices should not drive a wedge between communities,” said Gachagua.

On Tuesday, Matiang’i said eight people have been arrested in connection with circulating hate leaflets in the North Rift region, including Uasin Gishu County, ahead of the August 9 polls.

The minister said the eight will be arraigned once investigations are concluded.