Matiang'i to Ruto: Provide evidence on intimidation of state officers

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i [Esther Jeruto, Standard]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i has challenged UDA presidential candidate William Ruto to table evidence to the effect that chiefs and other government officials have been asked to campaign for Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

Matiang'i was responding to sentiments by Ruto who claimed that the Interior CS and his Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho were “intimidating” chiefs and other junior administrators in efforts to compel them to support Odinga.

“These two gentlemen (Matiang’i and Kibicho) must know that there is a shortage of fools in Kenya. What you’ve been telling the chiefs, have been relayed to us by the same people. They are actually complaining of the constant harassment,” Ruto said on Thursday, August 4 while addressing journalists at his Karen residence in Nairobi.

In a rebuttal, Matiang’i, who was speaking at the Administration Police Training College (APTC) in Embakasi, Nairobi on Friday, August 5, said all meetings held with chiefs were done in public and not secretly as alleged.

"I am not aware of a discussion that has happened in the National Security Council authorising us [Ministry of Interior] to meet the chiefs and instruct them to campaign for anyone and if Ruto has such evidence, he should produce it to the public," Matiang'i said.

"Government is not a secret society which meets under a tree and conspires. In most cases, we take note of these meetings," he added.

Matiang'i further called on the DP to provide dates and places where Rift Valley administrators have been meeting at night to strategise on suppressing voter turn-out in the region. 

"These unsubstantiated allegations are consistent with frequent, unfounded, and unconscionable attacks against the government and public officers by the Deputy President. The government is run through established and well-known structures and accountability channels," Matiang'i added.

Matiang'i has also denied claims that senior State officers have sponsored the purchase of national identity cards from Rift Valley voters in a bid to stop them from voting on Election Day.

"Allegations that the chiefs and assistant chiefs are buying or withholding IDs to suppress voter turnout in UDA strongholds is ridiculous. If true, it would constitute a criminal and electoral offence. There is however no official record made or proof offered by the DP or his associates in support of deterrence and deserved punishment for anyone engaging in the alleged acts."

The CS maintains he is committed to providing enough security during elections despite his political inclinations.

Further, he said it was a democratic right for any Kenyan, including government officers, to be inclined to candidates they like.

"The constitution says the president will appoint cabinet secretaries who are technocrats, it does not say switch on and switch off robots.

"I will not lie to you, I have inclinations and I have preferences but I will also be very sincere with you, I will deliver on my constitutional obligations without fear or favour. When it comes to that, I will remove my inclinations and serve," he said.