Gachagua defends Linturi after he is arrested over inflammatory remarks

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua in Mukurweini, Nyeri, on September 29, 2021. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua has castigated the government for allegedly using the criminal system to harass, intimidate and persecute political leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto.

Gachagua’s remarks come after the arrest of Meru Senator Mithika Linturi over alleged inflammatory remarks during the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) rally held in Eldoret on Saturday.

Speaking to journalists in Eldoret town, Gachagua said there are deliberate efforts to twist the senator’s words to paint him in bad light.

“The arrest of Meru senator early this morning by officers from the DCI is just a continuation of that harassment and prosecution of leaders in UDA. The senator’s utterances are on record where he, just like the rest of us, appealed to the people of Uasin Gishu to get rid of leaders through the ballot who were opposed to William Ruto and the UDA bottom-up approach model,” said Gachagua.

Madoadoa is a very emotive term in Kenyan politics. It evokes memories of past episodes of pre and post-election ethnic violence where certain communities were attacked for not supporting a candidate from the larger host community.

In Kiswahili, madoadoa means spots.

Later yesterday (Saturday) Linturi would later clarify his statement to The Standard on phone.

“I am just saying if we are supporting him [Ruto] from Meru and the Mt Kenya region, then the likes of MPs Kutuny, Kamar, and Mishra should not be re-elected,” Linturi told a Standard Editor.

A section of politicians has since condemned Linturi’s utterances terming them regrettable.

Gachagua  said other politicians addressed the public stating the same issues. He questioned why Linturi’s statement raised concern.

“Some of us were very specific about those leaders opposed to the UDA party, but senator Linturi spoke generally about those leaders and asked the voters to clean up the area politically by voting them out. There is a deliberate effort to twist his words to imply he was talking about ethnic incitement,” said the MP.

Gachagua said the same words used by the embattled senator have been used by their competitors, but no legal action has been taken against them.

“The word Linturi is being accused of using, and that which is perceived to mean that people should be displaced, has been used by other leaders to imply uniformity,” added Gachagua.

“Be as it may, the word was used a long time ago in a negative manner and could invoke negative sentiments, but people need to listen to the clip and put it into context."

Gachagua faulted the morning arrest and consequent ferrying of senator Linturi from Eldoret to record statements at Nakuru and later to Nairobi.