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Othaya by-election candidate’s son risks arrest

CENTRAL
By Wainaina Ndung’u | May 4th 2014

By Wainaina Ndung’u

Nyeri, Kenya: Police in Othaya could open charges against the son of one of the two main candidates in the suspended by-election who is claiming his main rival is behind an intimidation campaign against him.

Anthony King’ara, 21 and the son of Democratic Party candidate and city lawyer Peter King’ara, could be charged together with the politician’s nephew Patrick Wang’ang’a, 22, and seven others over illegal assembly.

Othaya Police boss George Ouko declined to comment on whether they would open charges against the nine for allegedly planning to protest after the Supreme Court suspended the by-election on Thursday April 19.

Kiruga Thuku, the co-ordinator of King’ara campaigns, claims the charges are part of a systematic campaign of intimidation against the DP candidate, which has seen scores of their supporters arrested or clobbered by police while those of the main rival and MP Mary Wambui are treated with loyalty during the now suspended campaigns.

But Ms Wambui of The National Alliance (TNA) dismissed the claims as “utter nonsense” against officers only working for the goddess of security for the benefit of all Othaya residents.

“This is their (King’ara’s) business and I have absolutely no clue what they are talking about. I would like to urge the people of Othaya to remain calm and wait for the court to issue its ruling. Whatever comes out we are ready to move on,” she said.

Thuku claims in a letter to Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC) that during the now suspended campaigns, the police had behaved as if Ms Wambui was the “government candidate.”

“There have been claims that the police in Othaya are under firm instructions that no demonstrations in support of Hon King’ara or against the travesty of justice should take place,” says Thuku in his three-page letter. The Othaya OCPD said while he had not received the letter, such allegations were far fetched and without substance, even as the DP politician threatened to individually sue police officers intimidating his supporters. “Any action we have taken in regard to the campaigns is pure enforcement of the law, which I will continue to implement today, tomorrow or any other day,” said the OCPD.

The letter is also copied to officers in charge (OCS) of Chinga, Othaya, Munyange and Witima police stations. Thuku claims that although supporters of Ms Wambui were allowed to freely demonstrate against the verdict of the Court of Appeal that had ordered the now suspended by-elections, those of King’ara were stringently prevented from expressing any sentiments against the preliminary verdict of the Supreme Court that suspended the by-elections.

The full Supreme Court bench has already completed hearing the application by Ms Wambui to strike out the Court of Appeal order and is expected to issue a ruling by notice. Thuku claims in the letter that when King’ara’s supporters started gathering around Othaya Mall campaign secretariat on the day the Supreme Court suspended the by-elections, a police contingent clobbered some of them senseless and arrested the seven youths.

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