Raila criticises President Uhuru Kenyatta, calls for arrest of those behind Lamu killings

Lucy Wanjiku and her two children seat next to the coffin with the body of her late husband Francis Kamande who was murdered on Sunday night during the Mpeketoni attacks.  [PHOTO: Gideon Maundu/STANDARD]

Kenya: Opposition leader Raila Odinga responded to President Kenyatta’s suggestion that CORD’s political activity paved way for the Mpeketoni attacks.

Raila termed the President’s remarks as “rushed judgment” that “could undermine investigations”. The former Prime Minister took issue with the President’s linkage of the attacks to what he called “local political activity”, and a political wing he described as “reckless”, “hate-mongers” engaged in “ethnic-profiling”.

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy has been holding rallies to pressurise Jubilee to agree to national dialogue, with the latest one held in Tononoka Grounds, Mombasa last Sunday, ahead of a national one scheduled for Saba Saba (July 7).

Raila refuted claims he was planning to overthrow the Government and said after CORD lost the petition at the Supreme Court, the coalition had moved on.

Raila demanded the sacking of Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo, Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and Principal Secretary Monica Juma, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro.

He accused them of incompetence and dereliction of duty.

The CORD leader also called for the overhaul of the security organs “so that they can guarantee national security”. He urged that recruitment by the national security organs reflect the diversity of the Kenyan people.

Raila challenged Uhuru’s administration to punish those behind the recent attacks, arguing there had been a trend to blame violence on politicians who are never brought to justice.

 “Nobody is above the law. No Kenyan other than the President enjoys immunity from prosecution. The law should take its course and nobody should be spared in the hunt for and prosecution of criminal gangs and terrorists who have compromised the safety and peace in the republic,” Raila argued.

“CORD condemns the massacre in Mpeketoni and states categorically that violence is not a means to achieving legitimate political aims or objectives,” Raila told a press conference at Serena hotel in Nairobi yesterday.

He responded a day after the President said the attacks in Lamu were “well-planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence against a Kenyan community and not an Al Shabaab terrorist attack”.

The former premier said the President’s statement was unfortunate, unjustified and likely to compromise investigations to establish the masterminds of the brutal gun attacks.

Prosecute culprits

“The president’s statement ignores the position taken by other countries and experts that the Al Shabaab were indeed responsible for these attacks and that Al Shabaab never claims responsibility for attacks it has not carried out,” he added.

He wondered why security forces failed to act in time even after the National Intelligence Service had supplied information before the attacks.

“It defeats logic that NIS had information on the attacks which suggest there was knowledge of those planning them yet no decisive or concrete steps were taken both at the local or national level,” Raila said.

Raila also called for the establishment of a competent and independent Judicial Commission of inquiry to investigate and establish the circumstances surrounding the Westgate Mall terrorist attack and the Mpeketoni massacres with a view of prosecuting the perpetrators. 

“The President is the head of the National Security Council which exercises supervisory control over national security organs. The primary role of the national security system is protection against internal and external threats to Kenya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, its people, their rights, freedoms, property, peace, stability, prosperity and other national interests,” Raila said.

Reacting to reports he had suggested that the president ‘would be shaved’ Raila said Uhuru was his younger brother and his culture does not allow that.  “I never said am going to shave the President. I am a Baba and the President is my younger brother and that is not even allowed in my culture,” Raila said.

Islamic leaders

He accused the government of failing to unravel the mystery surrounding widespread killings in the last eight months despite citing political motives for the attacks.

He gave the example of the killings in Western Kenya and of some 21 Imams and other Islamic leaders in the Coast.

 “In the last eight months or thereabouts there have been widespread and systematic killings, some bordering on genocide, in several parts of the country, including Bungoma, Busia, Samburu and Tana River.”

He went on: “The same reasons and motives have been given by the government and political leaders have been blamed for the incidents. In the end there have never been any serious and successful prosecutions.”

He accused President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto of failing to protect Kenyans and their property leaving them vulnerable to terrorists. “The president and the Executive, including the national security organs have been given the power, instruments and competence to ensure there is peace and security prevailing in the land. They should not be heard to be complaining in an unending vilification of leaders or engaging in constant blame-games.”

The deteriorating security situation was a wakeup call for the government to convene a national dialogue to deliberate on the way forward, he added.


Raila insisted CORD would continue with its scheduled rallies to demand for dialogue on serious issues facing Kenyans. “We will continue with our rallies because what has just happened confirms the need for national dialogue. Our meetings are about consulting Kenyans. 

“Our programme for rallies will continue. One of the issues we are addressing is security and there is urgency to deal with this issue. We need to come together sooner rather than later. We don’t want to travel the path of other countries where people refused dialogue and ended up with problems. What I am trying to do is to try to avoid the problems countries where leadership have refused to listen to calls for dialogue have ended up with,” Raila said.

He added: “I know he (president) wants dialogue. He said it on Madaraka Day but 24 hours later the hardliners had prevailed upon him to reject dialogue. I appeal to him to listen to his conscience and have us reason together so that we can develop our country peacefully.”

The ex-PM also asked the government to define and limit Kenya’s security objectives in Somalia. “We must ensure that our engagement in Somalia is time bound and does not mutate into a military occupation,” he said.