Raila Odinga defends George Aladwa over alleged incitement

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga flanked by Thika MP Alice Ng'ang'a speaking at Kilimambogo in Thika during the burial of Emily Mbaire the wife of former freedom fighter Gitu Kahengeri. He said former Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa remarks have been taken out of context. PHOTO: KAMAU MAICHUHIE

NAIROBI: Former Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa spent his day Friday moving from one police station to another for questioning over incitement remarks he allegedly made in Kibra on Mashujaa Day.

Aladwa’s arrest Friday generated heated exchanges between Coalition For Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader Raila Odinga and Jubilee MPs at a funeral in Thika.

The Nairobi ODM chairman was picked up by flying squad officers Friday morning and taken to Kilimani police station where he was grilled for more than five hours.

The police then transferred him from Kilimani to CID headquarters along Kiambu Road for further grilling at about 2pm. He was held at the CID headquarters for about one hour after which he left in a convoy of police vehicles that sped off to Kamukunji police station.

Aladwa’s lawyer Haron Ndubi lamented that his client had been intimidated and transferred from one police station to another without a clear order.

“My client was asked to present himself at Kilimani police station which he did. Police in Kilimani had prepared a charge sheet that had not been signed. They later transferred him to the CID headquarters alleging they were acting under instructions. There was no particular order at the CID headquarters and he was later moved to Kamukunji police station,” said Ndubi.

Apart from Raila, other CORD leaders present at Kilimani were Orengo, MPs Dan Maanzo (Makueni), Junet Mohammed (Suna East) and Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem).

Dozens of CORD supporters thronged the police station demanding that Aladwa be released unconditionally.

Aladwa found himself in trouble after a video of him allegedly inciting a charged crowd in Kibra, Nairobi, was posted online. In the video, the Nairobi ODM chairman is seen and heard saying that for Raila to be a President, Kenyans may have to spill blood.

“This time round, ikiwa tutashinda na watunyang’anye, wacha kiumane (if we win the elections and it is rigged, let there be trouble),”said Aladwa in Kiswahili..

Speaking later in Kilimambogo, Thika, Raila told off Jubilee politicians saying the remarks by the former mayor had been taken out of context. Raila told Jubilee leaders during the burial of Emily Mbaire, the wife of former freedom fighter Gitu Wa Kahengeri, to stop accusing Aladwa of incitement since he had only uttered the truth over the transparency of the 2017 elections.

“Jubilee leaders should stop blaming Aladwa for incitement.  If someone comes and tells you not to steal as it may have consequences, he has done nothing wrong,” Raila said. Jubilee MPs at the funeral had challenged Raila to come clean on whether Aladwa was speaking on his behalf and with his blessings. Led by Dagorreti South MP Dennis Waweru, the lawmakers said appropriate action should be taken against the former mayor for incitement and hate speech remarks.

“Divisive politics that only serve to enhance ethnic animosity and hatred is a recipe for disaster and has no place in modern Kenya,” said Waweru.

Alice Ng’ang’a (Thika Town) told Raila to his face that there was no shortcut to power. “We will not allow shortcuts to power through unwarranted bloodshed of innocent Kenyans,” said Ms Ng’ang’a.

But Kahengeri asked the leaders to put the country first. “The government and the Opposition should work towards uniting the country, not dividing it. Leaders should shy away from actions that perpetuate tribalism,” he said.