Demo as police quiz leaders on Moi University row

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Madago (left) and Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos are directed by a DCI officer at the DCI headquarters along Kiambu Road to record statements in connection with incitement yesterday. (PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE/ STANDARD)

Chaos erupted in Eldoret town yesterday after word went round that a number of leaders were being grilled by police detectives.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, Elgeyo Marakwet’s Alex Tolgos and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi were yesterday questioned at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters regarding allegations of incitement to violence, prompting demonstrations.

Also grilled was Moiben MP Silas Tiren.

Police were forced to use teargas to disperse residents in the riots that affected business in the town’s central business district.

Similar protests went on in the neighbouring Iten town in Elgeyo Marakwet County, with residents demonstrating solidarity with their governor.

The leaders are accused of inciting the public to violence in remarks they made regarding the appointment of Laban Ayiro as the acting vice chancellor of Moi University.

They arrived at DCI headquarters along Kiambu Road in Nairobi at about 1pm and had brief prayer session at the gate before they were ushered in. They were first received by Head of Investigations John Kariuki before being taken to different rooms for questioning.

Four hours later, they emerged to rapturous applause from their supporters waiting at the gate. Mr Mandago maintained his earlier stand.

“I stand by what I said. Merit is needed in the appointment of the VC. We said we will come here to distinguish between truth and lies,” he said.

The governor appeared to blame the media for the leaders’ woes, saying journalists needed to report the truth about issues to help society.

“Sensationalism will not help. Report what we say accurately. I stand by what I said,” he said.

Others expected to record statements on incitement are MPs James Bett (Kesses) and Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), police said.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery had ordered their questioning, saying they risked arrest if they failed to record statements. This was after the leaders refused to apologise as earlier asked.


Mr Nkaissery said the six incited members of the public to protest against the university management.

The politicians wanted Isaac Kosgey appointed in place of Prof Ayiro because he reportedly topped the interviews. The detectives handling the matter said they would collect the evidence and forward it to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for action.

“We will know more after they have all recorded statements because other issues may emerge,” said an investigator aware of the probe.

A number of leaders have since condemned the leaders’ activities, terming them criminal.

On Monday, Mandago asked to be prayed for at a church event in Eldoret, saying “as human beings we are bound to make mistakes”.

The leaders had earlier said that at no time did they declare that “outsiders” were not wanted at the university.

— Story by Cyrus Ombati, Titus Too and Michael Ollinga