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Kimani Ichung'wah: My take on the invasion of Kenyattas' Northlands farm

 Majority Leader in the National Assembly Kimani Ichung'wah addressing journalists at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi on February 9, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Kimani Ichung'wah has distanced himself from the invasion of Northlands farm in Ruiru, Kiambu County that occurred on Monday, March 27.

The farm is owned by the family of former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Ichung'wah says people should not link him to the destructive invasion simply because on March 20 he made remarks that suggested people might invade the land of the former first family.

"My brother, the former president Uhuru Kenyatta, if you want to be respected, then respect other people first. Respect other people's property. If you don't respect other people's property, then we, the people of Mount Kenya, will ask you many questions about the huge tracts of land that you occupy, starting with your land on Thika Road near Ruiru," Ichung'wah said during a past event on March 20.

"We'd, thereafter, ask you about your land in Taita Taveta and Nakuru. When a Kenyan's property is invaded, then we will also invade your land, and ask homeless Kenyans to settle on them. Don't think that only the ordinary Kenyan will lose property [during the demos]. Even you, will pay a price. That is my message to none other than Uhuru Kenyatta," said the National Assembly Majority Leader.

One week later - on March 27 - unknown group of people illegally accessed Kenyatta's Northlands farm in Ruiru and stole at least 1,500 sheep, cut down several eucalyptus trees and set the farm on fire.

Police officers did not immediately respond to the invasion as the invaders walked out of the farm carrying sheep on their shoulders. Some of the animals were sold to motorists on the Thika Superhighway roadside for as little as Sh1,000.

The Standard on Tuesday morning, March 28 reached the National Police Service Spokesperson Dr. Resila Onyango to comment on why police officers were not immediately deployed to the Northlands farm to contain the situation. She said the police service will issue a comprehensive statement later in the day.

And was it a coincidence that the invasion of the Northlands farm happened after Ichung'wah's comments on March 20?

"I do not know anything about the invasion of the Kenyattas' land," Ichung'wah told The Standard.

"I first saw on social media the reports claiming that unknown people had invaded the former president's farm. That was around 11:30am. I had to wait for mainstream media to verify and file accurate reports. It was after a local TV station aired live footage of what was happening at the farm that I got to know that the incident had indeed taken place," said the Kikuyu Member of Parliament.

Asked if his March 20 remarks might have triggered the illegal intrusion into the Kenyattas' land, Ichung'wah said: "I am a resident of Central Kenya, and I know what the people there are saying about the former first family. On March 20, I only relayed what the people of Mount Kenya had long been saying about the Kenyattas."

Ichung'wah added: "If I am guilty of anything, then it is voicing what Central Kenya constituents think about the Kenyattas."

On social media, there were allegations that Kimani Ichung'wah sponsored goons to raid the Kenyattas' farm, especially after his remarks on March 20.

"I'm flattered to hear that people think I have a lot of money. If anyone suspects that I had a role to play in the Northlands farm invasion, then I'm open to investigations. The police can access my phone to establish who I spoke to, if I did any mobilisation, or which places I visited on or before Monday, March 27. I'm ready to have an investigations file opened against me."

Asked about what he thinks of the unfortunate Monday incident at Northlands farm, Ichung'wah said: "I condemn the incident in the strongest terms possible. Any act of anarchy, not only directed at the Kenyattas and the Odingas, but also mama mbogas and other ordinary citizens is unacceptable, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted."

On the conspicuous absence of police during the Northlands invasion, Ichung'wah said: "I think the Inspector-General of Police [Japhet Koome] is best-placed to answer that."

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