Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga has come to the defence of besieged former head of Directorate of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, terming the onslaught a witch-hunt.
At a press briefing in Nairobi yesterday, Raila accused President William Ruto of waging a personal vendetta against Kinoti, which he said predated the August 9 General Election. He also faulted the purge on the defunct Special Service Unit of the DCI, claiming it was aimed at settling old scores.
"We are concerned about the so-called probe on extra-judicial killings, which has turned into a witch-hunt against the former DCI boss and a few police officers," said Raila, flanked by Azimio deputy leader Martha Karua and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
The Azimio leader termed Ruto's actions vindictive saying, "we are opposed to that attempt to sacrifice State officers who, in the line of duty, may have wronged politicians."
Kinoti has been on the spot over the operations of the SSU and his alleged role in cases involving politicians. While saying Azimio was opposed to extra-judicial killings, Raila covertly criticised the Government for cherry-picking cases it would follow up on, stating that it needed to investigate all cases of extra-judicial killings in a professional and inclusive manner.
"Our supporters have been the greatest victims. We believe that all, not just some cases of real and suspected extra-judicial killings should be investigated and those responsible punished," Raila added.
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Even as he endorsed efforts to find two Indian nationals Mohamed Zaid Sami Kidwai, Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan and taxi driver Nicodemus Mwania, who disappeared during the election period, Raila said more Kenyans who had also disappeared or died under unclear circumstances needed to be found, especially witnesses in the International Criminal Court case. He highlighted cases of the late Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei, a police officer formerly stationed at the Office of the Deputy President in the thick of investigations over a Sh39b fake arms deal, "that involved the Office of the Deputy President, when Ruto served in that capacity."
Others were ICC witnesses Christopher Koech, Meshack Yebei, Bernard Kimeli, John Thuo and Joseph Kang'ethe journalist John Kituyi, businessman Jacob Juma as well as Chris Msando.
"Mr Koech was to travel to The Hague to testify in lawyer Paul Gicheru's case," Raila said and also called for investigations into Gicheru's death. He challenged the Government to produce ICC suspects wanted by the ICC.
The Azimio leader also faulted Ruto's plan to increase taxes and contributions to National Hospital Insurance Fund and National Social Security Fund, saying it was an unnecessary burden to the struggling taxpayer. He said Azimio would resist "attempts to raise taxes unilaterally," to allegedly "finance corruption."
"Kenyans cannot afford and should not be asked to pay extra taxes for the United Democratic Alliance regime to realise the outlandish and unrealistic promises it is pursuing," Raila said, adding that it was possible to transform the economy without increasing taxes.
"When Narc took over in 2003, the economy was worse off than what UDA has inherited from Jubilee, but we were able to put the country back on track, including (offering) free primary education, without raising taxes," he said.
Raila further said that the grand-coalition government spurred the economy in the wake of the 2007 post-election violence without raising taxes.