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Ten MPs summoned over poll violence

By Jacob Ng'etich | March 7th 2021

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei (left) and Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa at Bungoma Law Courts cells on Friday. [Nathan Ochunge, Standard]

The spectre of violence witnessed in Thursday’s by-elections has claimed its first casualties, with two MPs losing their guns, Director of Public Prosecutions ordering investigations into a former Cabinet Secretary, and cohesion commission summoning 10 MPs.

Firearms Licensing Board has revoked the licences of MPs Didmus Barasa and Fred Kapondi, ordering them to surrender both the certificates and firearms within 24 hours.

On Friday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i ordered the agency to revoke the licences of all those involved in the ugly altercations.

Yesterday, the agency chair Charles Mukindia said they had been directed by the Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai to do so, and that they had had undertaken own reflection on the matter.

At the same time, National Cohesion and Integration Commission summoned Homa Bay MP Gladys Wanga, nominated Senator Millicent Omanga, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, MPs Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Feisal Badera (Msambweni), John Waluke (Sirisia), Kapondi (Mt Elgon), Ben Washiali (Mumias East), Charles Were (Kasipul Kabondo) and Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini) to record statements on the violence.

Earlier on, DPP Noordin Haji had ordered twin investigations into a video circulating showing former Sports CS Rashid Echesa slapping an election official, as well investigations into misconduct and violence witnessed in Matungu and London ward.

“I hereby direct that you immediately institute joint investigations into the allegations and submit the resultant investigations file within 30 days,” Mr Haji said.

Issuing the summons, NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia said they were determined to stop unethical leaders from occupying office.

Dr Matiang’i had on Thursday also said they would stop the leaders involved in the violence from participating in future elections.

“We have been talking about leaving no stone unturned but the reason such behaviours have been continuing is that people do not face consequences for their actions. The people doing these things and slapping returning officers and presiding officers are out on bond on several other cases,” he said.

Rev Kobia said he had written to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) asking the agency to seek legal mandates from the Judiciary to remove from office leaders who break the rules in Chapter Six of the Constitution.

“Just the same way civil servants who are indicted on corruption charges have to step away from office, unethical leaders should do the same. We are not just seeking criminal justice, we also want these leaders and others like them out of office forthwith,” said Kobia.

Shouting obscenities

He said as they had promised before, they would ensure there are criminal, political and social consequences to hate and violence and they were also on the hunt for those who frogmarched a lady while shouting obscenities.

“As the chair of NCIC and an elder in our country, this is my promise to the purveyors of hate: I will ensure you are in jail and as you wait to go to jail I will put you out of leadership,” said Kobia.

A month ago, the NCIC named former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, MPs Simba Arati, Sylvanus Osoro and Johana Ng’eno in a list of shame in what they said would be a monthly event to congratulate and shame leaders for the acts.

Both Arati and Osoro were shamed because of their physical scuffle at a burial in Kisii County while Nge’no is facing charges of incitement at a Nakuru court. The agency applauded Fafi MP Abdikarim Osman Mohamed and Njoro MP Charity Kathambi for upholding Chapter Six of the Constitution.

On Friday, IEBC said they were deeply concerned by the growing trend of lawlessness and violence witnessed before and during polling in by-elections that, if not properly checked, was likely to threaten national security as the country heads to the 2022 General Election.

“The commission will in the meantime organise counselling sessions for election officials traumatised by the violence witnessed during these by-elections as it also pursues cases of assault and destruction of electoral materials with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution,” IEBC said.

It added: “The commission is committed to ensuring that those involved in harassing and assaulting election officials, as well as perpetrating other forms of electoral malpractice face the full force of the law.”

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