Phone call that caused deadly chaos
By Kamore Maina
| October 7th 2020
Police officers supposed to be on duty during the chaotic visit to Murang’a by Deputy President William Ruto were withdrawn at the last minute despite intelligence reports indicating possibility of violence.
Sources within the police service have revealed that a detailed security plan, prepared by the local police and shared with their seniors at the county and regional levels, was trashed a day before the chaotic Sunday.
Details of the security plans are contained in a police document dubbed 'operation order'. The document, which had been trashed, came to light yesterday after senior police commanders recorded statements with the Police Internal Affairs (PIA) unit.
The commanders stationed at Makuyu Police Station recorded statements with a six–man team from IAU. A verbal communication was issued to local police chiefs instructing them to withdraw all officers from Kenol town on the day Ruto and his brigade were to attend the church function at the Kenol AIPCA church.
Ordinarily, senior government officials would be at hand to welcome the DP during such a visit. Police officers would also be deployed to man different areas including roads leading to the venue where the DP would be visiting.
This was not the case. On Sunday, neither the county commissioner nor his deputy were at hand to welcome Ruto. The directive to withdraw the officers came from unidentified individuals at the Office of the President.
Besides the orders to withdraw police officers from the ground, the unnamed state operatives are reported to have also directed the Maragua Sub-county Commissioner to keep off the DP’s event. The sub-county commissioner was granted leave and asked to travel to his rural home for a rest over the weekend despite having not requested time off, sources told The Standard.
However, none of the senior officers in the chain of command revealed the names or identities of the state operatives who issued orders withdrawing security during Ruto's visit. “All of them say the orders came from above. We don’t know who it is at the top they are referring to," said an officer familiar with the happenings.
Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai on Sunday directed IAU, led by Mohammed Amin, to investigate the conduct of local police officers in their plannings during the fateful day.
Two men, said to have been hired goons ferried from Kiandutu slums in Kiambu, died in clashes between supporters of the Kieleweke and TangaTanga Jubilee political factions.
Despite the directive to withdraw officers from the ground, Makuyu police boss Anthony Ketter, under whose jurisdiction the chaos took place, assembled a team of 24 officers, just in case an emergency occured. The 24 officers were drawn from different police stations in Murang’a. The officers were however not deployed to the streets.
Instead, they were stationed at the Kenol sub-county offices where they remained stuck in lorries until the violence broke out. By then, the youth said to have been hired to cause the chaos had already barricaded a section of the road by lighting fires.
Top police commanders in Murang’a, among them Makuyu Police boss Anthony Ketter, County Commander Josphat Kinyua, Regional Police commander Patrick Lumumba and other senior officers from the rank of Inspector are lined up for questioning by the Amin team.
Kandara police boss Isaac Thuranira, who was among senior officers from neighbouring police division present, will also record a statement with IAU.
The IAU investigators have for the last two days been camping at Makuyu Police Station where they have been taking statements from the senior officers.
A second team comprising officers from the Makuyu Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has also been questioning officers and residents over the Sunday chaos.
Yesterday, sources familiar with the investigations said the Amin team was also analysing the police station Occurrence Books to verify the instructions issued to police officers on security plans for the day.
Yesterday, Mr Kinyua said he had recorded a statement with the IAU but declined to make more comments on the matter.
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