UDA writes to IEBC blames police and Babu Owino for Jacaranda violence

Residents flee after chaos broke out at Jacaranda grounds, Nairobi ahead of UDA’s rally. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The United Democratic Alliance Party has written a complaint letter to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) following today’s events, where two factions clashed leaving two people injured.

In the letter seen by The Standard, UDA’s Secretary General Veronica Maina has cried foul over ‘abuse of national police service by Azimio Coalition’.

“Suffice it to mention, that the Jacaranda grounds were hired by our UDA MP Candidate for Embakasi East Constituency Mr. Francis Mureithi, for the sole purpose of hosting a campaign rally on 19th June, 2022.” Lamented Veronica.

She has listed nine complaints against Azimio to IEBC 50 days ahead of the general election. On Sunday morning, a contingent of anti-riot police was deployed to the grounds to avert the clash after Kenya Kwanza and Babu Owino claimed to have booked the venue.

“Our UDA Embakasi East Parliamentary Candidate reserved and paid for hire of jacaranda ground, a sum of kshs 30,000.00 on 15th June 2022. He was issued with an official acknowledgment Receipt No. 220112126302626493 dated 15th June 2022 by Nairobi County Government. This hire was specifically for use of Jacaranda Grounds on 19th June 2022. Copy of receipt is attached for ease of reference,” Noted Veronica.

According to the Secretary-General, it is common practice for the tents and sound to be set up for the event was intended to be done on the eve of 19th June 2022, but to their candidate’s shock and disbelief, the National Police Service deployed a heavy contingent of Policemen to block access and restrain him from setting up the venue in preparation for the public rally that was scheduled on Sunday, 19th June, 2022.

Veronica went ahead to point a finger at Azimio Coalition.

“The attempts to block UDA / Kenya Kwanza Coalition Candidate from holding this Campaign rally was intended to support the Azimio Coalition and indeed the ODM/ Azimio parliamentary candidate for Embakasi East, Babu Owino started circulating a letter dated 15th June, 2022 addressed to OCPD Embakasi purporting to make a reservation of Jacaranda Grounds for the same day 19th June 2022. The letter was stamped as received on 16th June 2022. Notably, the ODM candidate did not demonstrate any payment hire of the Jacaranda grounds intended for use on 19th June 2022,” she lamented.

According to UDA, the sequence and flow of these events will only lead to one simple conclusion that the National Police Service is being used, misused and abused by the ODM Party / Azimio Coalition to create tension and cause major interference with peaceful campaigning within Embakasi East Constituency and ultimately to the entire Republic of Kenya.

“The blatant use of Babu Owino’s letterhead clearly overemphasis his overreaching and unacceptable abuse of the National Police Service in blocking our candidates from holding his peaceful campaign meeting scheduled for 19th June 2022.”

UDA is now calling for action to be taken against Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.

“His approach is confrontational and militant in nature and action must be taken against Babu Owino including your Commission considering disqualifying him from participating in the race. This is the only way the Commission can send a strong message to the likes of Babu Owino to desist from ever making such an ill motivated move,” noted Veronica.

Chaos characterized by stone-throwing and vandalism, however, erupted at around 11pm, spilling into the afternoon.

Speaking to The Standard on phone, Embakasi Sub-county police commander Makau Masai said that there will be no political activity at that venue.

“Yes, we have deployed a number of officers to Jacaranda for security reasons. There will be no meeting of any kind on the grounds. We cannot allow the two political groups to meet here. We have to ensure the safety of our citizens comes first,” said Masai.

According to Kayole Sub-county police commander Paul Wambugu, however, the Kenya Kwanza event was to go on as planned and the heavy police presence was for security reasons.

“It is normal for police officers to be present in a meeting because people are in attendance. There is only one meeting for Kenya Kwanza,” said Wambugu.

The Kenya Kwanza rally, according to Deputy President William Ruto, is still on.

"The Kenya Kwanza fraternity and the entire hustler nation wishes a blessed Sunday to all and let us meet in Jacaranda after church," DP Ruto tweeted, urging his supporters to attend the rally.

Confusion set in after the MP also moved to his Twitter account and claimed to have booked the same venue for a prayer meeting, which he later cancelled.

Among its demands in the said letter, UDA also wants the IEBC to summon Inspector-General Hillary Mutyambai.

“You must summon the IG with great speed to discuss their role and specific functions during electioneering and campaign period. They must not accept to be used by AZIMIO & ODM political divide. The must remember that Kenya Kwanza stands a higher chance of winning the upcoming Presidential Election hence the need for them to remain act in a restrained fashion and to remain neutral as this will make it easier for them to serve under any Political divide which takes over power in 2022,” said Veronica.