Leaders criticise Linturi as he is held for remarks

Senator Mithika Linturi’s arrest followed his inflammatory remarks in Eldoret town on Saturday. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi was moved from Eldoret – where he was arrested yesterday – to Nakuru for questioning over alleged incitement remarks during a rally attended by Deputy President William Ruto.

He was then briefly held at a police station in Nakuru before being transferred to Nairobi.  Linturi was taken to Kaptembwo Police Station in Nakuru West where he was presented to Nakuru County Criminal Investigations Officer Anthony Sunguti at 11:30am.

After a closed-door session with the officers, Linturi was taken from the police station at 11:50am. 

“They have said that they are moving me to Nairobi now,” Linturi told journalists as he boarded a police van at the station.

Sunguti confirmed that the Senator was being moved to Nairobi for further questioning. 

Linturi’s arrest followed his inflammatory remarks in Eldoret town on Saturday. 

In a statement to newsrooms, Linturi apologised for his remarks, saying he was carried away by the moment as he drummed up support for a six-piece vote for UDA candidates. 

“It is true that words like madoadoa, whilst otherwise innocent and legitimate expressions, have in certain context come to be understood as representing inflammatory intent. I regretfully concede that my choice of words was unfortunate and apologise unreservedly,” said Linturi. 

However, Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama condemned Linturi’s remarks at the rally, saying that whether his statement was misunderstood, he had failed to define what ‘madoadoa’ meant. 

“It is regrettable that the senator made such utterances in an area that was affected by post-election violence in 2007. He should understand that what matters most is how what one says is interpreted and understood by the audience,” said Mr Arama. 

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui termed Linturi’s remarks as “a serious assault to the peace and harmony for the communities in Rift Valley.”

“To profile persons on the basis of their political or ethnic orientation is regrettable. We condemn such reckless talk and support the arrest and prosecution of the senator,” he said. 

Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia also criticised the Senator, saying his remarks reflected lack of commitment by a section of leaders to unite the country. 

“It is appalling that when he rose to speak, DP Ruto did not rebuke the senator for such reckless remarks,” said Kimemia.