Who to believe? Why alleged raid on Fred Matiang'i home is confusing

There were also later denials from government officials and the police that there had been such a raid. By yesterday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, Inspector General Japhet Koome and Ethics and Anti-Corruption boss Twalib Mbarak had denied the claims, even as Matiang'i moved to court seeking anticipatory bail.

In a statement, Prof Kindiki said allegations that police officers were sent to arrest the former CS were "utterly false".

"I have confirmed with the command of the National Police Service (NPS), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and all law enforcement agencies that none of them has any orders to look for the former minister," Kindiki said.

"Any person with information relating to the alleged incident at Dr Matiang'i's home last night is advised to file a formal complaint at the nearest police station for investigation and appropriate action," he said.

While rebuffing Kindiki's remarks, Matiang'i's lawyers would question why police were not deployed to look into the raid if it had not been conducted by police officers. Lawyer Danstan Omari, who had been at the former CS's residence on Wednesday night, alleged an attack against Cabinet Secretaries who served in former President Uhuru Kenyatta's government.

"Civility must be retained. We can't have a rogue government that comes at midnight to arrest the former CS. If they want the former CS, we will provide him," he said on Wednesday.

A host of United Democratic Alliance lawmakers weighed in, terming the alleged raid "an act of desperation". National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wa said it had been choreographed to prevent the ongoing bleeding of Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition party.

In a press briefing at Parliament Buildings, Ichung'wa said there had been plans for ODM lawmakers from Kisii to meet President William Ruto, who is keen to win allies into his fold.

Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome, former Iterior CS Fred Matiang'i and DCI boss Mohamed Amin. [File, Standard]

"Last night's drama at Matiang'i's house was one to excite people's emotions and evoke public sympathy, but it was also a script that we would describe as the guilty always being afraid," he said, urging that Matiang'i provides evidence of police presence at his residence.

"We want to challenge the scripters of last night's drama to show Kenyans a single photograph or a video recording of the officers they purport to have been in Matiang'is house," he added, even as he hinted at a possible arrest in future.

"Whatever you are afraid of... just patiently wait for the law to catch up with you. If anybody wants to arrest you, it will not be done in the wee hours of the night. You will not have to stage any drama. It will simply be the law catching up with you," Ichung'wa said.

News of the alleged raid broke on social media a few minutes before 10pm, with reports suggesting that elite officers in five vehicles had sought entry into Matiang'i's house, later surrounding it. Initial reports suggested that the officers were from the EACC.

Matiang'i's lawyers said they had been aware of an impending raid, suggesting that he was allegedly wanted for charges relating to abuse of office or his alleged role in the Ruaraka land scandal.

Following the news, a team of Matiang'i's lawyers would head to his home, as did Raila, who condemned the reported police raid. No evidence was provided of any police officers or their vehicles at the former CS's house, although initial reports indicated they were planning to break the door.

"The more things change, the more they remain the same. We are now witnessing what this country has been through before - the times of late-night arrests and detention of people without any formal charges... There's no reason police should be coming to somebody's private residence at this time of the day when people are asleep," said Raila, who described the raid as "repugnant to democracy".

Indeed, the alleged raid mirrored similar ones against politicians during Matiang'i's tenure as Interior CS, such as the arrests of lawmakers Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) and Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), which happened after late-night raids of their houses.

Such scenes were also common in the 1980s and early 1990s, during the multiparty struggle. President William Ruto has said several times that such days belonged in the past, vowing against using the criminal justice system to settle scores.

However, yesterday, the Director of Criminal Investigations, Mohamed Amin said Matiangi was being investigated over a number of crimes, but denied the raid, accusing the former CS of stage-managing it.

"For the record, I can confirm that none of the cases under investigations so far has reached the stage which requires the assistance or attendance of Dr Matiangi," Amin said in a statement.

He described how the alleged raid was planned, saying the build-up started at around 8pm on Wednesday night when the former CS told his guards that he was expecting guests and directed that they be allowed in.

"The lawyers arrived shortly after and proceeded to a meeting inside the house. They were joined shortly afterwards by politicians led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga," he said.

According to Amin, the lawyers drove out in three vehicles, but left behind a similar number and at around 9:30pm, Raila left the house to join the lawyers as they addressed a press conference after his communication team had allegedly tipped off the media about the raid.