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Kibicho: Is he Deep state or politicians’ punching bag?

COUNTIES
By Allan Mungai | March 8th 2021
Interior PS Karanja Kibicho at County Hall, Nairobi, on 04/03/2020. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

The list of politicians with a bone to pick with Interior PS Karanja Kibicho appears to be growing by the day.

From his perch at Harambee House, Dr Kibicho has grown a reputation as the bogeyman, the ghost that is haunting political ambitions.

He is facing a barrage of accusations, not least from former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru also pegs her troubles with MCAs and her impeachment last year to Kibicho.

Allies of Deputy President William Ruto, such as Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, have claimed that Kibicho ordered withdrawal security of legislators allied to the DP, as well as of arrests of some of their colleagues.

It is now the turn of ODM leader Raila Odinga’s allies who claim Kibicho is planning to scuttle his Handshake deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Distrust runs deep among the partners of the three-year-old handshake. At the centre of it is Kibicho, accused of leading a covert effort to collapse the union between Raila and Uhuru.

“Our position is very clear, that it be done by the political leaders, not by technocrats or anybody else. Those are our rules of engagement. We have realised Kibicho is overstepping his mandate. We don’t want to see him within the BBI circle, he is causing confusion,” said Suna East MP Junet Mohamed. 

“There are people at Harambee House who are uncomfortable with ODM,” Igembe North MP Maoka Maore said yesterday without giving details.

Kibicho has been the bane of Ruto’s supporters in parliament who claim he is a deep state larky out to frustrate the DP’s political ambition.

They accuse Kibicho of using his office to intimidate Ruto’s backers and to finance the rival group Kieleweke group.

It is not clear, however, if Kibicho is complicit in any of the misdeeds. But a number of politicians have gone out of their way to paint the picture of a man who is working hard scuttle their political ambitions.

Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, in January, said him and his PS were punching bags in the Government. “Even if a politician beats his wife, they will still find a way to blame Matiang’i and Kibicho,” he said.

But those who claim they are aggrieved by the PS claim they have good reasons to worry about their personal safety and their political future.

They claim there are conspiring against them from the shadows and the person leading the campaign is reportedly the PS.

Relatively unknown up until 2015 when he was transferred to the Ministry of Interior, Kibicho has always found himself at the centre of political storms.

Yet he manages to keep a condescending air in the face of the mounting complaints against him, including claims of financing anti-Ruto movements.

“We are here as government officers because we know where our power comes from and we are never going to be shy when we are talking about this. We come here because we have a lot of support that we get through our president,” Kibicho said in Kirinyaga last year.

Recently, Kibicho has been on a crusade to popularise the BBI. He has made stops at various radio stations to campaign, a move which is rubbing politicians the wrong way.

The bespectacled Kibicho walks the fine line between his civil service job and politics. He discharges his duties as PS with all the makings of a politician, complete with a sharp tongue and a peppering of arrogance.

As the holder of an office that oversees the country’s key security installations, Kibicho is at the apex of government and has distinguished himself as one of the president’s men.

But Kibicho is not the only on who has found himself in the political crossfire due to the stature of their offices. Mutea Iringo, a former powerful Interior PS during President Mwai Kibaki’s government, was also accused of recruiting and coaching witnesses to testify against Ruto at the Hague.

Download the BBI Judgement by all seven Judges - Civil Appeal No. E291 of 2021
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