Raila men pay price in police oath crackdown
The arrest and prosecution of Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang’ and fiery lawyer Miguna Miguna for their alleged role in the “swearing in” of opposition leader Raila Odinga has sparked fears that the former prime minister could also be picked up.
Mr Miguna was Tuesday morning arraigned before Kajiado Resident Magistrate Edwin Malochi, five days after Mr Kajwang’ was charged and freed on bond.
In the charge sheet prepared for both Mr Miguna and Mr Kajwang,’ the police allege that they helped the opposition leader to commit a crime.
The charge sheet against Mr Miguna alleged that he “was present and consented to the administering of an oath to Raila Amollo Odinga purporting to bind him to commit a capital offence of treason,” leading to fears among opposition supporters that the National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader could also be arrested and charged with committing treason.
NO INTEREST IN RAILA
While the State has now gone for two of the key figures at the six-minute ceremony at Uhuru Park last Tuesday, it has shown no interest in the man who took the oath as the people’s president.
Police, however, sought to downplay fears that they were planning to arrest any Nasa leader “as of now.”
The National Police Service said in a statement they were not interested in arresting Nasa leaders who had gone to court and obtained anticipatory bail.
“Those individuals should therefore not bother turning up at the DCI offices. They are not persons of interest to the police as of now. The National Police Service wishes to state that neither Hassan Joho, Jimmy Wanjigi, David Ndii nor the nine others who have sought anticipatory bail are being sought as of now in connection with commission of any crimes,” the police said.
A senior Nasa official who requested not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter said he doubts the state could go for Mr Odinga.
“I really doubt anybody would want to go in that direction, it is highly unlikely,” he said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by a senior government official familiar with the matter, observing that the former prime minister is not likely to be arrested because of the expected reaction from his supporters.
But two MPs allied to Nasa maintained that the plan by the police to arrest Mr Odinga was real.
Uriri MP Mark Nyamita said the arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders are just a smokescreen, adding that the real target was Mr Odinga.
“We want to tell the government to stop shadow boxing and go for their target, then they will know that they don’t know what they are doing,” Mr Nyamita said.
Kathiani MP Robert Mbui expressed similar fears, saying it was just a matter of time before the police go for Mr Odinga.
“The government will keep arresting the leaders so as to test the reaction of Nasa supporters. If the reaction is not severe, it will embolden them to go for people like Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Siaya Senator James Orengo and finally Mr Odinga,” he said.
But ODM secretary for political affairs and Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi downplayed the fears, saying the consequences of arresting Mr Odinga were too serious.
“These shenanigans by the police under obvious political instructions are only succeeding in polarising the country further and the sooner they stop the better,” he said.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said any attempt to arrest Mr Odinga could trigger serious chaos in the country.
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata said Mr Odinga did not commit any offence to warrant his arrest as he did not swear an oath purporting to be the President of the Republic of Kenya but as “the people’s president.”
Still, the withdrawal of Mr Odinga’s security detail and firearm licences as well as those of his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi has left the Nasa bosses and elected representatives exposed, fuelling fears of the possibility of arrest.
National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed said while the government appears keen on cracking down on people around Mr Odinga, going for the opposition chief would be disastrous.
“If they are trying to test the waters by arresting people around Raila, then they are playing with fire in their hands. Arresting Raila will be the most dangerous thing that can happen in Kenya,” warned Mr Mohammed.
This week, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) dismissed media reports that the Opposition chief has been keeping away from his Karen home and has resorted to spending the night in hotels.