Ruto, Matiang’i handshake loading ahead of President’s Kisii visit
There are concerted efforts to reconcile former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i with President William Ruto, the Nation has established.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu held a meeting with the former CS, in what multiple sources say is the first move towards reconciling and uniting the Gusii community.
The meeting also brought together former and current lawmakers from Gusii, community elders and church leaders, all geared toward promoting reconciliation and the region’s unity.
The meeting comes ahead of Mr Machogu’s homecoming ceremony on March 24. President Ruto is expected at the event.
Political tension had been building in the two counties of Kisii and Nyamira that make up the Gusii region, largely because of the recent happenings that have pitted the Kenya Kwanza administration against Dr Matiang’i.
It all began with an alarm that was raised by Dr Matiang’i via his lawyer, Danstan Omari, and a contingent of politicians led by Azimio leader, Raila Odinga, that an elite squad of police officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) wanted to raid his Karen Home.
However, several government agencies vehemently denied any raid. The former CS was then summoned to the DCI headquarters, ostensibly to assist in investigations pertaining to the alleged raid by police in his Nairobi home.
But on February 15, police actually raided Dr Matiang’i’s Karen house, breaking into every room as they allegedly sought CCTV camera footage.
It later emerged that the former CS had left the country on February 19, 2023, four days before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) announced summons for him to appear for questioning.
In a press release through his advocate, Mr Omari, Dr Matiang’i said he was in the United Kingdom to attend an urgent private family matter and shall return to resume his ordinary routine as a private citizen.
Mr Omari also said there were no valid summons issued to the former CS.
EACC denied involvement in the night operation only to resurface three weeks later seeking certified information on Dr Matiang’i’s declared wealth.
In a letter dated February 27, 2013, EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak said the commission was conducting a lifestyle audit on Dr Matiang’i.
Two detectives, Mr Abdul Low and Mr Paul Mugwe were to collect the documents from Mr Koskei’s office at Harambee House.
Days later, the DCI summoned the former minister to their headquarters on Kiambu Road.
The ex-Interior CS returned to the country on March 4 to find fresh summons by the DCI.
On March 7, the former CS honoured the summons by the DCI. He was accompanied by a battery of 12 lawyers including Mr Omari, Otiende Omollo and Okong’o Omogeni. He spent about eight hours in the DCI headquarters.
A charge sheet from the DCI showed that Matiang’i would be charged with publishing false information with intent to cause panic.
The other charges include conspiracy to commit a felony and Publication of False Information.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji on Wednesday last week said he was reviewing the file on claims by former CS that security agents raided his Karen home on February 9.
Mr Haji said in a statement that the decision to charge the former powerful security boss will be made in due course.
Sources in the Machogu-Matiang’i meeting indicate that elders were unhappy with how the government handled Dr Matiang’i, especially breaking into his house.
They said continued persecution of the former CS was causing tension across Gusii and that needed to be addressed urgently.
Sources indicate that tension was high in the region following the ‘harassment’ of the former powerful CS by the government and the environment would not have been conducive for President Ruto’s visit in the region.
The Machogu-Matiang’i meeting was held on Sunday evening at the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (Cemastea), a public education institution in Karen, Nairobi.
Notably, just hours after this meeting, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions released a statement indicating that there was no evidence to sustain charges against Dr Matiang’i and his lawyer, Mr Omari.
Several government agencies have in the last one month been going after Dr Matiang’i.
Mr Machogu, Dr Matiang’i, Solicitor General nominee Shadrack Mose, North Mugirango MP and chairman of the Gusii lawmakers caucus Mr Joash Nyamoko, former MPs Jimmy Angweny and Zebedeo Opore, top Seventh Day Adventist pastors and elders John Simba and Steve Omenge attended the meeting.
Mr Omenge is currently the patron of Gusii professionals and former Jubilee Campaign manager.
“Yes, it is true we held a meeting. Mr Machogu and Dr Matiang’i were present. All we want is to reconcile our people and unite the community. We heard from the former CS and he also listened to us. I must say it was a good meeting for the greater good of our community,” said Mr Nyamoko.
Sources present at the meeting indicated that the gathering had the blessings of President Ruto who has been saying that his focus is in uniting Kenyans.
“We cannot continue fighting as a community. Other regions are united and protecting their own, whether in the current or former regime. Here in Gusii, we focus too much on small fights, which are not useful to anyone. It is time we heeded the unity call and forge forward together,” said Mr Nyamoko who is serving his second term as an MP.
He explained that other leaders who served in former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime retired ‘peacefully’, all because of their community’s unity and protection of their own.
He explained that Mt Kenya’s unity was displayed when there were plans to oust the Teacher’s Service Commission boss Nancy Macharia from office. Her community stood with her.
The North Mugirango legislator noted that during the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) nominations, the Mt Kenya MPs and senators came together to elect Mr Maina Karobia and Kanini Kega.
“Matiang’i may have stepped on many people’s toes when he was in leadership. He apologised for that. His statement before the burial of the former Education CS George Magoha may have irked those in the government,” said Mr Nyamoko.
He added, “Our biggest problem is some of our community members who have specialised in hate and back-stabbing others for selfish gains. Those are the people fuelling Matiang’is woes. We established that he may be having his own issues with the current regime, which he thinks is after him, but he is not to be blamed for some of the political happenings around the country.”‘
“He apologised if he had hurt anyone with his statements. He is our son and this is what community members should bear in mind, he still remains our own,” said Mr Nyamoko.
He said Dr Matiang’i has a private life to live and because he has chosen it that way, his decisions should be respected.
When former President Daniel Arap Moi’s regime had issues with the late George Anyona and Simeon Nyachae, some of the elders present in the Machogu-Matiang’i meeting helped to quell the tension in Gusii then and bring a truce.
The elders were categorical that both the government and Dr Matiang’i should respect each other and should any of the parties have any issues, it should pass through them first before getting to the public.
The meeting passed three resolutions that will see further meetings being held to sort out Dr Matiang’is current woes and enhance the Gusii community’s unity.
First, all elected leaders from the region are expected to meet soon and hold discussions that will culminate in a meeting with President Ruto.
Mr Nyamoko was mandated to organise the Gusii lawmakers meeting soon.
Among emerging issues is how elected leaders should carry themselves going forward.
There have been claims that the lawmakers from the region are taking advantage of Dr Matiang’i’s situation for political mileage.
A case in point is when MPs Zaheer Jhanda and Japheth Nyakundi called for the arrest of the former CS in a rally held in Uasin Gishu last week.
Another concern is pro-Matiang’i leaders who are said to be escalating his woes in the name of protecting him but are only advancing their own political gains.
“We want to call for a cease-fire. All these should come to an end,” said Mr Nyamoko.
Apart from the scheduled lawmaker’s meeting, the elders are expected to meet again with the elected leaders and give guidance on how the community needs to conduct itself henceforth.
By Ruth Mbula
Ruto, Matiang’i handshake loading ahead of President’s Kisii visit