“Leave Matiang’i, Seth Okute Alone, ” Raila Defends Allies After Police Harassment

Former Interior CS Fred Matiangi (L) and Seth Okute (R). PHOTO/ Courtesy

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has condemned the increasing harassment of his allies by the police. The ODM supremo singled out the Interior Ministry for misusing the police to go after prominent leaders perceived to be linked to the opposition chief.

Last week, the police arrested ODM-affiliated politician, Seth Steve Okute and other persons. According to the police, the ODM politician, Seth Okute was being held on suspicion of being behind a gold racketeering cartel that had allegedly obtained money by false pretence. Among other accusations levelled on Hon. Okute include funding of the Azimio rallies that have sparked a sharp debate in the country.

On Wednesday, 8th February, the police staged a siege outside the home of former Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, with his brother and lawyers decrying ill-motivated harassment and an illegal ploy to arrest him. A shocking pattern, right?

In both the arrests of the two ODM politicians and the attempted arrest of former CS Matiang’i, the stories and defence narratives put forward by the police have huge gaps of inconsistencies as to the real motive of the police and state agents involved.

Raila, who issued a statement after the botched attempt to arrest CS Matiang’i, decried use of police officers to harass opposition leaders as a way to draw attention from his campaign against the high cost of living under the Ruto administration.

“I was shocked to hear that this was happening at this time of the night. The times of late-night arrests and detentions without any formal charges appear to be coming back,” Raila Odinga said.

Raila Odinga. PHOTO/ Courtesy

The Azimio chief urged his supporters not to be distracted with the arrests that are meant to sell fear and create confusion within the opposition ranks.

The former Prime Minister vowed to stand behind Matiangi and any other Kenyan facing injustice to ensure that the law of this country is respected.

He added that Matiang’i being a former Interior CS, civility demands that the Government of the day accords him due process and his rights.

“We will not allow the dark days of repression to return. We shall stand with him to the end,” he said.

In November last year, Raila regretted that President Ruto’s regime had resorted to being “vindictive” against the state officers of the former regime “in the pretext of pursuing extrajudicial persecutions.”

“Ruto appears to believe that the coming of his regime is a perfect mandate for him to punish the officers he long had a grudge against. We are here to say no,” Odinga said last year.

Raila was speaking following the dismissal of former Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti.

After Kinoti’s dismissal, which was disguised as resignation, President Ruto on October 16, swung-into action and consequently disbanded the DCI Special Service Unit (SSU) formerly known as the flying squad.

Several other government officials were also forced to resign, including former Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai.

Others pushed out include pushed out is former Kenya Revenue Authority board chairperson and ex-Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, former chairperson of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Lewis Nguyai, former chairperson of the National Council for Population and Development board David Ngugi and ex-chairperson of the board of Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) Rita Achieng’ Okuthe.

Former Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) board chairman Gilbert Kibe resigned and was replaced by President Ruto’s confidante, Ms Mary Wambui.

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