First an alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister; next an MP says he was held up late at night by armed youths and tells Parliament of sinister meetings in Nairobi; then an ODM activist says he was threatened and warned not to attend a rally in Limuru. Whichever way you look at it there’s something very unpleasant going on.
The day before a warrant was issued for the arrest of MP Jakoyo Midiwo on a charge of giving “false information” over an alleged plot to kill Raila Odinga, Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara made a personal statement to Parliament to report a most harrowing incident.
“UHURU I AM WITH YOU”
Imanyara’s statement, carried live on TV, alleged he was held up late at night near State House by armed youths who forced him to kneel facing Mount Kenya and repeat the words “Uhuru tuko pamoja” (Uhuru I am with you) three times. Then, according to a friend of Imanyara’s, the youths threatened to cut off his head and send it to his wife and children if he attended rallies in Limuru and Meru that were supportive of Raila Odinga.
At about 11.30pm the previous evening, Imanyara told the House, “I saw a saloon car parked in the middle of the road as if it had stalled. I slowed down. Three young men accosted me and inquired if I was Gitobu Imanyara… They then told another person seated in the saloon car ‘he is the one’”. It was then, according to Imanyara, that he was forced to his knees, made to repeat his support for Uhuru and warned not to attend the rallies.
Gitobu Imanyara said that the attack on him was linked to meetings attended by some MPs at a hotel in Nairobi, at which he and others were identified as, “stumbling blocks to some political agenda”.
LIMURU 2B NOT TO BE
One of the rallies in question was the so-called ‘Limuru 2B’ gathering in response to Uhuru Kenyatta’s appearance there last month when he was declared the leader of Gema (the Gikuyu, Embu and Meru communities), which was supposed to have taken place on the same day that Imanyara made his dramatic personal statement to Parliament.
In the event the Limuru 2B rally did not go ahead as planned after it was broken up by baton-wielding police who reportedly lobbed teargas canisters into the crowd and fired live rounds above their heads. This led to angry confrontations with the rally’s organisers, including MP Paul Muite who condemned the police action as being politically motivated and threatened to sue senior officers.
FRIENDS OF RAILA ODINGA THREATEND
Gitobu Imanyara wasn’t the only person to allege that he was threatened not to attend Limuru 2B. Eliud Owalo, the general secretary of the political campaign group ‘Friends of Raila’ (Fora), said he too was ‘warned’ in a telephone conversation and asked why he wanted to hold a rally in Meru.
According to press reports, Eliud Owalo said the telephone threat came minutes after a Fora meeting which Gitobu Imanyara had also attended and after which he was allegedly accosted by the youths near State House.
Imanyara and Owalo remained defiant. “I will not be cowed”, declared Imanyara. “I will not be stopped from implementing this Constitution”, he went on. “These are acts of intimidation intended to scare ODM members”, said Owalo, “but they will not stop our plans”.
THE KENYA FORUM’S CONCERNS…
As with the allegations made by Jakoyo Midiwo, of a plot to kill Prime Minister Odinga, the Kenya Forum has concerns.
If the allegations made by Gitobu Imanyara and Eliud Owalo are true they are very serious indeed. If true, the police must make every effort to catch the culprits that held up the MP for Imenti Central and there must be a full investigation into any threats to Mr Owalo that could have been aimed at curtailing his democratic right to campaign on behalf of Raila Odinga and the ODM.
The Forum are concerned too that the Limuru 2B rally ended in violent confrontation and we urge that an investigation be mounted immediately to find out if the police actions were legitimate and lawful.
However, the Kenya Forum is also concerned, that as with the Jakoyo Midiwo allegations, Mr Imanyara has not as yet contacted the police and that he made his first statement on the matter to Parliament.
We are also somewhat curious as to why Imanyara would stop late at night on seeing a car “stalled” in the road. Nairobians know the score in such circumstances; it’s not something you do, just drive on.
For the attack on Mr Imanyara to have taken place on a road by State House is also odd. This is one of the most patrolled areas of the city.
And how come, as with the Midiwo story, does everyone seem to know who attended ‘secret’ meetings and what was said at them?
If the allegations are true action must be taken by the police and the relevant authorities to apprehend those responsible. If they transpire not to be true then those making the allegations must be warned that the rising tension such statements cause could lead to PEV – pre-election violence.
Either way, we need to know the truth.