Amid concerns from various quarters over violence reported during recent by-elections, the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has swung into action, directing police boss Hillary Mutyambai to probe the incidents and submit a report within 30 days.
In a letter to the Inspector General of Police, Haji cited incidences of violence and other electoral malpractices reported in Matungu Constituency within Kakamega County and London Ward in Nakuru County during the Thursday, March 4 by-elections.
In London Ward, Deputy President William Ruto’s allies, who were agents for the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate, were teargassed after chaos erupted at the Milimani Primary School polling station.
Lang’ata Member of Parliament Nixon Korir was roughed up by a group of youths at the polling station and thereafter clashed with police who he accused of having instigated the violence.
“Pursuant to Article 157 (4) of the Constitution, sections 5 (2) and (3) of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act, No. 2 of 2013, and Section 21 of the Elections Offences Act, No. 37 of 2016, I hereby direct that you immediately institute joint investigations into the said allegations and submit the resultant investigations file within 30 days hereof, ” said Haji in a letter to the IG dated March 5.
Further, the DPP directed that investigation be undertaken with regard to an incident visible on a video clip circulating in the mainstream media and social media with regard to an assault on an electoral official by former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa.
Echesa was captured on camera slapping an Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) presiding officer-in-charge of Bulonga Primary School polling station during the Matungu Parliamentary by-election.
In the infamous viral video, Echesa is heard complaining about the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) agents being chased from the polling centre.
“You were told by who? Our agents are outside the polling centre. You cannot keep our agents outside. Why are you chasing them outside?” Echesa posed before assaulting the victim identified as Peter Okura.
Echesa was arrested on Friday by police in Kakamega and transferred to Nairobi pending arraignment.
The incidents reported in London Ward and Matungu were condemned by a section of Kenyan leaders who expressed their fears that the same might be witnessed in the 2022 General Election if action is not taken.
Following the concerns, National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) yesterday summoned 10 lawmakers over the violence that rocked the Thursday by-elections.
The lawmakers include Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, MPs Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Faisal Bader (Msambweni) and John Waluke (Sirisia).
Others are MPs Ben Washiali (Mumias East), Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini), Charles Were (Kasipul), Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon) and Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga.
According to NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia, the legislators are expected to appear before the commission on Monday to shed light on the roles they played during the chaos witnessed during the elections.
“These summons do not just indicate our intention to investigate and prosecute but rather also indicate the plan of the Commission to stop the unethical from occupying office” said Kobia.