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NSIS boss denies interfering with ECK

NAIROBI, July 18 – The Director General of the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) Major General Michael Gichangi on Friday denied allegations that he had misled the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) on modalities of announcing the results, leading to spontaneous violence in the country.

He was responding to accusations levelled against him by lawyer Harun Ndubi, who while cross examining the spy boss demanded to know if he had, in any way, misled the ECK in his advice.

Ndubi argued that, omissions and commissions of the ECK in announcing last year’s presidential elections results may have been based on the advice of the NSIS, particularly the unprecedented delay that heightened political tensions in the country.

But the NSIS boss, who began testifying at the Justice Philip Waki-led Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence (CIPEV) on Thursday tabled a letter he had written to ECK chairman Samuel Kivuitu only advising on the modalities of announcing the presidential results and not on any delays.

Below is an excerpt from Friday’s proceedings at the commission:

Ndubi: “So Mr Gichangi, I put it to you that it was the NSIS proposition to and interference of the ECK that led to the delay of announcement of the Presidential results.

Gichangi: I would say that your assertion is not correct.

Ndubi: You would not agree even if I was right.

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Gichangi: I would say that your assertion is not correct.”

Ndubi was of the opinion that the NSIS was to blame for the spontaneous violence witnessed in the country, because they had advised the ECK on how to handle the election results.

During cross examination, Ndubi also sought to know if the NSIS had, in any way, interfered with the ECK’s register.

Ndubi: “In the run up to the elections, Raila Odinga, then Presidential candidate held a press conference and alleged that NSIS staff was on the 13th floor of Anniversary towers interfering with the electoral register. What would you say to that?

Gichangi: I would say that that statement is not true.

Ndubi: Though you are aware that it was made?

Gichangi: I am aware it was made but there was no fact or truth to it.”

The spy chief had earlier declined to answer any of the questions put to him, citing confidential clauses and the nature of his work but was ordered by Justice Waki to comply.

Prior to Friday afternoon’s public hearing, Maj Gen Gichangi had been taken in for a private session to give evidence on some of the ‘highly confidential’ issues he could not raise during Thursday’s public session.

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The NSIS is represented at the commission by lawyers Ahmednassir Abdulahi and John Katiku.

On Thursday, the department defended itself against allegations that it had failed to advise the government accordingly prior to the post election violence and maintained it was alert all through the electioneering period and even before.

Maj Gen Gichangi told CIPEV that he adequately advised the government on possible post poll violence, long before the elections were held.

“We advised the relevant authorities on anticipated violence particularly in the Rift Valley, Nairobi and Coast Provinces,” said NSIS Director of Analysis and Production, Justus Osoro.

Testifying before the five-member Commission of Inquiry, the two senior officials blamed inter-ethnic rivalry dating back to the dawn of multiparty politics in 1992 for the skirmishes.

“We were alert throughout the year due to the charged political events in the country. We compiled reports and shared information with all security agencies at all times,” he said.

Osoro, who made a power point presentation that included confidential letters to relevant arms of government, said they had intelligence reports that violence would erupt whatever the outcome of the presidential election.

He said the department advised the government accordingly and even predicted reactions of the two main political parties that contested for the presidency – the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

The government, he said, was adequately briefed of the polarised and charged political environment before the country went into the General Election.

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In his submission, Osoro said that the department had foreseen a possible rejection of results, regardless of who would be declared winner between PNU’s President Mwai Kibaki and ODM’s Raila Odinga.

“My lords we advised on the likelihood of the Opposition forming a parallel government,” he said.

And in case Odinga was declared winner, he said, ‘we saw the possibility of a civil strike and the likelihood of a decline in power hand-over’.

“There was a likelihood of Kibaki die-hards declining to a power hand-over,” he said.

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