NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 19 – Police on Thursday defended their move to disperse a meeting in Limuru Wednesday organised to counter another held there by GEMA leaders two weeks ago saying intelligence reports indicated it was meant to relaunch the outlawed Mungiki sect.,
Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said that the Limuru 2B meeting was cancelled after police received complaints that gangs of the illegal Mungiki were extorting money from matatu operators and small business traders in parts of Central and Rift Valley to finance the meeting.
He told a news conference that the meeting was also meant to install a former sect leader as the political leader of Central region.
“Further information supplied by the complainants was that the plan was to use the proscribed Mungiki criminal gang to ensure that voters from the Mt Kenya region are intimidated to vote in a bloc as directed by the organised criminal gang kingpin. It became apparent that the meeting was intended to achieve unlawful purpose and the organisers were immediately notified of the cancellation,” the Police Spokesman said.
Kiraithe however called on the police to always act within the law and not use excessive force as witnessed on during the Wednesday incident.
“We do not want to take on individual acts which might have been unprofessional by police officers. We have carried out a lot of training, a lot of people have spoken on the need to observe democratic principles of governance and human rights and really it is not our expectation that a police officer should use excessive force especially when the person to be arrested has already been subdued,” he said.
Earlier on Prime Minister Raila Odinga had ordered Internal Security Minister George Saitoti to take immediate action against the Commissioner of Police Matthew Iteere and all Provincial Administration officials who were involved in violent dispersal of the anti GEMA youth in Limuru.
In a statement, the PM said that the police had failed to protect the rights of the conveners of the meeting by using teargas and live ammunition to disperse them.
But the Police Spokesman maintained that it was the role of the police to discourage any kind of conduct or statements which cause anxiety, heightened ethnic suspiciousness or any groupings which may be used for such purpose.
“In the new constitutional dispensation, it was the expectation of the police that if the organisers were aggrieved by this decision, they would proceed to the reformed Judiciary to give police an opportunity to justify the cancellation of the meeting in a court of law,” Kiraithe stated.
He added: “Unfortunately, some of the organisers displayed the culture of impunity and instead opted to engage in riots forcing police officers to take action.”
On the claims by Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo that there was a plot by some members of government to assassinate Prime Minsiter Raila Odinga, Kiraithe said police had completed investigations and the file forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“In regard to Honorable Gitobu Imanyara’s allegations in parliament (that his life was in danger), he has already recorded a statement with us and investigations are ongoing,” he said.
He said police had attached bodyguards to all Members of Parliament to provide all time protection.