Limuru meeting organisers slam police excuses

April 20, 2012 10:16 am
Wambugu insisted that the agenda of the meeting was to deliberate the effects of tribalism on Kenya's nationhood/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 – Organizers of the aborted Limuru 2B meeting have dismissed police assertions that it was meant to re-launch the outlawed Mungiki sect, terming the claims as an attempt to cover up breaches of the Constitution.

The Executive Director of the Change Associates Trust Ngunjiri Wambugu termed the developments as ‘interesting’ after police earlier indicated that they cancelled the meeting due to concerns that the participants might be attacked by violent gangs sent to hijack the gathering.

Wambugu insisted that the agenda of the meeting was to deliberate the effects of tribalism on Kenya’s nationhood, starting from within Central Province, especially after talks by the Gikuyu, Embu and Meru Association (GEMA) at the same venue, a few weeks earlier.

Wambugu said that his organisation had engaged in such forums for the last four years across the country in a well documented process.

“The key speaker at the Limuru 2B meeting was Retired Archbishop David Gitari. To the best of our knowledge Dr Gitari has never been associated with Mungiki, the statement further stated.

On Thursday, Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said that the Limuru 2B meeting was cancelled after police received complaints that the illegal Mungiki gang was 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 former leader of the sect, Maina Njenga as the political leader of Central Kenya.

“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 on Thursday evening.

Wambugu insist that police were not impartial in their reservations with Njenga as he had attended many other meetings including the last GEMA meeting held in Limuru and no such claims were made.

“There has been concerted effort in some quarters to suggest that the presence of Maina Njenga is proof that it was a Mungiki meeting…. we invited Maina Njenga to this forum he had participated in other such public fora: including the recent GEMA Cultural Association meeting and the KANU delegates meeting, where such claims were not made,” the statement said adding that Njenga was a leader of a church registered by the Government of Kenya that has thousands of members that meet publicly, every Sunday.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga had ordered Internal Security Minister George Saitoti to take immediate action against the Commissioner of Police and all Provincial Administration officials who were involved in violent dispersal of the anti GEMA youths in Limuru.

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.


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