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Dr David Matsanga is the Chairman of Pan African Forum.

Fifth Estate

Police can arrest you from anywhere, anytime

By Dr.David Matsanga in United Kingdom London

I live in London and there is no difference in the arrests as long as there is a complaint filed at a police station. The only difference is that in London they don’t warn you like in Kenya.

I have a close friend who is a senior police officer in London. I asked the guy and he told me that they operate on the same Commonwealth law of policing. So there was nothing political. They arrest anytime even at A wedding ceremony or funeral and it can be at midnight because they conduct operations all day and all night.

In fact, the British ones are very tough on those who resist the arrest. They have a section that includes another charge of resisting and obstruction of police work. It is the same doctrine of law followed in the entire commonwealth, including Kenya.

So the arrests of the three senators in Kenya this week had nothing to do with the senate revenue allocation formula and their stand on it. The Interior Cabinet Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has said they were wanted for questioning for criminal offenses.

According to police, each of the three senators were wanted for separate crimes they are accused of having committed in their home Counties in Mumias, Samburu and Bomet with summons having been issued.

It is absurd for the leaders to politicise the matter and make insinuations that they were targeted for holding particular viewpoints when the truth is that the summons were issued within the law.

For Senator Christopher Langat of Bomet, police said he was wanted for questioning over an oathing ceremony for youth to fight in Narok.

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And for Senator Cleophas Malala of Kakamega, police said they wanted to question him over various offences dating back, including a gathering in which he is accused of contravening COVID-19 regulations by addressing a crowd.

Senator Steve Lelegwe of Sambur was reportedly wanted by police in his home county over incitement in the cattle rustling menace.

I find the action by police on these 3 senators justified. It was not a political but criminal matter. The police gave senators respect and time for weeks but these guys refused to cooperate. Time caught up with them.

These arrests have sparked critisicim on the police from various quarters.

I want to advise my friend the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya William Samoei Ruto. For free. His condemnation of the police was pretentious and seeking to sway the public opinion.

The Deputy President is the boss of the same government where the police serve. He ought to be well aware of police actions in every part of Kenya. He is the second in command. In case of any queries, he should have called the IG of Police or the CS Interior to discuss the matter instead of ranting on social media.

Some of us who have stood by the Deputy President since 2008 when the ICC cases were framed on him by fake people, I will say this without fear that statements like the one he made are expected from Raila Odinga but not him who is supposed to support and guide police silently.

But it appears that he did not and only ran straight to the media, complaining like other ordinary Kenyans. The Deputy President is guarded by very many police officers yet he, while enjoying state protection, unilaterally condemns the same police over matters for which he lacks facts.

Rather than subvert government systems and efforts from within, the honorable thing would be for him to become a leader of Opposition and then critique the Government from outside. He can openly join the opposition. This is my opinion as an African elder.

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In conclusion, I believe that the senators broke the law and the law was catching up with them.

They are not above the law and should face charges like other Kenyans. They should not politicise everything.

Other elected leaders have been summoned in the past and obeyed the summons without causing drama. Why can’t they behave like responsible law-abiding citizens?

Politicians should stop politicizing matters of law enforcement. This is undermining the security of the country. No one is above the law in Kenya.

Law and order cuts across all institutions. It must be respected. Police can arrest you from any part of the country and from any comfort and take you to court. It Commonwealth law.

The writer is a Political Scientist and International Relations with Conflict Resolution Expert bias, an investigative Journalist and a Pan African based in Surrey London, the United Kingdom.

Twitter @Dr.David Matsanga

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