NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 14 – When Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti announced in November 2020 that he had opened investigations into threats on people living in Rift Valley, he received a backlash from various political leaders.
Some even accused him of fanning violence and questioned why his office was recording statements from people who filed complaints following eviction threats.
A year later, Kinoti has been vindicated after Meru Senator Mithika Linturi was arrested after using the “Madoadoa” phrase at a political rally in Eldoret where he said Madoadoa, which means spots in English, should be kicked out even though he has since apologised and sought to clarify that he meant people should not vote for leaders who are non-locals.
Asked what prompted the November 2020 investigation, Kinoti said his office is always ready and prepared to undertake investigations on any matter.
“The work of the DCI is not reactionary, we are always pro-active,” Kinoti said, “the work of a police officer is to also disrupt and deter before a crime occurs. We do not wait for violence to occur for investigations to start,” he said, “we are always at work.”
Detectives from the DCI are seconded to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), including specialised teams from the Cyber Crime, Crime ane Research Intelligence Bureau (CRIB), Special Service Unit (SSU), Forensic among others.
Besides Linturi, several other political leaders are under investigation for incitement, hate speech among others.
Kinotin said his office is effectively working with multi-agency teams to secure the country ahead of the August elections to avoid a repeat of the 2007-08 post-election violence that left half a million people dead and thousands more displaced,
“We will not let it happen again,” said George Kinoti in November 2020 when he opened investigations into complaints filed by people seeking justice, “we have received numerous complaints and we are acting on them.”
Kinoti told journalists at the time that up to 118 cases had been recorded, including 72 by people whose relatives were killed in the post-election violence and were still receiving threats.
He said 44 others were from people who were kicked out of their homes, some returned but are still living under threats.
Kinoti said they are taking action because the threats and intimidation reported by some of the victims are similar to what happened in the country in 2007-08.
“It is a matter we cannot take lightly because we all saw what happened in our country. People were well profiled and deliberately perceived as enemies just because of their voting pattern,” Kinoti said, “in the end, many people were killed, their houses burnt and many uprooted from their homes.”
Six individuals, including President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto were indicted at the time by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for various roles, but their cases were dropped for lack of evidence.
The two had been charged alongside then-Police Commissioner Mohamed Ali, Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, former Minister Henry Kosgey, and Radio Presenter Joshua Arap Sang. All their cases were dropped for lack of evidence.
Kenya’s political temperatures have been rising as leaders seek to popularise themselves and their parties ahead of the election.