Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i was on Saturday in Nyamira County giving reassurances on security during the elections.
However, the powerful Cabinet Secretary is yet to comment on the storm he created this week after sensationally associating himself with a banned criminal gang and suggesting he could order the police to look the other way if the group attacked those who attempt to stop people from voting on Thursday.
Addressing a Jubilee rally at Etago trading centre in South Mugirango, Kisii county, on Tuesday, Dr Matiang’i, who was in the company of Deputy President William Ruto, warned that as the Interior CS, he could unleash the militia on opposition supporters.
As acting Interior CS, Dr Matiang’i is directly in charge of the police docket.
Speaking in Ekegusii, Dr Matiang’i quipped: “Is that what you want? Whoever is joking does not know Chinkororo. I am Enkororo from here.”
He warned those intending to interrupt the presidential repeat poll that he would deal with them.
“We are Chinkororo and nobody can threaten us. You all know we have Chinkororo here. I am the minister for security and I will tell the police to look the other way so that they can slap that person,” he said, a warning widely believed to have been directed at Nasa leader Raila Odinga.
“What can someone tell me, a person who comes from the border,” he went on, amid cheers from the crowd.
While scoffing at opposition leaders over their call of “No Reforms No Elections” and the street protests to press for changes at the electoral body before they participate in the elections, Dr Matiang’i asked members of the Kisii community not to be scared by anyone.
“We fought with the Abamanyi (Maasai). No one can threaten us,” he warned.
Coming in the wake of fears from the opposition that the government was arming and even dressing outlawed gangs to unleash terror on its supporters during its demonstrations to press for changes at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Dr Matiang’i’s pronouncement has heightened fears that the dreaded Chinkororo could be used to cause violence ahead of or during the Thursday poll.
This is after a group dubbed the Nairobi Business Community bearing all the hallmarks of the outlawed Mungiki emerged recently to counter the Nasa demonstrations in Nairobi.
Nasa leaders have threatened legal action against the minister over the killings of anti-IEBC protestors and for associating with Chinkororo, an outlawed militia in Kisii region.
Speaking during the opposition’s parallel Mashujaa Day celebrations held in Kisumu to honour the victims of police brutality during the demos, the leaders also vowed to indict Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet over the shootings.
ODM Deputy Party leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said it was worrying that majority of those killed during the protests were members of the Luo Community.
“We will hold police individually responsible for the shootings. It is unfortunate that 90 per cent of those killed are Luos,” Mr Joho said at Dr Owuor grounds in Kisumu on Friday.
ODM National Chairman John Mbadi and Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo said they will sue Dr Matiang’i for the killings and his supposed links to Chinkororo.
“We will instruct our lawyers to move to court and sue Matiang’i for the indiscriminate killings and his association with an illegal sect,” he said.
Ms Odhiambo said if the Director of Public Prosecutions does not charge the CS then they would consider instituting private prosecutions.
“We will not relent in our quest for justice for our people,” said the MP.
Chinkororo started off as traditional warriors who were charged with the duty of protecting the community from hostile neighbours mainly the Maasai and the Kipsigis before it was hijacked by politicians who would hire them to unleash terror on their political opponents.
And just like the Mungiki, the state outlawed it through a Kenya Gazette notice alongside at least 33 other criminal groups in the country, including the Al-Shabaab, Amachuma, Angola Msumbiji, Banyamulenge, Baghdad Boys, Charo Shutu, Coast Housing Land Network, Congo by Force, Dallas Muslim Youth, Forty Brothers, Forty-two Brothers, Jeshi la Embakasi, Jeshi la Mzee and Jeshi la King’ole.
Others included Japo Group, Kamjesh, Kamukunji Youth Group, Kaya Bombo Youth, Kosovo Boys, Kuzacha, Makande Army, Mombasa Republican Council, Republican Revolutionary Council, Sabaot Land Defence Force, Sakina Youth, Siafu, Sungu Sungu and Taliban.
Interestingly, Dr Matiang’i made the controversial remarks in the presence of Mr Ruto who in 2007 came face to face with the Chinkororo during a political gathering in Nyamarambe in the same constituency.
Reacting to Dr Matiang’i’s latest remarks, Kisii Governor James Ongwae, his deputy Joash Maangi and Senator Sam Ongeri warned him against making such inflammatory statements.
“My advice to him and to other people who are like-minded, this nation is not build on vendetta, this nation will not be built on settling scores,” said Prof Ongeri.
He added, “We have all been in positions of authority but you must be able to calm down your nerves when you are dealing with national issues,” he added.
While asking the CS to retract his statement, Mr Ongwae said; “We do not want to hear such inflammatory utterances in this nation, he must retract the statement and apologise to Kenyans.”
Mr Maangi said it is time the national leadership put the interest of Kenya ahead of any personal or political interest.
“All we want is peace,” he said.