State denies BBC report on link
to post-election violence
March 6, 2008
BBC and Standard Reporter
The Government has denied a BBC report indicating that the State
sanctioned the recent violence in parts of the country.
The respected British broadcaster quoted sources alleging that
meetings were hosted between the banned Mungiki militia and senior
"The aim was to hire them as a defence force in the Rift Valley to
protect the Kikuyu community," the BBC story says.
But on Wednesday, the government called the allegations "preposterous".
A statement by Government Spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, said: "The
Government of Kenya has been shocked by a story appearing on the
BBC that alleges that members of the banned group Mungiki held
meetings at State House, Nairobi, the Official Office of the
"No such meetings took place at State House or any government
Such "unfounded lies" are "injurious to the President, Government
and the people of Kenya," the statement said.
Mutua said the Mungiki sect was a criminal organisation, adding
that last year, it launched a special operation to wipe out the
sect and arrested its key leaders.
Head of Presidential Press Service Mr Isaiya Kabira told the BBC
that State House was "a very honourable place", adding that "if
anything in the last one or two months, all meetings that have
taken place here have been aimed at trying to achieve a peaceful
solution" to Kenya’s problems.
The BBC’s Karen Allen in Nairobi says there was growing suspicion
that some of the violence that led to 1,500 people being killed
and hundreds of thousands displaced was orchestrated by both sides
of the political divide.
On the weekend of January 25, the BBC report says, the Rift Valley
towns of Nakuru and Naivasha were the focus of the some of the
worst post-election violence.
Eyewitnesses spoke of homes belonging to some communities being
marked, then gangs with machetes — who they claim were Mungiki —
Sources inside the Mungiki have told the BBC that it was a
renegade branch of the outfit that was responsible for violence,
A policeman who was on duty at the time, who has spoken to the BBC
on condition of anonymity, has also pointed to clear signs of
He alleges that in the hours before the violence in Nakuru, police
officers had orders not to stop a convoy of minibus taxis, called
"matatus", packed with men when they arrived at police checkpoints.
"When we were there... I saw about 12 of them [matatus] packed
with men," he said. "There were no females... I could see they
were armed. We were ordered not to stop the vehicles, to allow
them to go."
The allegations come at a time of growing concern that there was
pre-planned violence on both sides of the political fence, in the
aftermath of Kenya’s disputed election results.
The International Crisis Group has already raised such concerns
and Human Rights Watch is expected to publish its report shortly
making similar claims.