News 2008

 

Who bankrolled post-election militia activities?



Published on 22/07/2008

By Beauttah Omanga



Names of politicians and other people who funded militia groups during post-election violence are known and will be revealed to the Justice Waki Commission in the next few days.

Commission chairman Justice Philip Waki ordered Intelligence chief Major General Michael Gichangi to give the Commission the details of those who bankrolled the militia.

Gichangi, the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) Director-General, said he would reveal the names to the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence, but only in camera.

However, people adversely mentioned in connection to the violence may be notified to appear before the Commission, Justice Waki said. Gichangi said the gangs, especially Mungiki, Chinkororo, Amachuma, Jeshi la King’ole and others, have a known chain of command, which he would soon lay bare.

"We investigated and established the faces behind the outlawed militia, but because of the sensitivity of the matter, my lords, I should not be pushed to naming them here," said Gichangi.

The NSIS chief also named ‘Kalenjin Warriors’ as another group that took part in the violence.

Gichangi agreed to reveal the names when he appeared under cross-examination by lawyer for civil society groups, Mr Harun Ndubi, who asked him: "Major General, in the past we have seen small fry arraigned in courts for being members of outlawed militia groups. Can you tell this Commission if you established who the financiers were?"

Director-General of NSIS Major General Michael Gichangi testified at the Waki Commission, on Monday. He is expected to name politicians who bankrolled the post-election militias.

Photo: Stafford Ondego/Standard

Gichangi answered: "Yes we did. We established they were politicians who were seeking elective posts as civic leaders and Members of Parliament."

Ndubi also asked whether there were people in the private sector who bankrolled the militias, to which Gichangi replied: "My lords, there were politicians, as well as others from the private sector, but we will avail that brief to the commissioners in private."

Following the spy chief’s revelation, the Commission indicated it could recall Police Commissioner Maj-Gen Hussein Ali, who testified last week, to shed more light on the issue.

Gichangi added that information on those behind the gangs that caused terror during the post-election violence period has already been given to various individuals in Government.

Later in the afternoon, the NSIS boss said all relevant departments were adequately briefed, but failed to act accordingly.

"Kenyans are still asking: ‘Where was the NSIS’? I want to tell them that we did our part, but the State security agents failed to respond as expected because they were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the violence," said Gichangi.

He said he would furnish the Commission with information from a group known as Emo Foundation that also investigated the period under review.

Gichangi said the NSIS had conducted research on criminal gangs before and after the General Election to establish the role they played then.

He said the Kalenjin Warriors — a criminal gang — was born after the violence broke out and the group did not have known leaders.

"Unlike the Rift Valley’s Kalenjin Warriors, other militia groups have known leadership establishments. The politicians revived the groups which they used to intimidate their rivals during the electioneering period and after," said Gichangi.

The spy chief also said some youths took oaths to commit atrocities in various parts with blessings from politicians.

He said in some parts, leaders openly urged their people, using coded phrases, to rise up and get rid of some communities.

Gichangi, however, declined to state if he recommended any remedial action or legal action against the leaders.

A lawyer representing people displaced from their homes challenged the NSIS boss to state if he was aware that there was oath taking in various parts months before the election-related violence.

The Commission is investigating the cause of post-election violence that claimed about 1,500 lives and displaced more than 300,000 people.

However, Gichangi denied claims that his department was actively involved the campaigns for the interest of one presidential candidate as claimed by Ndubi.

He revealed that a representative from the Electoral Commission of Kenya sat in various security meetings to get briefs on what needed to be done to ensure free and fair elections.

NSIS also advised the ECK to ensure that media houses were not allowed to relay results to the public as they received them before verifying them.

"My advice was aimed at ensuring that only official results were passed on to the public to avoid wrong results being declared," he said, adding that he also urged ECK to ensure speedy release of results to ensure that the media were not ahead of them.

Gichangi denied that some of his officers were stationed at Anniversary Towers building that houses the ECK headquarters.

But he said civil servants, including members of the disciplined forces, took sides in the elections, a position they had taken since the 2005 referendum campaigns.

"Deep division emerged right from the referendum where tribal interests took centre stage on issues in the document. The situation remained the same till last December’s polls," he said.

The witness said his department investigated claims that parallel ballot papers had been printed, adding that they turned out to be false.

Gichangi said it was not his advice that the special security cordon be thrown round KICC as presidential results were being announced.

However, he said it was appropriate to station the officers at KICC, but denied that the chaos were fueled by the delayed outcome.

 

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