News 2008


Leaders look over their shoulders as they walk after two colleagues shot dead

Daily Nation


15. 02. 2008

Members of Parliament are scared following the killing of their colleagues and threats against their lives.

They blamed the perception that the august House was a money-making machine, the conduct of the Electoral Commission of Kenya during the December election and lack of confidence in the Judiciary to handle poll disputes.

In 36 hours their two colleagues had been felled by gunmen.

One of the MPs, Melitus Mugabe Were (Embakasi) was killed by unknown hitmen while his Ainamoi colleague David Kimutai Too was shot dead by a traffic officer in circumstances police commissioner described as “crime of passion.”

Orange representative

ODM leaders have dismissed this, saying there was no such crime in the country’s law books.

On Sunday, Ugenya MP James Orengo who is also one of the ODM representatives to the Kofi Annan peace mediation talks, claimed that his life was in danger after some gangsters invaded his Nairobi home.

The neighbours who saw the raiders claimed they numbered over 30 and were hooded.

Mr Orengo said leaders could be killed due to poll disputes because petitions at times take a whole parliamentary term before they can be concluded.

He cited the Kisauni election petition that pitted then area MP Anania Mwaboza against businessman Hassan Joho as a case of judicial dishonesty.

The lawyer also criticised the Electoral Commission’s decision to allow many parties participating in elections to back a presidential candidate from another group as illegal.

“The law is clear that any party fielding councillors and MPs must field a presidential candidate,” he said.

If a party fielded a single candidate against the many contesters drawn from various groups supporting one presidential nominee, they may have a second thought to eliminate the winner because they now they knew how they can balance support in a by-election.

The politicians interviewed said they believed that those threatening them were political adversaries from the same political parties that elected them to Parliament and those from the opposite side keen to boost their numbers.

ODM leaders particularly say they are targets of the attacks because of the post-election presidential disputes which could result in a hang Parliament which could block the passing of government Bills.

They demand an immediate attachment of security personnel to them.

House Speaker Kenneth Marende has asked the Government to protect the MPs.

The Speaker’s appeal contradicts claims by Government spokesman Alfred Mutua who had earlier announced that all MPs were provided with security personnel immediately they were elected.

Mr Marende later denounced Dr Mutua’s sentiments.

During a requiem Mass for the Mr Too, Mr Marende described the late Ainamoi MP as a young man who had developed credibility to win a heavily contested election.

Alego Usonga MP Edwin Yinda said the deaths could either be due to business rivalry or deals gone sour.

He said they had been asked to identify policemen or women of their choice to be seconded to them for their security.

He said even with security, hit men were highly trained and intelligent but welcomed any measures to protect leaders.

“This Parliament is bestowed with a bigger task than any other and creating a by election in our areas is a preoccupation of a threatened lot.

“Some believe that they can win seats left vacant now that political ideology for the last elections has shifted ground from the presidency,” he said.

Nyando MP Fred Outa said district security bosses had allocated them day time officers who left them alone in the night when their services are not considered to be official working hours.

The MP said for the underworld, murder and assassination went beyond personal security because gangs were capable of posting killers even outside MPs’ living rooms.

“The late Dr Odhiambo Mbai was just reading a newspaper in his balcony yet the compound had a gate and watchmen. They can lure anybody. You really trust and I think God is the keeper and protector of life,” he said.

Dr Mbai, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, was killed by unknown assailants in his Nairobi home.

Mr Orengo said Kenya was at a crossroads and those seen to be political heavy weights in the changing dispensation were the enemy’s targets.

Political insecurity

Mr Orengo claimed many people were happy with the state of political insecurity with the hope that they could gain through influence peddling.

The MP said two regions of the country felt insecure because “losers of power were scheming all the time to find a weaker point of remaining with lesser opponents inside and outside Parliament.”

The lawyer said some people believed that had the stalemate been a two-community affair, “the disputed presidential elections would be a non-issue as it was during the Moi regime.”

“President Moi never won elections but divided communities and targeted only one for defeat in the ballot and another for divide and rule for five years. His elections could not therefore be disputed though flawed all the time. This reduced insecurity against politicians,” he said.

House seats

He described threats against MPs as real because of those who look at the positions as employment opportunities for purposes of influence and business peddling.

Mr Orengo said battles for parliamentary seats claimed lives, and that could give a bigger picture to what is happening.

“Some people used all their wealth to buy leadership and do not believe they have been reduced to nothing. They are capable of finishing anybody at will because the psychological trauma they and their families are going through is not yet over,” he added.

He noted that the matter was grave after it dawned on some parties and communities that had they fielded a single candidate against some of the MPs, they could have won.

The MP faulted the country’s laws, saying they had created a monster of “we wish we knew and fielded one candidate”.

Female MPs who refused to be named said they were the most vulnerable because they had defeated fairly violent opponents.

Others said they had fallen out with husbands following their decision to venture into politics and that the men were unhappy.