FACE-OFF

Matiang'i answers Ruto, says chiefs rigging plot claims reckless

Says Ruto should state if he has problem with security chiefs, or vice versa

In Summary

• “Security matters cannot be subjected to propaganda and gossip. It was wrong for Ruto to canvass the concerns in public," Matiang'i said.

• He said the government has no intention of interfering with election, and will not shut down the internet or disrupt power supply.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i when he visited Tot police station on June 8, 2022
RECKLESS CLAIMS: Interior CS Fred Matiang'i when he visited Tot police station on June 8, 2022
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has fired back at the Deputy President terming his claims of a plot to use chiefs to rig Tuesday’s election in favour of Azimio as reckless.

He denied the existence of a plan to rig the forthcoming election using any of the national government administrative organs.

The CS spoke on Friday after after a meeting with security chiefs in Nairobi.

“Security matters cannot be subjected to propaganda and gossip. It was wrong for Ruto to canvass the concerns in public," he said.

Matiang'i said the deputy president knows how the government works and has at no time raised the matters with the National Security Council - the authority on security matters.

“He [Ruto] enjoys access to a privileged and influential platform to express himself and to canvass his concerns. There is no record of him voicing the grave allegations made yesterday at the NSC or any other official security platform,” he said.

By the nature of his job as deputy president, the CS said Ruto’s move to chastise and threaten chiefs in public was irregular as there are official channels for addressing such cases.

Matiang'i warned that through the utterances, Ruto could expose the administrative officers to attacks by his supporters, adding that government officers have no problem with the DP.

“Personalised attacks that cast aspersions on public officers who have no opportunity to defend their honour against their seniors, injures reputations potentially and exposes the victims and their families to harm,” he said.

Matiang’i was responding to Deputy President William Ruto’s allegations that government officials have been mobilised to campaign for Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

The DP also claimed that chiefs were being mobilised to suppress voter turnout by buying or holding ID cards, which voters require to take part in the election.

Kenya Kwanza further alleged that Matiang'i and Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho have been holding and hosting night meetings with Rift Valley administrators to provoke ethnic tension.

Ruto and his team also claimed that the government intended to use the Communications Authority and Kenya Power to interfere with polls by cutting internet and power supply respectively.

The Kenya Kwanza team said senior NGAO officials are part of the alleged scheme.

But Matiang'i, whose appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta as chief minister birthed bad blood with Ruto, said he was just on the receiving end of Ruto’s frustrations in the succession duel.

“Ignore these bent up frustrations that are being meted on security officials, chiefs and so on. We are just on the receiving end of some people’s frustrations, disappointments and unnecessary anger,” he said.

The CS dismissed Ruto as playing politics with attacks targeting the security apparatus, adding that the DP “has an understanding of how government works.”

“It [the government] is not a secret society cloaked in conspiracies and dark agendas. We don’t want chaos in the security sector. In terms of policy, we queue behind the President.

“It is so petty to imagine that an organisation that enjoys such institutional autonomy and protection of the law would resort to such primitive things like interfering with election,” the CS said.

Matiang'i said the question in the face-off coming in the sunset days of the Jubilee administration was whether it is the state functionaries who have a problem with Ruto or vice versa.

“Does the deputy president think anything of anybody? There is a pattern to this. Maybe there are two groups of civil servants in his wild view. In our sector alone, he has called us names.

“I have not seen a regional commissioner of Rift Valley that the DP has not asked to be sacked. We came under immense pressure to fire George Natembeya without providing reasons,” he said.

On concerns of his active political engagements, Matiang'i admitted he has a preferred side in the election but held that the stance wouldn’t interfere with his work as Interior CS.

“I will not lie to you. I have an inclination and I have preferences but I will also be very sincere with you that I will deliver on my constitutional obligation without fear and favour. And when it comes to that, I will remove my inclinations,” Matiang'i said.

The CS told journalists that the government remains committed to supporting the polls agency IEBC, to conduct the election and that administrative officers have been mobilised for the same.

“The national government administrative officers have been mobilised to support the exercise in general and not for any candidate or political formation,” he said.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)

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