Politics

Raila condemns abuse of police powers in Bonchari and Juja

Raila condemns abuse of police powers in Bonchari and Juja

ODM leader Raila Odinga at Nairobi Serena Hotel on January 26, 2021.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has accused some government officials of using the police force to settle political scores in the just concluded by-elections.

Mr Odinga condemned abuse of police powers in Bonchari and Juja constituencies, terming it an arrogant display of impunity by a few overzealous government officials.

"What we have witnessed in the by-elections in Bonchari and Juja is an abuse of police powers and an arrogant display of impunity by a few overzealous and bellicose government functionaries," Mr Odinga said in a Twitter post on Wednesday morning.

He pointed out that an election process is an opportunity for the voters to express their will at the ballot and not an avenue to pursue" imaginary and short-legged political interests."

"Security forces exist to serve the people and not the interests of those out to conduct political experiments," he said.

He noted that the peaceful co-existence post-2018 must not be taken for granted by "some rogue elements wanting to confuse the handshake for an excuse to erode our hard-earned liberties."

The ‘Handshake’ deal between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the ODM leader continues to hang in the balance following the High court ruling that scuttled their Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) course as well as the by election disagreements.

Brokered on the steps of Harambee House on March 9, 2018, the two leaders settled on a nine-point agenda they sought to address through BBI.

The agenda include; ethnic antagonism, lack of a national ethos, inclusivity, devolution, divisive elections, security, corruption, shared prosperity and responsibility.

But the judgement by a five-judge bench on Thursday last week, which declared the process flawed as well as the hotly contested mini polls, now spells uncertainty on the truce that the two leaders have maintained sought to end cycles of electoral violence in the country.

Tuesday’s by-election fall-out between the ruling Jubilee party of President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga’s ODM in Bonchari constituency is said to have threatened the camaraderie the two parties have enjoyed since they inked the peace pact in 2018.

On Tuesday, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna expressed his dissatisfaction on how the party was treated during the mini poll, insisting they would review “our relationship with them if this is how they want to treat us.”

He also accused some government officials of using the police and national government administrators to undermine them while openly backing the Jubilee candidate Mr Zebedeo Opore against ODM’s Pavel Oimeke.

“Even in the past polls, we have seen some government officials want to stump authority. It is happening in Bonchari just as it happened in Matungu. We are not asking for any favour but we can’t be in a relationship with people who undermine us,” said Mr Sifuna.