Talk of violence is again taking centre stage in the Kenya general election campaign as the country braces for the polls on Tuesday.
This has been reignited by leaflets that were distributed in some areas, particularly Uasin Gishu County, threatening violence against the communities if they did not vote for a certain candidate. Uasin Gishu is in the Rift Valley, traditional home of the Kalenjin, the large group to which candidate William Ruto belongs.
Mr Ruto, who is the incumbent Deputy President and the candidate for Kenya Kwanza alliance has accused his rivals of influencing the state to disorganize his campaigns by blocking him from venues of his scheduled rallies, including the coveted Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.
Uasin Gishu, in the western part of the country woke up on Monday to the leaflets pinned on trees around at Cheplaskei and Huruma in Eldoret town, and the act was immediately condemned by the chiefs there.
The county located in the Rift Valley is home to different ethnic groups. The minister (Cabinet Secretary) for internal affairs, Fred Matiang’i said that at least 9 people had been arrested for questioning in connection with the leaflets.
Ruto said the leaflets were a desperate action by his opponents aimed at tarnishing his campaign, adding that state officials are involved.
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The chiefs of the resident communities in Uasin Gishu County, including the Kalenjin, Uasin Gishu and Kisii and Somalis have all condemned the circulation of the leaflets, which also targeted some communities.
The elders told the media that they will not, and the country should not tolerate moves that threaten peace and coexistence, and that politicians should desist from employing youths to commit crime.
Ruto says that since President Uhuru Kenyatta is aware of what is happening and the people hind it, he should take action to stop it before things get out of hand.
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Ruto told a media briefing this morning that this is the work of the rival camp, Azimio la Umoja of Raila Odinga, whom he accuses of altering his written statements to fan disharmony among the Kenyans and threaten them away from going to vote.
Unfortunately, according to Ruto, no state authority has made any statement on these developments.
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"We have eight suspects who we suspected of sharing the leaflets and they should be taken to court, even the claims you heard that the leaflets were authored by people from the office of the president, now we have eight suspects in police custody and none of them is an employee of the office of the president," minister Matiang'i said.
He dismissed talk that the meetings will the chiefs were ill-intentioned and aimed at mobilizing them to cause chaos.
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Ruto also urged the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission to exercise its powers and reign in on the government officials being used to even disrupt his rallies by blocking him from his appointed venues.
One such venue is the Nyayo Stadium which has been a center of conflicts between the two camps, after the government told the Ruto camp that the popular stadium would not be available for the campaign.
On Wednesday, Kenya Kwanza rushed to court and secured an injunction against the government’s plans to hold any events there and allow Ruto’s last rally to be held there.
He told the media on Thursday that even if authorities block him, “we will still have the meeting at Nyayo stadium.”
He was due to hold his rally at Tononoka in Mombasa, the last one in the coastal city, but was sent a message in the morning stopping him because President Kenyatta would be in the city to launch several government projects.
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After engagement with the police, the rally was finally allowed later in the evening.