Saturday, April 10, 2010



By Kipchumba Some

So why and when was the decision taken to use the Administration Police officers as PNU agents?

One week to the 2007 General Election, opinion polls indicated that opposition candidate Raila Odinga of ODM held a commanding lead against the incumbent President Kibaki of PNU. At the same time, PNU was in disarray. Just one week to the elections, the party was yet to recruit agents countrywide.

Some who had been recruited in opposition strongholds of Rift Valley and Nyanza were reporting hostilities towards them. "It dawned on us that we were going to lose the elections," said a former Cabinet minister who sought anonymity. "It was a desperate time for us."

Part of the desperation was caused by a group of individuals, many of them close to State House, who are claimed to have misappropriated the money meant for agents. "It is this same group that came up with the idea of using APs," claimed a PNU official.
"It was ingenious in that they would claim that the officers were needed to boost security," he added.

In his testimony to the Waki Commission, Head of Public Service Ambassador Francis Muthaura said the deployment was commissioned for security reasons, an argument the Commission and the former minister dispute.

Injudicious decision

"I personally think the decision to use AP officers was rather injudicious. We would have probably objected had it been brought before the Cabinet. But it was not. It is a decision that was taken by a few people close to the President.

He continued: "As it is noted in that report, there was no security threat in Nyanza. The bare fact of the matter is that this was an enterprise to manipulate votes. What I am aggrieved is that it cost so many lives of innocent officers," he said.

The Waki Report notes this of the use of APs: "Ostensibly their role was to disrupt polling and where possible ensure that Government supporters among the candidates and voters prevailed.

On hearing about the operation, the National Intelligence Security Service (NSIS) advised the Government against it. However, their advice went unheeded. "The guys who were organising that operation were not ready to listen to any other voice. We just had to let them run the show," said our source.

He further disclosed that the General Service Unit (GSU) had been approached for the operation but declined, saying it was a bogus operation "beneath their stature".

Retired AP officers were also used during the operation. Kibunja wa Kamau, 52, of Watuka village who retired from the force in 1994, was one of them. Although he declined to talk to The Standard on Sunday for this story, he had narrated in a previous interview of how he cheated death in Ugunja, Ugenya Constituency on December 27, from irate villagers.

Most of the officers picked for the mission came from the Kalenjin and Kikuyu communities. "It was believed Kikuyu officers would readily accept the mission because they came from Kibaki’s tribe. Traditionally, Kalenjin have had high numbers within the security forces so it was hard to overlook them," said our source.

However, most of the Kalenjin officers who were deployed disembarked at Kericho town where the first attack of the convoy transporting the officers occurred.

President Kibaki’s unilateral decision to appoint ECK commissioners in the run-up to the 2007 General Election had set the stage for opposition claims that the Government was planning to steal the elections.

Bogus operation

However, the AP had drawn special attention to itself in the run-up to the poll. On December 20, 2007 four AP officers had been caught distributing anti-Raila hate leaflets in Iten town. "We were a hated lot and the Government knew that. Yet it still sent us straight to the jaws of death," said an officer who survived the mission.

On allegations that the families of the victims have been paid for their silence, Jane Wambui, the widow of constable George Githuati, said: "The officials who visited me gave me Sh50,000. I do not know whether it was their personal donation or it was from the Government."

Mrs Pauline Njeri Kabiru, the mother of constable William Nyamu who is still missing refused to discuss the topic.