Deputy President William Ruto yesterday reprimanded Meru Senator Mithika Linturi over his ‘Madoadoa’ utterance at a rally in Uasin Gishu on Saturday, terming them unacceptable.
However, the apology drew quick reactions from leaders who said it was insincere and came too late in the day to make meaningful impact.
Ruto, while addressing rallies in Bomet and Kericho counties, termed Linturi’s remarks as unfortunate as they were likely to cause tension and disrupt the fragile unity of the country.
“Senator Linturi made a statement which he regrets, a statement that had inappropriate language but he has withdrawn and unconditionally apologised to the people of Kenya,” he stated.
“We have apologised as UDA for Linturi’s remarks that were taken out of context.
The senator himself has done so. We want other parties too to take responsibility and apologise for the same sentiments made elsewhere,” Ruto added.
He added; “I want to tell the members of my team; the hustler nation, that all of us must mind our language and must be careful about what we say so that we can unite this country because that is what the hustler nation believes in,” he told the mammoth gathering in Bomet even as a Nakuru court ordered that Linturi be detained at the Kaptembwo police station for the second consecutive night over the utterances.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, speaking in Ongata Rongai when he attended the burial of former Kajiado Senator Peter Mositet’s father, Korinko Mositet, termed Ruto and his brigade as hypocrites, who were against national unity.
In reference to Linturi’s madoadoa sentiments, the former premier said such utterances threaten peaceful co-existence among communities who continue intermarrying by day.
“Kenya is our country and all of us have a right to live in a place of their choice. It is unfortunate that mad characters are now coming out to fuel animosity among Kenyans name calling them outsiders in certain regions,” he said.
“Gone are the days when a name or tribe defined a Kenyan. We do not want tribal based politics because the interest of Kenyans comes first,’’ said Raila.
Suna East MP Junet Mohammed termed Ruto’s apology over Linturi remarks as insincere and an afterthought.
“The DP had sent Linturi to test waters through the utterances and he is only apologising following the heat by Kenyans, who are annoyed by the inflammatory remarks,’’ said Junet.
At the same function, Kajiado Governor Joseph ple Lenku called on political leaders to desist from cheap tribal politics.
“Any leader who can utter words that destabilise the country’s unity is not a leader but an enemy of Kenyans. We want a peaceful electioneering period and a peaceful election,’’ said Lenku.
Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni who chairs the Committee on Implementation of Constitution said Kenyans should not accept Ruto’s apology.
“Kenyans should not accept any apology from the DP. The madoadoa remarks were made in his presence, and with crowds cheering in approval. The fact that he did not rebuke the perpetrator on the spot means that he his approval.
“It is hypocritical for him to apologise close to 48 hours later. If he is sincere, those people making dangerous statement which basically mean-hunt people down and chase them away, should not be given party tickets for the forthcoming elections. The Political Parties Act allows for expulsion of such leaders.
“We are happy that those dangerous tongues left the Jubilee party to the other side when we embraced the Handshake. Every Kenyan should embrace the Handshake,” he said.
And appearing before the Nakuru Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti, Linturi accused the State of employing delaying tactics and harassment.
Through his legal team led by Elias Mutuma, Kipkoech Ng’etich and Ken Bosire, The senator who has been in police custody since Sunday said the State was out to frustrate him.
“I cannot handle the case past 5pm, this matter will be handled via email, both parties to file their response and I will give a ruling in the morning (today),” ruled Nyaloti. The State had moved to court seeking orders that Linturi be detained for seven days to allow investigators seconded to National Cohesion and Integration Commission, complete probe in the case.
Yhe prosecution says Linturi was attending a political rally at Eldoret Sports Club on January 8 in the afternoon hours, and was given the podium to address the crowd.
“That while addressing the crowd, he made the following remarks: “Niwaambie nyinyi msituchezee, watu wa Uasin Gishu msicheze na Kenya. Na kile nawaomba ni kwamba Madoadoa yale mlio nayo hapa muweze kuondoa, muweze kufanya nini? Hatuwezi kuwa tunasimama na William tukiwa kule Mount Kenya na Meru halafu mko na wengine hapa hawasikii na hawaungani na yeye. Mko tayari kutuondolea hao? Mko tayari?” said the prosecution
They noted that the same word ‘Madoadoa’ had been used in 2007 to whip ethnic emotions which resulted to ethnic clashes within the same region.
“The respondent was arrested at Eldoret in the wee hours of January 9 and escorted to DCI Headquarters Nairobi arriving in the evening hence making it difficult for the investigating team to interview him, process and record his statement,” said Investigator Robert Nyang’au.
He observed that being a weekend, the investigating team did not manage to record a statement.
“The respondent being a powerful politician may interfere with them if granted cash bail/bond since on a previous matter pending before court vide court file number E007/2021 before Milimani Law Courts, he tried to bribe the complainant and the witnesses,” he added.
However, Mutuma argued that everyone enjoys presumption of innocence, freedom of movement , which the court can only curtail when there are compelling reasons.
He said that his client has been held for more than the stipulated 24 hours saying he is being held and rushed before close of business.
“The state is coming to court with dirty hands and the court cannot exercise its discretion to sanitise injustice,” said Mutuma.
The suspect had already made a statement at Gigiri Police Station in Nairobi and would proceed to court yesterday however delays by the state is questionable.
“The application is empty and shallow and cannot warrant the detention of Linturi, police are just delaying the matter to frustrate our client,” he added.
He added that there are no witnesses listed who the senator could interfere with.
“The only thing the court needs is blocking Linturi from visiting the region if there is any reason the respondent could interfere,” said Mutuma.
He added: “Linturi is expected to appear before Senate to represent the interests of Meru, it has a lot of political undertones and the police want to bar him from appearing in court for the political parties amendment bill in Senate,”
If convicted, the senator faces a jail term not exceeding five years and a fine of Sh1million. —Stories by Roy Lumbe, Felix Yegon and Philip Yegon Christine Musa and Robert Ochoro