Orengo arrest is roundly condemned

A section of political and religious leaders yesterday condemned the arrest and prosecution of Ugenya MP James Orengo.

They termed the move “selective application of justice, which amounts to sanctioning of violence by the State”.

They expressed concern that the move could scare away foreign investors.

Some warned of the possibility of civil war if the “reign of internal terrorism” was not checked.

They called for the arrest and prosecution of the group that last Thursday stoned and beat up innocent people at the Professional Centre, Parliament Buildings and County Hall.

Mr Orengo was charged in a Nairobi Court on Tuesday with inciting the public to violence, while four of the youths the Ford-K legislator alleged had attacked him were set free after recording statements. Mr Orengo was charged with uttering words on January 10 in Nairobi which led to a breach of the peace three days later.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya challenged the government to set an example by first prosecuting politicians who had made inflammatory utterances in the past.

“Some leaders in the government are on record as having broken the law by issuing highly inflammatory statements, sometimes leading to actual violence, with no action being taken against them,” the NCCK general-secretary, the Rev Mutava Musyimi, said.

Rangwe MP Shem Ochuodho said there was no complainant against Mr Orengo, while the youths had been positively identified by their victims.

Dr Ochuodho, whose car was damaged during the violence outside the Professional Centre on Thursday, said he, Mr Orengo and Kikuyu MP Paul Muite had reported the matter to the police but no action was taken.

“This selective application of the law can only breed anarchy,” he said.

Mathioya MP Maina Njakwe (Ford-People) accused the Head of State of engaging Opposition MPs in a war of wits.

The spokesman for the National Convention Executive Council, Prof Kivutha Kibwana, said Kenyans had a right to oppose the parliamentary reforms formula.

The unregistered Saba Saba Asili party chairman Kenneth Matiba observed that arresting Mr Orengo on President Moi’s instructions “makes the Commissioner of Police look like an errand boy for certain political interests”.

The Release Political Prisoners pressure group said Mr Orengo’s arrest demonstrated how the police and the Judiciary were used to harass and intimidate opponents.