Baraka Karama and Douglas Dindi
Detectives have linked the heinous killings in Matungu constituency, Kakamega county, to political supremacy rivalry, normal crime and incitement.
Investigations have also established that a gang that clashed during the heated political campaigns before and after the 2017 General Election took advantage of criminal activities to settle political scores.
A senior police officer at the Kakamega Provincial Police headquarters disclosed to People Daily that investigations had linked four politicians, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, former Sports Cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa, Matungu MP Justus Murunga and Mayoni MCA Libinus Oduori to the killings.
The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a decision to arrest the four was reached after gathering sufficient evidence that they were involved directly or indirectly in the crime.
“We have many political leaders in Mumias and Kakamega county. Ask yourself why we did not go for them. Why did we leave the governor and other MPs?” posed the officer.
During his visit last week, Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i warned that politicians behind the killings would be arrested.
“We have information that some of these killings are linked to political wars where a leader wants to show his supremacy. I want to tell you that irrespective of your status, we will come for you,” said Matiang’i .
The four politicians, who were arrested a day after Matiang’i’s visit, are set to appear in court this morning.
Yesterday, police said four people suspected to be members of a gang terrorising residents had been arrested in Busia.
The officer said files of the four politicians have been presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions awaiting their arraignment today.
By the time of going to press, it was still unclear the specific courts the leaders would appear in since they were detained at different police stations.
Malala was detained at Kisumu Central Police Station after dramatically being arrested while Echesa was held at Nandi Police Station. Murunga and Oduori were held at Hamisi and Kakamega police stations respectively.
The arrests coincided with the burial of the latest victim of the skirmishes, Petronila Mung’ayi and her daughter Shaline Okhasia at Sayangwe village in Ejinja sub-location.
At least 20 people have been killed in the last two months in what Matungu Deputy County Commissioner Charles Charo initially described as acts of normal crime.
“I want to allay fears that the killings in Matungu are co-ordinated under the aegis of 42 Brothers terror gang. We investigated the cases and established that they are not linked,” Charo was quoted in the media as saying.
Twelve deaths and five lynchings have been recorded.
Although Stephen Rapacha, 38, is lucky to be alive, the permanent scars on his head will perhaps remain a painful reminder of the orgy of violence in the area.
Rapacha also lost his pregnant wife and a two-year-daughter during an attack at his home.
In March, the body of a woman was discovered at Itete village in Koyonzo location. In the same month, a couple was killed at their home in Soweto village.