During the launch of the signature collection phase for the controversial Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a severe and rare public rebuke against the head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for reviving investigations into the 2007/2008 Post-Election Violence (PEV). DCI is a critical national security agency charged with investigating crimes and apprehending criminals. Days before, DCI Director, Mr. George Kinoti, flanked by PEV victims and their families issued a press statement announcing a resumption of investigations into the PEV. Kinoti’s announcement was one of the most welcome news to Kenyans from a law enforcement agency since the atrocities were committed 13 years ago. Long overdue by any measure. However, it was short-lived because Kenyatta’s swift reprimand of Kinoti at the BBI event effectively blocked any meaningful avenue for recourse or justice for the victims.

“Think before Speaking”

In blocking DCI’s PEV investigations, President Kenyatta was reacting to loud uproars from politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto who claim Kinoti’s motives are not pure but politically contrived against Ruto. Majority of the protesting politicians are Kalenjin from Ruto’s Rift Valley and they didn’t mince words in admonishing Kinoti, they threatened Kinoti personally and renewed ethnic violence if DCI dares revive PEV investigations. Clearly perturbed by their reactions, President Kenyatta, rather than stand on the side of law and order, capitulated to the bullies and chose to placate instead, he castigated Kinoti in so many words by saying he “should think before speaking”. No Mr. President, it is you! You should have thought before speaking Sir. The president’s statement against DCI hamstrings the agency at a time of heightened political tensions in the country, he has stood in the way of justice and emboldened lawless politicians that are bent on fermenting mayhem. The president sounded intimidated. Kenyatta’s statement was an indelible error of judgment on his part. It is a hindrance to the administration of justice and severely undermines the rule of law. It sends the wrong message to victims and the rest of the world. A message of complicity and condonation of impunity. A president should always advance and promote law and order not cover up crimes. He should be mindful of the effects of his utterances.


Suppressing investigations suppresses justice. Kenyatta’s statement effectively amounts to obstruction of justice. Kenya is already in the international spotlight again following the recent surrender to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by lawyer Paul Gicheru for witness tampering during William Ruto’s pre-trial hearings at The Hague. The least Kenyatta would do is acknowledge the lingering unresolved PEV issues instead of suppressing investigations and acting like he’s covering up crimes. The president’s statement fits the prevailing narrative that Kenya is a failed state that deliberately protects criminals. Not a single person has being held responsible for the PEV atrocities; not a single person of the hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has been restored; their right of return to their original homes they were displaced from has not been restored and the president just closed any window of recourse. Non-Kalenjins in Rift Valley still live in fear. To the families of those burned alive at KIAMBAA church the president’s statement infers their suffering doesn’t matter, he has shut the door of justice to these victims. A president, let alone President Kenyatta, shouldn’t stand in the way of justice. A president shouldn’t broadcast to the world what actions or inactions law enforcement will or will not take. He should advance law and order instead, not stifle law enforcement or impede investigations. He should let truth come out and perhaps exercise his pardon powers when perpetrators are convicted but we are far from there. Investigations are not convictions.

Reconciliation and forgiveness is NOT a substitute for Justice:

The only way to cure the stain of PEV on our country is through justice. We have no record of any formal forgiveness or/ and reconciliation between the victims and the perpetrators, the only record we have is politicians in Rift Valley proclaiming that all is forgiven. If there was reconciliation and forgiveness we would know because it requires both parties i.e. perpetrators and victims to reconcile, we only know about the victims, hundreds of thousands of them but nothing about the perpetrators. Moreover, reconciliation and forgiveness is not a substitute for justice and the Kenyatta government owes it to the victims, Kenyans and the world the truth, not cover-up. It is not in Kenyatta’s place to decide who gets justice and who doesn’t.  The NAZIs who participated in any way in the Jewish holocaust are still being hunted and prosecuted worldwide to this day, 75 years later. Kenya should not be any exception.

Politicians allied to William Ruto, specifically Kalenjin politicians, have proclaimed multiple times that Kenyans forgave each other but in the same breath continue to threaten other ethnic groups in Rift Valley each time they believe the politics don’t favor Ruto. Mr. Aaron Cheruiyot and Mr. Samson Cherargei, Kericho and Nandi Senators respectively, Kapseret MP Oscar Kipchumba Sudi, and Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago are on record threatening Kenyans that unless Ruto gets his way, they will incite violence against Kenyans, they are holding Kenyans at ransom. Their messages are explicitly clear and speak for themselves and they invoke 2007/2008 PEV as a reference point, truthfully so I might add. So when Kenyatta inserts himself in a law enforcement matter the way he did, he emboldens these anarchists and sets up the country in a path to conflict. It srenders Kenyatta and citizens he leads subject to ultimatums and blackmail and that’s wrong.

Kenyatta should rescind his Statement:

President Kenyatta is the custodian of the constitution and its attendant lawful provisions not the least of which are justice, law and order. His utterance was an ill-advised, unfortunate bad call and he needs to correct himself by rescinding it, indeed his reputation and standing both domestically and internationally is at stake. Don’t hamstring law enforcement Mr. President. Don’t bury the hopes of victims. Remove the PEV stain and culture of lawlessness from our country.