Mwandawiro Mghanga: Persecution by the police and false propaganda against me will not remove me from pursuing the revolutionary road that embodies truth and social justice.
Embargoed for Release at Professional Centre, Nairobi at 9.00 AM, Saturday, 9th June 2007
On Thursdsay 24th May I learned from The Standard newspaper that I was required to report to the police to make a statement concerning Mungiki and that the police believe I have information concerning the outlawed sect. I immediately called my homes in Nairobi and Wundanyi to find out whether indeed there was any communication from the police requiring that I report to them. I learned that in fact the police had not contacted any of my homes. Neither had they contacted my office in Parliament nor bothered to call me on phone. I, therefore, decided that the police did not require me as reported by the press. As such I could not respond and take myself to the police just because of what the press had written. If the police wanted me they would always contact me. After all I am a Member of Parliament and a public figure.
I spent the day in Kisii accompanying the ODM – Kenya presidential candidate, Honourable Raila Odinga, during which we addressed several political rallies. I received many calls from my constituents, relatives, friends and colleagues from all over the country and the world who wanted to find out whether I was ‘safe’ or had been arrested by the police. I laboured to inform them that apart from what I had read in the press I knew nothing about the police looking for me. I told them I was in Kisii addressing political rallies in broad daylight and that if in fact the police wanted me they would either communicate to me directly or even arrest me as I was neither hiding nor had I anything to hide.
Not surprising therefore, I was shocked that evening to hear from the radios and televisions that the police were looking for me, and again in connection with Mungiki. But I once again decided I was not going to deal with the police through the press. If they wanted me they could always reach me. After all Kisii is in Kenya and I was operating openly before the public.
I spent the next day, Friday, in Kisii accompanying Raila and addressing public rallies. Throughout Saturday I was in Kericho, Buret, Sotik and Bomet addressing political rallies and attending funerals in the entourage of Raila. People would wonder why it was being reported in the press that the police were looking for me yet I was operating openly before them and the press, presumably with the full knowledge of the security forces.
On Saturday evening I saw the despicable news of politicians Adolf Muchiri and George Nyanja being hounded and arrested by the police as though they were dangerous thugs and all in connection with Mungiki. I realised that the same thing could happen to me sooner or later. However, this did not worry me as I know I am a good citizen, leader and human being who has neither wronged anyone nor committed any crime. Besides, I have undergone so much suffering and humiliation under Kenya’s security forces and oppressive policies in the past that I cannot be threatened and intimidated by arrogant fellows who control state power which many times they turn against innocent people. But at the same time, I was and still is very sad to learn that the history of pain, torture and humiliation that I had gone through was now repeating itself in my country.
I have returned to Nairobi and requested my lawyers to ascertain whether the police actually required me to make a statement and to use the courts to inform them that as a law abiding citizen I was ready to go to the police wherever and whenever they required me to do so. However, I was determined that this time round, through the courts, I would resist being arrested, dumped into cells, humiliated and tortured. After all I am Mwandawiro Mghanga, the MP for Wundanyi and above all a Kenyan and human being who loves freedom and cherishes his rights.
Through the law process, my lawyers James Orengo, Wanyiri Kihoro and Nga’ang’a Thiongo informed me that the court had ordered the police not to arrest me and that I was required to report to the CID national headquarters on Tuesday 5th June to make a statement concerning Mungiki. I did exactly that and spent about nine hours with the CID where I made the following statement,
1. That I am not and has never been a member of Munguki.
2. That I know Maina Njenga and I have visited him many times in Kamiti Maximum Prison and in the High Courts and that this does not make me a member of Mungiki. As a matter of fact, many Kenyans both from the civil society and government, including members of parliament and cabinet ministers, know Njenga, yet they have not been required to make statements to the police concerning Mungiki.
3. That I have on two occasions raised the matter of Mungiki in Parliament concerning the property of Maina Njenga at Kitengela that was unjustly occupied by the police. As a Member of Parliament, I do not only represent Wundanyi but also Kenya as in parliament we make national laws that affect all Kenyans. I also pledged to uphold the Constitution at all times. Therefore, when a person – regardless – of where he comes from approaches me with a complaint concerning his rights that he or she thinks are being violated – and I have reasonable ground to agree with him or her in this regard – it is my duty as a good Member of Parliament to take the matter and even raise it in parliament. That is what I did with the case of Maina Njenga. May I also mention that as a revolutionary I have the moral obligation to stand for the truth and what is just at all times, even if it endangers my own interests and reputation in life. I cannot sit and watch injustice being perpetrated against any human being anywhere, whatever he is perceived to be in society. I am above that.
4. That it is character assassination for the police, the press and anybody or authority to continue publishing information that suggest that I am a bad person who is part of insecurity in the country. To insinuate that I am connected to criminal activities that are causing murder, fear and terror in the country is mudslinging my name and its criminal in itself. As a matter of fact, I have been arrested, detained without trial, imprisoned, tortured and forced into exile in the past but for purely political reasons and never for criminal activities. I am therefore greatly concerned about the insecurity in the country and I condemn very vehemently whoever is responsible for the loss of life of citizens and the police in Nairobi, Central Province and throughout the country. The sooner such criminals are brought to book the better. As a Member of Parliament I preach peace and only peace in Wundanyi and as a consequence I preside over one of the most peaceful constituencies in the country. I desire such peace for the whole country.
5.That members of the Mungiki sect have been with us in Kenya for a long time. They have participated in the activities of the civil society and those of political parties. They have associated with members of parliament and cabinet ministers both in the present regime and in the Moi regime. Again, the press often reports about public meetings of Mungiki sect in Nairobi, Central Province and Rift Valley. In short, to pretend that Mungiki has just appeared from the blues and is known only to the likes of Mwandawiro Mghanga, is hypocrisy beyond description that I will never be part of.
6. That nobody, whether Mungiki or not, is above the law and should be allowed to break the law with impunity. I personally condemn any acts of terror and mayhem that have led to pain, suffering and the loss of lives particularly in Nairobi slums and Central Province. The government has the responsibility of ensuring the security of all Kenyans and their property and must deal with this problem with expediency. However, dealing with the problem of Mungiki and insecurity should not lead to state terrorism against the poor in Central Province and Nairobi slums. The problem of Mungiki cannot be solved by violating the human rights of poor and oppressed citizens and allowing security forces to commit acts that are tantamount to genocide and that increase the problem of insecurity in the country rather than solving it.
7. The problem of Mungiki cannot be solved through lies, hypocrisy, threats, intimidation and brutality from the state. In fact, the sustainable solution to the problem lies with dealing with the naked truth which is that political leaders, especially from Central Province – but all the whole country – have known and dealt with Mungiki in one way or the other and that they cannot run away from this truth. For the problem is as political as it is criminal. Only truth and nothing but the truth can save this country from the current state of insecurity. What I am saying is that in dealing with the Mungiki crisis, the state should distinguish between Mungiki as an illegal sect and criminal acts within or associated with Mungiki the illegal sect. The hard and concrete reality that Kenyans must accept is that there are certainly people who are die hard Mungiki Sect and who are not necessarily criminals but who have been turned into criminals by declaring Mungiki an illegal sect and thus driving them underground. And God knows it is not easy to deal with an underground phenomenon. At the same time there are criminals who commit murder, robbery, extortion, terror, etc. in the illegal Mungiki sect or in their name. Mixing the two issues and therefore resorting to brutal force and only brutal force as a method of solving the problem will not succeed in bringing about a sustainable solution to the problem.
8. Finally, the present Mungiki crisis is a national crisis. Any attempt to make it seem that it is a tribal crisis belonging to the Kikuyu in Nairobi, Central Province and the Rift Valley is wrong and reactionary to say the least. Tribalising the issue of Mungiki will only escalate the problem and may even lead to genocide. In any case, Nairobi, Central Province and Rift Valley provinces are in Kenya and the people who live there are Kenyans regardless as to whether they are Kikuyus or other ethnic groups. What continues to happen to them will impact on the whole country directly and indirectly. But more fundamental, as Kenyans, we have the duty to demand and work for the security, peace and human rights of all Kenyans wherever they live and irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or beliefs.
Mwandawiro Mghanga, MP for Wundanyi