Uhuru denounces Mungiki, denies links with sect’s members

Daily Nation (Kenya), Aug. 23, 2002

Cabinet minister Uhuru Kenyatta has denounced the Mungiki sect, saying that the members did not win his favour by holding a demonstration in city streets on Tuesday.

In an angry and sharp response to questions about his relationship with the outlawed group, Mr Kenyatta said his hopes to ascend to the country’s presidency lay with the registered voters, and not the snuff-taking members of the outlawed group.

He denied having any links with the Mungiki, saying he had no control over any group that decided to demonstrate in his support. “How many people run up and down the Nairobi streets shouting support for A B or C?” he asked.

And as proof that there was no love lost between him and the group, Mr Kenyatta cited an incident two years ago where the group burnt his effigy “just outside my father’s mausoleum!” . At the time, the Mungiki members who held a demo in the city were accusing him of being used by the government to harass and intimidate the sect.

He, however, said that while he was opposed to the demonstrations by Mungiki, he recognised their right to show support for anyone.

Meanwhile, Mungiki leader, Mr Maina Njenga accused Attorney General Amos Wako of “playing politics” by failing to take action when people “insulted” President Moi, or allowed hired goons to terrorised MPs and Kenyans to conduct their business freely.

He defended Tuesday’s demonstration, saying it had been sanctioned by the authorities.

“Our demonstration was legal as we had received a nod from Nairobi PC Cyrus Maina and from Police headquarters. We informed them that our agenda was to hold a peaceful rally to popularise presidential hopeful Uhuru Kenyatta,” he said.

He announced that similar demonstrations were planned in Nakuru, Nyahururu and Nyeri towns, and appealed to the government to set aside several cases against the sect leadership to allow them to extend their campaigns to Nyanza, Western and Coast provinces.

The sect was also planning to hold meet-the-people tours in other parts of the country to mobilise support for Mr Kenyatta.

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