JUSTICE DEFEATED: How DDP Keriako Tobiko used ‘PERSONAL WEIGHT’ to save Maasai KINSMEN!
By Kenya Today Reporter
Kenyans witnesses a rare spectacle in court yesterday when the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko overruled two junior state prosecutors who were prosecuting five Maasai leaders and withdrew a case against them.
As state prosecutors Duncan Ondimu and Daniel Karuri were applying to the court to detain the five Maasai leaders for seven more days to allow the police ‘complete investigations after allegations of involvement in the violent Narok demonstrations which left at least two people dead and several injured, Tobiko appeared.
The DPP, who was in the same building but at the High Court where he was opposing CORD’s case against theÂ security laws, walked in the jammed courtroom where this particular case was going on and told the presiding magistrate he is withdrawing the case to have the politicians remanded.
For a moment, the bemused lawyers, both for prosecution and defence, exchanged knowing glances!
Observers were left wondering the state of public prosecutions in Kenya as it appears the DPP applies a different set of laws when the accused are politicians. Others wondered if the DPP would act the same if the politicians involved do not share ethnic origin with him (DPP is also a Maasai) or are in the political opposition. It is not lost on many people that the DPP, in collusion with the CID, hurriedly put several opposition politicians on notice following allegations these politicians made on wanton land grab by people close to the current regime.
The other issue being raised is the independence of the criminal investigations directorate as it seems the institution also often get partisan when the offenders are politicians, or collude to let off the hook, the politicians.
The junior state prosecutors had informed the court that the police were not through with investigations and that when complete they intend to bring possible murder charges.
After withdrawing the charges, the DPP appeared to blame the governor whom he informed the court had ‘provoked’ the unrests because of corruption allegations.
Was Tobiko returning a ‘community favour’ by prematurely releasing fellow tribesmen? A step back in time shows how Tobiko’s appointment became steeped in ethnic horse-trading and political blackmailing of the Maa community.
During his appointment of Keriako Tobiko as DPP, which has since been disastrous for the country, as the DPP office only successfully prosecutes ‘small fish’ (remember the case of Alan Wadi?), and has been hesitant to go for regime robbers and impunity lords, was viciously opposed by ODM to a point of almost splitting the party.
In fact, one can argue that the opposition to Tobiko, who then presented himself as ‘a member of a minority community’, is part of the reasons which cost ODM support from Maasailand. The party, joined by civil society members opposed Tobiko’s appointment because of his checkered history as a lawyer and senior prosecutor, before he became the DPP, which, according to this article, was laced with ‘extortion and bribery’, and corruption, following accusations of the man as a sanctimonious land grabber.
There has been no love lost between Tobiko and ODM. Tobiko sees ODM as the party which opposed his appointment and ODM remains skeptical of the ‘reform mentality’ of Tobiko. As at now, both sides can attest nothing has changed in their engagement. In fact, the DPP stands out when it comes to witch-hunting ODM/CORD politicians.
While the case against the Maa leaders have now taken its own political life, the potential abuse to the rule of law, and the lessons other politicians have learnt, is that political violence can arm-twist the cause of justice and earn them freedom. The five are out.