NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 — The government on Friday denied plans to stage-manage a power outage on Election Day following concerns over a blackout affecting most of the country during the presidential debate on July 26.
“The Government has no intention of interfering with facilities and utilities that support the conduct of the general elections. It will not shut down the Internet or disrupt power supply,” Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi told reporters while responding to reports of a State-sanctioned voter suppression campaign.
During the debate boycotted by Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga who enjoys the backing of the State, a major outage was reported in Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley and Nairobi North for nearly the entire duration Deputy President William Ruto faced two moderators in a solo debate.
Kenya Power, the country’s utility firm, linked the outage to a ‘system disturbance’ and confirmed the restoration of normalcy as soon as the televised debate ended.
Matiangi said the government is run through established and well-known structures and accountability channels and as such “it is not a secret society cloaked in conspiracies and dark agendas.”
He stated that DP Ruto has not presented any evidence to back his claims.
“These unsubstantiated allegations are consistent with frequent, unfounded, and unconscionable attacks against the Government and public officers by His Excellency the Deputy President,” he said.
He added that DP Ruto is a member of the National Security Council (NSC) that is vested with the overall policy and decision-making powers on national security arguing he ought to know and understand how Government’s decisions are arrived at and executed.
“He therefore enjoys access to a privileged and influential platform to express himself and to canvass his concerns. There is no record of him voicing the grave allegations made yesterday at the NSC or any other official security platform,” Matiangi said.
Matiangi termed the move by DP Ruto to blame government officials over alleged plot to rig polls as unfortunate saying it exposes them to danger.
“As a senior leader in the country, His Excellency the Deputy President’s pronouncements have the capacity to exert influence on his supporters and their relationships with government officers.”
“Personalized attacks that cast aspersions on public officers who have no opportunity to defend their honour against their seniors injures reputations potentially and exposes the victims and their families to harm,” he said.
The Interior CS pointed out that those contesting for high political office in the country are obligated to address others, including their subordinates, with what he described as appropriate decorum.
He went forward to say that there is no record of the Kenya Kwanza Presidential candidate voicing his claims at the National Security Council where DP Ruto is a member or any other official security platform.
Matiangi added that the government is not engaged in any conspiracy against any individual or candidate including DP Ruto saying every action they take are well guided.
“Repeatedly dragging the names of innocent civil servants who are not vying for any elective office into political duels is unfortunate. Like in any other contest, those aspiring for high political office have an obligation to address others, including their subordinates, with appropriate decorum,” he added.
On Tuesday, Matiangi who has openly backed Ruto’s chief opponent, Azimio’s Raila Odinga, said his meetings with grassroot administration officials were purely because “they are colleagues”.
Matiangi spoke amid criticism from politicians mainly allied to Ruto’s camp who have accused him of using chiefs to the advantage of the Azimio presidential candidate.
The CS vowed to continue calling chiefs and working with them until he leaves office.
“We meet chiefs all the time, that is the job we do, that is who we are supposed to work with,” he said.