ODM condemns police raid at Governor Simba Arati’s offices

Written by on 31 October 2023

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has condemned a police raid at the offices of Kisii Governor Simba Arati, terming the incident as mistreatment and harassment of the county chief.

A contingent of officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) surrounded Arati’s offices in the Gusii stadium on Monday, October 30, 2023, sparking protests from the governor and politicians allied to the opposition.

Addressing the incident on Monday evening, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna claimed some forces were using their “proximity to power” to frustrate the county boss, who doubles up as the opposition party’s vice chair.

The governor, Sifuna said, has not been able to discharge his duties for the last one week because of the heavy presence of armed police officers in Kisii town.

“The ODM Party condemns in the strongest terms possible the mistreatment and unwarranted harassment of the Governor of Kisii County HE. Hon. Simba Arati by some forces, using their proximity to power,” Sifuna said.

“…It is worth noting that there have not been any reported cases of insecurity in Kisii town and its surroundings to call for the deployment of GSU personnel.

“This morning, while reporting to work, the Governor encountered a battalion of GSU personnel at the entrance and inside the Gusii Stadium where the Office of the Governor is located. They were armed to the tooth as if there was war or any threat to security.”

Raid Simba Arati home

While the motive behind Monday’s operation remains unclear, Sifuna alleged that the police were planning to raid the governor’s residence on the outskirts of Kisii town.

“There is no search warrant that has been issued by the courts and we find this to be the highest level of intimidation and coercion. Such raids should be carried out during daytime. The Governor is available to provide any information they may be looking for,” he added.

He asked the government to treat elected leaders with respect regardless of their political affiliation.

“This kind of intimidation and harassment of public officers, elected to serve the people is uncalled for and needs to be addressed by those in authority. This is the first time Kenyans are being treated to such shenanigans misusing the Red Berrets at the time when Kenyans in the North Rift, Lamu and Samburu are faced with insecurity.”

“Harassment and trying to force Governors into submission is one way of killing the hard-fought Democratic space that we all enjoy.”

Earlier, Arati termed the raid at his offices as a political witchhunt, further alleging a deliberate conspiracy to have him arrested.

“I was instructed not to enter my office, as GSU officers were strategically stationed at every stadium entry point. I have done no wrong, and if this was indeed part of an ongoing investigation, I would have expected the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to be leading the charge,” he stated.

Yesterday, the governor claimed that he had received intelligence reports that the officers wanted to raid his home in Motonto at night.

“They want to come at night so that they can plant guns in my house,” the governor said.

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