In an affidavit filed in court on Thursday, a detective Yvonne Anyango from the Directorate of Criminal Instigation’s (DCI) Serious Crime Unit said they discovered the WhatsApp chat room on seizing a mobile phone from a blogger only identified in court documents as Samuel/COURTESY – DPPS

By CAPITAL REPORTER, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 4 -Detectives have launched an investigation on a Movement known as Tanga Tanga that is associated with Deputy President William Ruto whose 256 chat room members are due to be questioned over a letter alluding to an assassination plot against Ruto.

In an affidavit filed in court on Thursday, a detective Yvonne Anyango from the Directorate of Criminal Instigation’s (DCI) Serious Crime Unit said they discovered the WhatsApp chat room on seizing a mobile phone from a blogger only identified in court documents as Samuel.

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“That subsequent to the arrest, of the said Samuel, and brief perusal of one of the recovered mobile phones, a WhatsApp group by the name Tangatanga Movement was found,” the officer states in the affidavit.

“That the said WhatsApp group was created on July 8, 2018 and has 256 members and I and my team of investigators are currently in the process of summoning all the members.”

She filed the affidavit while seeking more time to detain Dennis Itumbi, a popular digital strategist who is based at the Deputy President’s office.

Itumbi was arrested on Wednesday as part of an investigation on a fake letter alleging a plot to eliminate the Deputy President.

The prosecution said detectives need 14 days to detain Itumbi before they can prefer charges against him. They indicated that he had refused to cooperate with investigators.

“That from the time of the arrest, the Respondent was duly informed the reason for his arrest as being making a false document without authority contrary to section 357 of the Penal Code,” the affidavit states.

It was categorical that “brief evidence so far gathered and credible intelligence so far received show that the Respondent (Itumbi) and his/her associates participated in making the purported letter.”

Itumbi denies authoring the letter.

Days after the letter was circulated online, in late June, Cabinet Secretaries Peter Munya (Trade), Sicily Kariuki (Health) and Joe Mucheru (ICT) as well as other government officials were summoned to the DCI headquarters to record statements following claims that they had attended a meeting at La Mada hotel in Nairobi, to plan the alleged plot.

They all denied the claims, and insisted they can only write statements once the key complainant—DP Ruto—files a formal complaint on the matter.

Officials at the DCI Headquarters said they acted on instructions from State House to launch the probe, after the DP reportedly complained to the Head of State that government officials who attended the La Mada meeting had discussed about his assassination—a claim Munya and the two other Cabinet Secretaries described as ridiculous.

Police are now convinced that it is Itumbi who authored the letter, a claim dismissed by leaders associated to Ruto, like Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen who wondered why police had arrested Itumbi for sharing a document on WhatsApp.

So Itumbi was arrested for forwarding an alleged fake letter to a WhatsApp group dubbed “TangaTanga”? How many people in this country forwarded that document? Will all the media houses that published the document be charged,” he tweeted, and concluded that “This is ridiculously moronic.”

But in the affidavit, the detective said, they intend to charge Itumbi for authoring the letter, which they said caused tension in the country with the potential of causing chaos.

“The said letter was clearly meant to cause public disorder, lawlessness and was clearly meant to cause tribal disharmony within the country,” the affidavit states.

The court was set to rule later Thursday, on the prosecution’s request to have Itumbi detained by police for two weeks.

Itumbi was picked up by detectives on Wednesday while having lunch at a restaurant near City Hall, and whisked to the DCI headquarters for questioning.

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