|Plain cloths Security officers and locals fish out an elderly man after attempting to attack Cord Leader Raila Odinga and his Okoa Kenya Campaigners at Kinango grounds in Kwale County [PHOTO BY TOBIAS CHANJ/STANDARD]|
Kwale, Kenya: Residents were treated to a rare spectacle in Kwale County Monday when an elderly man whipped Opposition Leader Raila Odinga during an Okoa Kenya rally at Kinango grounds.
The man, who police later released after establishing he was mentally unstable, also turned his cane on Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya as the leaders were enjoying the coastal sengenya dance with traditional dancers.
The leaders, who received a stroke each on their backs, stood in bewiderment as security officers restrained the angry man and whisked him away.
The event was part of the Coalition for reforms and Democracy's push for a referendum through which it hopes to open up the Constitution to amendments, in Kinango, Kwale County. Yesterday evening, police confirmed they had released the man but failed to state why police were not at the function.
The attacker, who was dressed in grey shorts, a white T-shirt and slippers, was restrained by private security personnel who handed him over to the police.
Eyewitnesses said the man was unhappy because his wife was dancing 'suggestively'.
Addressing the rally, Raila said he was ready to face anyone probing the Sh15 billion he alleged was withdrawn from Central Bank of Kenya.
He however said President Uhuru Kenyatta and former President Mwai Kibaki should equally be ready to face the same body to shed light on the fate of the cash in question.
Yesterday, Kinango Administration Police Commandant Peter Musyoka confirmed the arrest of the unidentified man who attacked the CORD leader but said he had been released.
"We have released the man because we have established that he is insane," said Mr Musyoka.
But Kwale Senator Juma Boy Juma downplayed the incident, saying the man was dancing before he lost his balance and fell down.
Mvurya explained that the man was dancing before he charged towards them with a cane but was restrained before he could hit them.
"He was dancing between Mr Boy and myself and all of a sudden he charged at us (Raila and Mvurya) with a cane to attack us but he was restrained and arrested," said the governor yesterday.
He however said the incident was the result of propaganda and that he was not injured.
The governor claimed the man wanted to hit Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar.
"It is propaganda where some say there was intolerance in the referendum campaigns here in Coast. I'm not injured. The man wanted to attack Omar before he was restrained," said Mvurya addressing a rally in Ukunda later yesterday.
However, video footage taken by journalists showed that the man hit his targets.
Other reports indicate that the man was released after Raila intervened when he visited the police station immediately after.
But police told journalists the man was released after being thought to be mentally unstable.
"I was at the function and I can tell you that nothing like that happened.
"It was just a dance and the locals were scrambling for the hand-outs from politicians but he was not caned as you say," explained Kinango OCPD Moses Kikului in a telephone interview.
It took the intervention of Mvurya to calm the irate crowd that threatened to beat the man up.
After the Kinango rally, Raila's entourage left in two choppers for Mwangulu in Lunga Lunga constituency represented by Khatib Mwashetani, who is against the referendum.
In Mwangulu, more drama was witnessed when Mr Mwashetani walked in just as the leaders had settled and was immediately called to the podium by Matuga MP Hassan Mwanyoha who was the master of ceremony.
But the lawmaker was unable to speak as a section of the crowd began to chant slogans against him.
"I am your MP whether you like it or not and you should wait for 2017. If it is State House, we all went. My stand against the Constitution has not changed," Mwashetani said before he was cut short by the crowd.
He then left in a huff.
Omar accused Mwashetani of being an attention seeker who stormed out of the rally so that he could be praised by his masters.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula dismissed the MP's actions, saying he was merely being used.
"Mwashetani is my deputy and those people (Jubilee) are just using him only to abandon him later," said Mr Wetang'ula who heads the Ford Kenya party, an affiliate of CORD.
The leaders vowed to go on with the Okoa Kenya referendum campaigns and accused Jubilee leaders of sitting pretty while things went bad.
The leaders then went to Ukunda, the home turf of Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori, for another rally.
The Opposition coaliton has been holding campaign rallies across the country to drum up support for the Okoa Kenya drive aimed at pressing for a national vote to amend the Constitution.
CORD is targeting five million signatures to meet the Constitution threshold for referendum numbers from over 12 million registered voters.
The coalition has expressed dissatisfaction with the Jubilee leadership.