Nandi Governor Stephen Sang was yesterday arrested by detectives moments after his defiant address outside the county headquarters in Kapsabet town.
The police were forced to lob teargas canisters at Mr Sang’s supporters as they drove him to Kisumu under heavy security. He was later detained at Kisumu Central Police Station.
By around 4.30pm, it was not clear whether the governor would be released on bond or spend the night in police cells.
Earlier in the afternoon, Eldoret High Court Judge Stephen Githinji had issued orders stopping the police from arresting, prosecuting or questioning Sang following an application by the governor’s lawyer, Prof Tom Ojienda.
The orders were given against the Inspector General of Police, the Director of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecution.
In dramatic scenes, Sang was driven to Nandi Central Police Station at around 2.14pm in a convoy of several vehicles and anti-riot police officers.
He was led inside the station to record a statement as his supporters who had trailed the convoy milled around the police station. Sang was received by Nandi Criminal Investigations boss Sammy Mukeku.
It was also not clear what charges would be preferred against the governor, but a detective told The Standard that one of the charges that he was likely to face was malicious damage to property.
Yesterday, Nyanza Regional Police Commander Vincent Makokha told journalists that the governor will be arraigned in court.
“We have the governor of Nandi in custody because of the offense he committed. We are taking legal action against him,” said Mr Makokha.
The police boss, however, declined to confirm whether they would release Sang on a police bond but noted that they would present him in court within 24 hours.
“He is recording a statement and we will see what will happen after that based on the information he will provide us with,” said Makokha.
Earlier, Sang, who denied claims he had gone into hiding, told his supporters that he had been served with a summons to appear before police in Kapsabet over his role in the invasion and destruction of a tea plantation belonging to Kibwari Tea Estate.
“I am walking into the police station to record my statement on the land saga. I stand by my initial stand that the land is indeed grabbed and must be reverted back to the community for construction of the cattle dip,” he said.
The governor had accused unnamed people of attempting to silence him from fighting for the rights of Nandi people to reclaim their stolen land.
“Land cartels are fighting back. They will stop at nothing to ensure I am stopped from returning grabbed public land to the people,” he claimed.
Kibwari Tea Estate had sought court orders barring the Lands Registrar from issuing title numbers to any property which overlaps the titles of the estate until two court cases touching on the ownership of the land are determined.
But Sang claims the disputed land belongs to the community as public utility land in the name of Kaburet cattle dip.
The governor said that members of the community contributed Sh2.50 each in 1980 to build the cattle dip which remained in operation until 1993 when he alleges that Kibwari Tea Estate forcefully annexed the property to extend their tea plantation.
[Additional reporting by Harold Odhiambo and Byron Roche]