Edna Lenku: I shielded my children against their father's public attacks

Edna Lenku, wife of Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku during an interview on Citizen TV's JKL show on Wednesday, March 8 2023.[Photo: Courtesy]

Edna Lenku, the wife of Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku has disclosed how she shielded her husband against public attacks in September 2013.

At the time, Joseph Ole Lenku, who was the Interior Cabinet Secretary, had come under sharp criticism for issuing controversial information concerning the terrorism attack at Westgate mall.

Speaking during an interview on Citizen TV's JKL show on Wednesday, March 8 2023, Edna said the attacks left her husband demoralised during and after leaving office.

"I went through difficult situations when my husband was a Cabinet Secretary for Interior. He was being fought left and right, and my children were asking me what was going on with their father; I would stand firm and explain to them that their father was fine and nothing wrong had happened; I had to ensure my family was united," Edna said.

On 21 September 2013, four masked gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Westlands, Nairobi resulting in about 71 deaths including civilians and soldiers. Some 200 people were also wounded in the incident.

As a retaliation, former president Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a multi-agency crackdown to flush out the terrorists who had raided the mall for days.

The operation was led by Lenku and former Chief of the General Staff of the Kenya Defence Forces Julius Karangi among other senior security officials.

While updating Kenyans on the progress of the rescue operation, Lenku claimed a smoke that was seen emitted from the rooftop the Westgate mall was as a result terrorists burning mattresses to divert attention from security officials who were hunting for them, a theory that would, later on, be refuted.

"The smoke you are seeing on the screens is because mattresses have been set on fire by the attackers to distract our efforts," Lenku said.

Defending her husband, Edna claimed her husband's statement was taken out of context.

Edna proposes the establishment of a counselling centre where leaders can receive help to manage stress and other office pressures especially after leaving office.

"Most leaders will face numerous challenges after leaving office. They go through difficult situations, including stress, but they will not go out and explain their problems to everyone. In my opinion, there should be a counselling centre for leaders where they can receive counselling," she said.