Ali Mwatsahu: Coast politician hurt in shooting was lured from house, says wife

Mildred Odinga (left) is comforted by a friend, Betty Makena, outside the Aga Khan Hospital in Mombasa yesterday. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Mvita parliamentary aspirant Ali Mwatsahu who was shot several times on Tuesday night may have been lured to his attackers by someone known to him, his wife, Mildred Odinga, has said.

Mrs Odinga said her husband received a phone call at about 9pm before he walked out of the house, got in his car and drove away only to be waylaid by shooters who sprayed his vehicle with bullets.

He sustained injuries to his legs and arms.

Mrs Odinga linked the attack to land conflict at the Coast, saying that her husband has been a passionate defender of indigenous communities’ land rights.

“When we arrived at the scene of the crime, we were informed that he had been rushed to hospital by a tuk-tuk driver. We followed them and he told us what happened,” she said.

Mrs Odinga said her husband told her that the gunmen only stopped shooting after he played dead.

Yesterday, detectives said they were investigating whether the attack was linked to politics or business, or whether it was a random occurrence.

According to witnesses, Mwatsahu’s vehicle was blocked by two saloon cars before the attackers started shooting indiscriminately at the politician.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i directed the police to give him a report about the incident by the end of yesterday. He said detectives were exploring various angles to determine the reason behind the attack.

Bullet fragments

According to relatives and families who visited Mwatsahu, he was badly injured in his right hand. By the time of going to press we had information that 17 bullet fragments had been removed from his body.

“Yes, there are about four bullets or bullet fragments still remaining in his stomach. He has been moved from the emergency room to the normal ward,” said Hassan Omar, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate for the Mombasa governor’s seat.

Mr Omar had earlier said the incident happened at about 9.45pm. “A CT scan and X-ray indicate that Mwatsahu has endured multiple gunshot wounds and is currently undergoing surgery at the Aga Khan Hospital, Mombasa.”

Mwatsahu, who has in the past served as The National Alliance and Jubilee Coast chairman, has declared he will vie for the Mvita parliamentary seat on a UDA ticket.

Detectives said the politician’s vehicle had 24 bullet holes.

“No one has so far come out to tell us what actually happened. Call me later in the day for more details about this unfortunate incident,” said Coast Regional Coordinator John Elungata.