A Cabinet secretary and an MP nearly came to blows yesterday allegedly over remarks made against ODM leader Raila Odinga.
It reportedly took the intervention of Siaya Deputy Governor James Okumbe, Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi and Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabir to calm tempers during the confrontation between Alego Usonga MP Sam Atandi and Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa.
Even though the incident was not reported at the Kisumu International Airport security desk, witnesses said the confrontation started with a verbal exchange.
According to Osotsi, they were among other passengers at the VIP lounge waiting for their flights to Nairobi.
“In the morning, there are many planes leaving Kisumu for Nairobi and we bumped into each other at the lounge,” he said.
Osotsi said that when Echesa walked into the lounge, Atandi asked him why he had disrespected Raila in public.
Echesa is said to have been offended by Atandi’s questions, leading to a heated argumen.
Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, who also witnessed the exchange, said he was with Mr Shabir, Catherine Mumo and Leonard Okanda, the legal adviser to Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga.
“I walked into the VIP lounge and found the CS in an ugly shouting match with Atandi and Osotsi. The CS was making unsavoury comments about Raila, telling the MPs that ‘you will not take me anywhere! Who is Raila? He is no one to me!,” said Junet.
On threats by Osotsi that they would seek to have Echesa impeached by Parliament, Junet said the CS responded: “Take it there (the motion) but there is nothing you will achieve.”
Junet said the confrontation took place a few minutes to 7.40am; the scheduled departure time for the Kenya Airways flight from Kisumu to Nairobi.
But whereas he was on this flight with the CS, the other two MPs were booked on a different plane that took off almost at the same time.
Contacted by The Standard, Atandi admitted that there was a confrontation.
Sources said Echesa was infuriated by Atandi’s remarks that he should respect Raila.
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“I only asked him why he is disrespecting our party leader and he immediately held me by the neck tie, asking me who Raila was. We just had a face-off but did not fight because the leaders present intervened,” said Atandi.
Over the weekend, Echesa, during a public event in Western, claimed that Raila was plotting to have him removed from office. The CS went ahead to dare the ODM leader to make good his alleged plan.
The CS was not available for comment as calls to his phone went unanswered.
Nyanza Regional Police Commander Leonard Katana said the incident was not reported to the airport police.
Acting Airport Manager Wilkister Otieno said the argument did not warrant any security intervention.