Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria has been arrested after he allegedly assaulted a senior police officer over the eviction of matatus from town centre. His Nakuru Town West counterpart Samuel Arama said he had accompanied Gikaria to Nakuru Central police station, which also hosts the office of county police commander. "We were holding a meeting with the county commander at his office. The MP had an altercation with the commander who ordered his arrest,” said Arama.
County police commander Tito Kilonzi yesterday confirmed Gikaria's arrest and said the MP would be taken to court. “The MP came to my office, hurled insults at me and harassed me. He almost beat me up and I had to call in officers to arrest him," said Kilonzi.
He dismissed claims that the county government was misusing the police. "It is not true that the county government is using the police outside our mandate. The protesters were unruly, throwing stones and lighting bonfires on the streets. They disrupted everything and we had to come in," said Kilonzi.
The drama followed a botched attempt by matatu operators to move back to Nakuru town on Monday morning after the county government removed them from the town centre to ease congestion in March. Gun shots rent the air, smoke billowed on the streets, and people choked on teargas as the police engaged Nakuru town residents in running battles for the better part of yesterday.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui faulted the matatu operators, saying their approach was wrong as the county government had made the relocation plans clear to them. “Their decision to hold protests was uncalled for. We have good intentions whose full implementation will lead to an expanded modern and vibrant town,” said Kinyanjui.
The governor said the county had set aside funds to construct a modern bus park. “We have already allocated Sh100 million for this project and will seek more funding to increase the scope. We call for patience and dialogue when dealing with such weighty matters,” said Kinyanjui.
Arama, however, took issue with Kinyanjui’s approach, describing it as abuse of police officers who have no role in planning the town. “The police should be there to keep law and order. It is unfortunate that the governor is now using them to intimidate and mistreat the residents who are fighting for their rights. He has not been available for open discussion,” said Arama.