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Musalia Mudavadi's nightmares at the Nakuru police cells

By Amos Kareithi | Jan 26th 2022 | 2 min read

Musalia Mudavadi in 1993 [File, Standard]

When the man behind the recent political earthquake visits Nakuru today, he will be in relatively safe hands. He will be in the Rift to determine whether aftershocks of the tremors he generated last weekend are still causing ripples.

The first time Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi, ‘sneaked’ to Nakuru, the government was very upset. He was grabbed by armed Administration Police officers and frogmarched to the most powerful man then, Hezekiah Oyugi.

Sometimes in 1984, shortly after landing a job with National Housing Corporation, Mudavadi was dispatched to Nakuru as head of a squad that was to issue eviction notices to rent defaulters.

And for a time, he went about his work without any problem. However, when trouble came, it was through some overzealous police officers who grabbed him and took him and his team to the office of then powerful Provincial Commissioner Oyugi, who was gleefully waiting in his office.

“Who told you to come here and terrorise my people without informing me? Nakuru is the centre of power. This is where President Kenyatta used to rule from. Nobody jokes with Nakuru,” he proclaimed.

What the PC did not know then was that Mudavadi was a Cabinet minister’s son, and when he learnt this, he quickly changed his demeanor. He offered the eviction squad tea and police escort to go back and finish with the rent defaulters.

But Nakuru was not Mudavadi’s worst nightmare. As he records in his memoirs, Soaring above the Storms of Passion: Musalia Mudavadi: An Autobiography, two years earlier he had been exiled in Mululu village.

His flight from the city had been triggered by his arrest and detention in the dreaded torture chambers following the attempted 1982 coup. He was a university student at the time.

His first taste of State hospitality was at Kakamega Police Station where he was stripped of his clothes and then transferred to Webuye before being moved to Railways Police Station in Nakuru.

Ultimately, Mudavadi met David Murathe, Richard Onyonka and Phillip Murgor at Embakasi’s Administration Police Training College. This was to be his home for next two weeks where he and other students were tortured and grilled about their involvement in the failed coup.

So, today, as he claims his place at Afraha Stadium, which is not far away from Central Police Station where he spent a horrific night 38 years ago, Oyugi and his APs will not be there to intimidate him.

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