Senators describe harrowing moments in police custody

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 00:00 |
Kakamega Senator Cleopas Malala is arrested at his Kitengela home on Monday. Photo/PD/Christine Musa

 What started as an ordinary evening for three senators turned into a nightmare of sorts when they heard an unusual knock on their gates.

The drama started on Sunday evening when the detectives lay siege outside the homes of senators Christopher Langat (Bomet), Steve Lelegwe (Samburu) and Cleopas Malala (Kakamega) demanding to arrest them for unspecified reasons.

Monday’s events started just like any other social media stunt to the effect that detectives were after the three in a plot to bar them from voting on the controversial revenue allocation Bill.

After hours of drama during which the three politicians refused to come out of their houses as ordered by police, they eventually surrendered in the presence of their colleagues and lawyers.

From being confined to his house for more than 12 hours to being escorted hundreds of kilometres away, Malala’s arrest was most dramatic. 

Malala was picked at his home in Kitengela on the outskirts of Nairobi and was expected to face trial for allegedly flouting the Covid-19 health protocol during a meeting at Nabongo Grounds in Mumias town where he distributed foodstuff and sanitisers to vulnerable families.

Signs of disconnect between the elite squad and the police officers on the ground emerged on Monday night when he arrived at the Mumias Police station.

At first, the Mumias DCI declined to receive Malala over unexplained reasons, leading to a four-hour standoff between the two sets of detectives.

Refused to surrender

Trouble began after Malala refused to be locked up in the police cells together with other criminals questioning the cleanliness of the cells and demanding that it be sanitised first.

Accompanied by his lawyer Charles Malala, the senator demanded to be told the charges he was facing before recording a statement.

  Shortly after 2am, exasperated officers from Nairobi walked into their vehicles and drove off leaving Malala unattended.

He walked out of the DCI offices to his car which he locked himself inside and spent the night away as police guarded the vehicle.

In Lang’at’s incident, detectives from the same squad drove to his house in Embakasi at around 9pm on Sunday night, and surrounded it seeking to arrest him.

The defiant senator refused to surrender and instead told the officers from the window of his house that he would only hand himself in the next morning.

Narrating his ordeal, Langat said he was taken to the Embakasi Police Station where he was held for less than five minutes.

Havi said they left Nairobi Area for the 240 Km travel to Bomet at 12pm with three officers in a Subaru car registration number KCD 978B.

According to Havi, they drove all the way to Bomet, only stopping for the officers to relieve themselves.

Somewhere past Mai Mahiu, perhaps for security reasons and to evade the public eye, the officers, he said, changed the registration number once to KCK 686D.

During the four-hour journey to Bomet, one of the officers sat on the front passenger seat while the other sat on the rear left seat with the senator in the middle and the lawyer on the right.

After being questioned for about 40 minutes, Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok who had been waiting outside with several other leaders from the county was called in.

The officers explained to him that the senator was free and why he had been arrested.

Kola, the Bomet CCIO, who led the detectives, told People Daily that he wanted to question the senator over claims that he ferried close to 200 Kipsigis youth to River Amalo where he allegedly administered oaths to them to attack rival youth from Maasai at Olposimoru in Narok.

Lelegwe’s arrest triggered demonstrations in Maralal on Monday, with hundreds of youth demanding his release.

Police accused him of fuelling insecurity in Samburu North. And like his colleagues he was arrested in Nairobi and driven to Samburu.

Speaking after he was released, Lelegwe linked the arrest to the revenue sharing debate saying the action was an attempt to ‘silence the will of the people’. 

“I am elected to represent Samburu people but today I did not. My stand will remain, my vote will remain no matter what happens,” he said. Reporting by Anthony Mwangi, Felix Yegon and Douglas Dindi

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