Youths in Mwingi pelt Jubilee campaign team with stones

Wednesday September 13 2017

Mwingi OCS Peter Ndung'u inspects one of the vehicles which was damaged after youths pelted a Jubilee campaign team with stones in Mwingi, Kitui County on September 12, 2017. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mwingi OCS Peter Ndung'u inspects one of the vehicles which was damaged after youths pelted a Jubilee campaign team with stones in Mwingi, Kitui County on September 12, 2017. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MARY WAMBUI
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A group of businessmen from Thika who are campaigning for the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto have called upon the police to investigate, arrest and arraign in court youths who stoned their vehicles on Tuesday evening as they were coming from Mwingi at the end of a tour of Kiambu, Machakos and Kitui counties.

They also want the police to question Mwingi MP Gideon Mulyungi whom they accuse of being behind the attack that saw more than five cars damaged and a few people injured after they were hit by the stones.

The youths who were on motorbikes pelted the UhuRuto caravan with stones as they left Mwingi Town.

HUNT FOR VOTES

The team’s first caravan tour Tuesday traversed Kiambu, Machakos and Kitui counties along Garissa Road, asking residents to vote for the president on October 17.

The team's chairman Chege Wa Gathu told journalists that the response to their campaigns was generally good, and that the team will next proceed to Kirinyaga, Embu and Meru counties on a date to be announced later.

However, Chege added, "As we left Mwingi Town, we encountered a charged group of young men that followed us on motorbikes and tried to block our motorcade before pelting stones towards our vehicles. We have received information that the irate youths had been incited by Mwingi MP who had sent men driving in a Probox (car) and a white Lexus to trail us up to Mwingi."

"The cars' occupants followed us up to Mwingi Town and could be seen dishing out money and Raila's posters to some boda boda riders in Mwingi Town shortly before the incident happened," he added.

One of the cars which was stoned by unruly youths as a Jubilee campaign team of Thika businessmen toured Mwingi in Kitui County on September 12, 2017.  PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

One of the cars which was stoned by unruly youths as a Jubilee campaign team of Thika businessmen toured Mwingi in Kitui County on September 12, 2017. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

MP'S RESPONSE

Initial attempts by Nation to get a comment from the Mwingi MP bore no fruit as calls to his phone went unanswered.

He only responded through a text message saying: “I’m sorry I have not been to Mwingi for the last two weeks so confirm with your source.”

Former Democratic Party (DP) Chairman Dick Githaiga condemned the incident saying Kenyans are free to campaign for their preferred presidential candidates in every corner of this country.

"It is unfortunate that an elected leader would resort to bribing and inciting the youth to stone our vehicles. The actions are defeatist and uncalled for since we went to Mwingi in peace with only one mission which is to hunt votes for the President.

“We are asking the police to take action against these boda boda guys because we gathered that they are well known in the area,” Mr Githaiga said.

Mwingi OCS Peter Ndung'u records statements from Thika businessmen whose vehicles were damaged after youths pelted a Jubilee campaign caravan with stones in Mwingi, Kitui County on September 12, 2017. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mwingi OCS Peter Ndung'u records statements from Thika businessmen whose vehicles were damaged after youths pelted a Jubilee campaign caravan with stones in Mwingi, Kitui County on September 12, 2017. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

CAMPAIGN GOES ON

He added that the incident will not derail their plans to go round the country to drum up support for Mr Kenyatta.

"We do not have a problem with the community but the leaders who seemed to forget that the community gets its food from our Makongeni market in Thika. You do not bite the hand that feeds you," he said.

Charles Matheka, a trader based in Yatta, Machakos County, condemned the attack, terming it a defeatist ploy by Wiper leaders in Mwingi which he said will not bear fruit.

"Everyone is free to seek votes in any part of this country. There is no need to send youths to disrupt your opponents’ gatherings. We are in support of President Uhuru Kenyatta together with our governor Alfred Mutua and we want to assure the Thika team of our support in boosting the president's votes," he said.

Ms Fiona Syokau, a politician from Ukambani, blamed the attack on Jubilee's lack of proper campaign machinery in Kitui County.

"The resistance was expected because the UhuRuto team lacks machinery in Ukambani area. That said, we want to assure the Thika team that we shall work together to boost the president's votes in Ukambani," said Ms Syokau as she declared that she had quit Nasa for Jubilee.