Mombasa Deputy Governor Hazel Katana’s woes intensified Thursday when her office was raided and furniture carted away.
It happened a day after officers from the county’s inspectorate department failed to take away her official car, a Toyota Prado VX.
The new turn of events for Ms Katana, who has for long maintained a low profile, was the clearest indication that she may have fallen out with her boss, Governor Hassan Joho.
Without going into details about the issue, Governor Joho told journalists: “I see today you have written in the newspapers that we attempted to take away Hazel’s vehicle. Why would I want to do that? I have my own vehicle. God has been kind and has blessed me with a personal car, so why should I want to take hers?’’
That was after he presided over the launch of Mombasa Polytechnic.
On Wednesday, guards at Ms Katana’s Nyali home thwarted an attempt to seize her official vehicles.
Speaking on Thursday at her rural home in Kakoneni Village in Malindi, Kilifi County, Ms Katana said all her furniture had been taken away to stop her from going back to her office.
Ms Katana said she was not aware of the reasons behind the removal of furniture from her office.
“I cannot go back to my office. How can I go there when all the furniture has been removed?” She hoped everything would be well “soon”.
She said so far not received any official communication or a word from Governor Joho.
“I have got absolutely no idea what is going on, why it is happening and who is behind it,” she said, adding that she would remain calm as the scenario unfolded.
It was not immediately clear whether county government, personal files or other items other than furniture were also removed from the office.
County Director of Communications Richard Chacha declined to comment on the issue when contacted but responded with a “no” in a short text message.
On Wednesday, Ms Katana described her tribulations as attempts by ODM to punish her for addressing a Jubilee Party campaign meeting in Jilore last week, where she was alleged to have declared her support for Jubilee’s Malindi by-election candidate, Mr Philip Charo.
Ms Katana has since denied that she had declared her support for any of the candidates, saying she had only urged voters to pick the right person who will make a good leader.
“I did not declare my stand. I will wait for the right time to do so. I addressed the meeting after I was ambushed. Furthermore, it was not a JAP meeting but a ceremony for promoting my relative, Mr Charles Mlewa, from assistant to Jilore Chief", said Ms Katana.
She said that the ceremony was in her home village of Kakoneni and that as a leader, “I was asked to greet the people and I asked them to choose the right candidate so that they don’t regret it”.
Ms Katana said the meeting was attended by ODM supporters and should not be seen as a JAP rally.
Present at the rally were Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Gideon Mung’aro, who is a bitter rival of Mr Joho and a rebel ODM lawmaker leading the Jubilee onslaught in the by-election.
TO HER DEFENCE
Also present were Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko, Nominated senators Emma Mbura and Mvita Mshenga.
On Thursday, 150 women protested Ms Katana’s treatment.
“As women from the Mijikenda community, we will not sit back and see one of our own being harassed. Mombasa is our home and we shall defend ourselves from any injustice”, said Ms Dogo Salim.
They were joined by Nyali MP Hezron Awiti, who said: “The Governor has no power to intimidate or even remove the deputy. We want to be told Ms Katana’s mistake. Has she stolen, killed or committed any sin? We want to be told the reason for this harassment. I stand with the community in this matter.”
Speaking at the press conference, three local residents, Mr Hassan Mwachatamu, Mr Onesmus Chome and Mr Anthony Njogu, said that it was wrong for the governor’s office to harass Ms Katana.