Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho on Thursday protested the withdrawal of his security detail, terming it an act of political intimidation by the Jubilee administration three days after the Malindi by-election.
Speaking after a busy morning during which he shuttled between his home, office and the Urban divisional police headquarters at Kizingo, Mr Joho said he would not fight for the reinstatement of the seven police officers attached to his security detail “as God would protect” him.
The ODM governor’s police guards were withdrawn early Thursday morning, just a day after Coast regional commissioner Nelson Marwa warned that those involved in the Malindi parliamentary by-election violence on Monday would face the full force of the law.
The governor read political malice in the move and complained that he was neither consulted nor informed of the decision.
He said Mombasa Urban police boss Patrick Njoroge went to his office and informed him that he had “an order from above” to ask police officers under him to return to their respective stations.
The governor visited the office of the Coast regional police boss, Francis Wanjohi, demanding to know why his security had been withdrawn.
Drama unfolded as Mr Joho, who was accompanied by his political adviser Major (Rtd) Idris Abdulrahman, entered Mr Wanjohi’s office forcing him to cut short a meeting.
The governor asked Mr Wanjohi to explain why the officers had been withdrawn without “any formal communication”.
“Your officer came and said he has received orders from the county commander that my officers should be withdrawn. If you wanted to take them away, why didn’t you do it officially? Hii siasa ya vitisho mtaacha. Sisi sote ni Wakenya na kulikuwa na serikali kabla yenu (You have to stop this politics of intimidation. We are all Kenyans and there was a government before the current one).
“Even if you take all of them God is there and He is the one who is protecting all of us,” said Mr Joho.
Mr Wanjohi denied that he had given the order, adding that he was not the county commander and that his deputy was the one in charge of the county.
The governor demanded that the Coast Deputy Regional Commander Akello Odhiambo be summoned to explain why he had given the order.
But when Mr Odhiambo arrived, he threw in a fresh twist: “I am not the county commander, I am the deputy regional commander.”
Mr Wanjohi then told the governor that the officers, among them a General Service Unit officer, had been ordered to report back to their stations.
“For now you can consider it official that the officers have been withdrawn. There are some policies that are coming up and the officers are needed back to their stations,” he said.
Speaking in his office, Mr Joho said: “I can say this is intimidation. It cannot be a coincidence that it is happening just two days after the by-election victory. But I am telling them they cannot stop me and I will continue with my politics as usual. I can assure you they will not be in power forever,” he said.
On Wednesday, Mr Marwa ordered investigations on police officers who were involved in the violence during the by-election.
Speaking in Lungalunga Sub County, Mr Marwa demanded answers from the police officers who supervised the elections, won by ODM’s Willy Mtengo.
Mr Marwa blamed the officers for failing to take action when a woman was undressed while others were beaten up.
“I am a disturbed person. How can a woman be undressed while police officers are just standing by and watching? I want an answer from these fellows,” he said.
STATE TO BLAME
Mr Marwa wondered who was going to defend innocent Kenyans if the people empowered with the mandate to protect them were breaking the law.
Meanwhile, Cord leaders accused the government of taking “revenge” against the opposition for winning the by-election.
Cord co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula last evening took issue with the withdrawal of security for Mr Joho and termed it a punishment for campaigning for the winner in Malindi.
Mr Wetang’ula brought the matter to the attention of the Senate, saying the opposition coalition would hold the government responsible for any harm or attack on the governor.
“This does not augur well for the politics of this country. Everybody knows we have just come from a bruising by-election where Joho was the Cord team leader. We will hold the government liable and responsible if anything happens to Mr Joho,” said Mr Wetang’ula.