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Youths heckle Karua in her turf

Wednesday August 31 2011

Narc-Kenya party chairperson Martha Karua. Photo/FILE

Narc-Kenya party chairperson Martha Karua. Photo/FILE 

By GEORGE MUNENE [email protected]

Gichugu MP Martha Karua was heckled by rowdy youths during a tour her constituency.

The mob disrupted her speech at Kiamutugu trading centre as she led Roads minister Franklin Bett on a tour of the area on Tuesday.

The Narc Kenya leader had just told residents that the Kianyaga-Kiamutugu road had been considered for tarmacking.

But the youths shouted her down, saying they needed water and not roads.

“We need water!” they shouted, to the amazement of the minister.

Hired goons?

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An attempt by Mr Bett to calm down the hecklers was unsuccessful as he was also shouted down.

The MP and minister eventually abandoned their speeches and drove off amid victory slogans by the youths.

The former Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister dismissed the youths as hecklers hired by political enemies to humiliate her.

The police formed a human shield around the minister and MP as tension rose and the mob threatened to be violent.

Earlier, Ms Karua had been given a warm welcome at Rukenya village as Mr Bett officially opened the 20km Rukenya-Kimunye road built at a cost of Sh844 million.

The residents said they were pleased that the project was completed on time.

Mr Bett described Ms Karua as courageous leader who stood for what she believed in.

“She demonstrated her bravery when she walked out on retired President Moi,” the minister said.

Two former MPs - Daniel Karaba who has declared his interest in the Kirinyaga County senator’s seat — and James Kibicho — who wants to be governor — expressed shock at the incident.

“I’m shocked by what happened. These are young people who have been paid by political enemies to heckle Ms Karua, who has initiated a lot of development projects in her constituency,” said Mr Karaba, who is also the Narc Kenya county chairman.

He described the youths’ behaviour as retrogressive and told leaders to keep politics out of development projects.

Mr Kibicho praised Ms Karua for her development record, saying she deserved more respect.

Equally shocked was area district commissioner Stephen Makori, who was in the minister’s entourage.

Area police boss Patrick Oduma also said he had been caught unawares.

“I thought all was well but when the youths started shouting at the MP, I sensed danger. My officers surrounded the minister to keep him safe,” he said.

Mr Oduma said they had not made any arrests as the youths were shouting from the centre of the crowd welcoming the MP’s entourage.

“It was difficult to identify the hecklers as they were shouting from the crowd,” he said.

A nominated councillor, Mr Mureithi Kang’ara, said he had advised the minister not to proceed to Gichugu from Ndia because he had reason to fear they would receive a hostile reception.