Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, who was reported to have gone missing, has dismissed reports that he had been abducted, instead saying went into hiding to evade the police who were pursuing him.
The lawmaker was said to have gone missing from his rural home in Shitoto village, Mumias East on Friday night, on the eve of a meeting in Mumias town to address economic issues facing western region that was cancelled by the police.
His bodyguard and personal assistant recorded statements at Shianda Police Post claiming the MP was missing from his house.
Politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto from western Kenya had visited the MP’s home on Saturday afternoon and announced that he had been abducted suspiciously by organisers of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting that was held at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega town.
They claimed Mr Washiali went missing on Friday midnight and that his phones had been switched off.
They wanted the police to reveal his whereabouts.
The politicians claimed that organisers of the Bukhungu meeting had warned that leaders planning the parallel meeting in Mumias would be put under house arrest.
Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli had warned: “We have been following all those people organising the Mumias meeting. We have their names and I can assure you, none of them will leave their homes.
“Luhya people will not allow a few people to spoil such a historic meeting. Their wives will be the first ones to arrest them and place them on house arrest. Those without wives will have a rough day.”
Mr Washiali’s wife is a teacher in Bungoma County and was not at their home on the Friday night. None of the MP’s family members were at home.
But speaking to the Nation by phone on Sunday morning, Mr Washiali explained that he decided to escape from his house after a contingent of police officers raided his home on Friday night.
“I heard sounds of vehicles approaching my home and when I peeped through the window, I noticed several police officers surrounding my compound. I knew they were after me because of the meeting we had organised in Mumias. I escaped through the back door and hid in a thicket behind my home,” he said.
The National Assembly Chief Whip said he watched from his hideout the movements of the officers who stormed his house but failed to find anybody inside before they went away.
“That is when I called a friend who took me to Kisumu where I spent the rest of the night before I flew to Nairobi the following morning,” he added.
He said he switched off his mobile phones and removed their sim cards for fear of being tracked by the authority.
“I want to assure everybody that I am safe from where I am and will be traveling back to Mumias any day from Monday,” he said.
During the aborted Mumias rally, former CS Rashid Echesa and former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale, who are DP Ruto’s allies, were teargassed as they attempted to address residents at local shopping centres.
Dr Khalwale blamed ANC and Ford Kenya leaders Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula respectively for skipping the rallies after vowing to attend, accusing them of cowardice.