Drama unfolded at the quiet Hotel Boulevard in Nairobi on Monday after unknown men attacked Nairobi Central Business District Association officials during a press conference.
Former NCBDA chairman Timothy Muriuki was stopped from reading his press statement by three men, who interrupted the event and ejected him out of the hotel.
The trio of musclemen said they would not allow Mr Muriuki to tarnish Governor Mike Sonko’s name and that he would not continue addressing journalists.
They grabbed Mr Muriuki and forcefully led him out of the hotel as he pleaded with them to let him finish reading his statement and hear what he had to say. They would hear none of this and at some point in the scuffle, they argued between themselves on whether to throw Mr Muriuki into the hotel’s swimming pool.
“By the way, do you know how to swim?” one of the men asked the former Nairobi gubernatorial hopeful as they led him towards the edge of the hotel’s swimming pool. His colleague said if he did not agree to go away quietly, they would throw him into the pool. The first man then said they should throw him in either way. They only stopped debating after they were confronted by journalists.
Mr Muriuki was thrown out of the hotel premises where other men on motorcycles formed a circle round him and started shoving and beating him.
They even pushed him into a puddle of dirty water on the pavement.
He sought refuge at the nearby Norfolk Towers apartments. All the while, curious onlookers from the kiosks along the road milled to watch the dramatic scene.
Journalists who waited for him to come out of Norfolk Towers were chased away by Administration Police officers, who arrived shortly after the chaos.
“I don’t know why they were harassing me. They must have been briefed that there was a guy who wanted to bash the governor, but as you can see from the statement, I am actually supporting him,” Mr Muriuki told the Nation.
Part of his statement asked Nairobians to stop blaming the governor for the current problems bedevilling the city as they were not all caused by Mr Sonko.
Mr Muriuki says in the statement that the current City Hall inherited these problems — including the poor drainage, garbage crisis and high crime rate — from the previous administration.
“Let us separate politics from service delivery and let us give Governor Sonko a chance to deploy his delivery team — part of which was sworn-in hardly a fortnight ago. Even as we demand that the governor plays his part in making Nairobi better, let us bear in mind that Nairobi — which was the ultimate theatre of the dreadful political pandemonium of 2017 politics — was literally ungovernable until the beginning of 2018,” the statement said.
The NCBDA suggests that solutions can be found if the city’s professionals work together with the governor and streamline the service delivery of utilities such as garbage collection, within the city.
“A deliberate and widespread campaign aimed at enhancing vigilance by residents themselves, as a deterrent to crime, be launched and supported by among others, the police, NCBDA and the County Government,” Mr Muriuki added.