An apparent few seconds of madness involving two top city leaders Friday drew ire, initiated police investigation and inspired debate on social media.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero is fighting damaging allegations that he assaulted Women Representative Rachael Shebesh during a confrontation at City Hall.
The incident, captured on camera, supposedly happened when Ms Shebesh, accompanied by aggrieved Nairobi City County workers who are demanding better pay, went to Dr Kidero’s office.
The governor had returned from a meeting with visiting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan when he came face to face with Ms Shebesh, some members of the County Assembly and the workers. The situation turned chaotic and it was then that Dr Kidero allegedly slapped Ms Shebesh before telling her off.
After the incident, both the governor and the Women Representative separately recorded statements with the police.
Dr Kidero went to Central Police Station last evening, accusing Ms Shebesh of assault.
“He came to record a statement that he had been assaulted by Shebesh,” Central police chief Patrick Oduma said after the governor left the station.
Dr Kidero went to the police station at 5.30pm. He stayed for almost an hour and was joined by his wife Susan Mboya-Kidero and other politicians.
After recording the statement, he left in a huff only telling journalists that he had left the matter to be investigated to “the bottom of it” by the authorities.
“It is an incident that I have now left to the authorities to investigate. I’m sure they will go the bottom of it,” Dr Kidero said, denying he assaulted Ms Shebesh.
The police boss said they had started investigations into the matter after Ms Shebesh also accused Dr Kidero of assault.
“Both have claimed they were assaulted. Ms Shebesh recorded an assault statement against Dr Kidero at the Parliament Police Station, so we have to begin investigations to ascertain who did what,” he said.
The alleged assault has irked some lawmakers, who have called for the governor’s resignation.
“Dr Kidero is trying to intimidate the women of this city. He does not deserve to be holding that governor’s seat,” said Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire.
The MP called for swift investigations. “Teach Kidero a lesson for trying to show his arrogance and uncontrolled temper on women,” she said.
She also called on all female MPs and county representatives to rally behind Ms Shebesh by condemning the alleged assault and demanding for the governor’s ouster.
The incident drew instant reaction with the National Gender and Equality Commission leading the pack.
“We take great exception to the ugly incident that occurred this afternoon at City Hall where Nairobi County Governor Dr Evans Kidero allegedly slapped Nairobi County Women Representative Rachel Shebesh,” Commission chairperson Winfred Lichuma said.
She went on. “This is the height of intolerance that reeks of sheer arrogance punctuated by total disrespect for women. Governor Kidero must be told that he cannot use his office to assault honourable or ordinary members of public.”
She advised Ms Shebesh to seek legal redress since Dr Kidero had “crossed the red line”.
Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida-Kenya) followed suit.
“It is demeaning and in bad taste for a leader holding such a position to resort to violence as a means of solving issues,” Fida chairperson Ruth Aura said.
“Fida-Kenya condemns in the strongest terms the governor’s actions and calls upon the Inspector-General of Police to immediately commence investigations,” she added.