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Chaos in Mumias as politicians claim MP Washiali is missing

Saturday January 18 2020

DERICK LUVEGA
By DERICK LUVEGA
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SHABAN MAKOKHA
By SHABAN MAKOKHA
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allMumias East member of Parliament Benjamin Washiali is missing, a group of western region politicians has claimed and demanded a report from police on his whereabouts.

They made the allegation on Saturday, when they were to hold a meeting parallel to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rally that took place at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County.

They politicians included MPs Justus Murunga (Matungu), John Waluke (Sirisia), Didmus Barasa (Kiminini), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West) and Charles Gimose (Hamisi).

Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa joined them.

Reports indicated that it was Mr Washiali's bodyguard who informed police that he was missing. None of his family members were at home.

Without divulging details, police said they were investigating the matter.

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'HOUSE ARREST'

The politicians claimed the majority whip had been missing since midnight and could not be reached by phone.

Following the allegation, they went to Shianda Police Station to demand an explanation.

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali's supporter
Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali's supporter protests at his home in Shianda following reports on January 18, 2020 that he had gone missing. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Waluke said, "Our chief whip has been missing and cannot be found on phone. We are here to ask police to tell us about his whereabouts."

Mr Barasa blamed planners of the Bukhungu meeting, saying they threatened to place leaders opposed to the event under house arrest.

Mr Murunga said: "We have tried to reach him but his phone is not going through [sic]. We demand that Washiali be brought to us alive. We suspect leaders behind the BBI meeting are behind the disappearance."

WASHIALI'S HOME

A contingent of police officers visited the station and spoke to the commander before heading to Mr Washiali's home metres away.

At the home, the MP's supporters demanded that they leave. The officers left but remained outside the gate.

The politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto were to hold their meeting at Nabongo Grounds in Mumias, but police cordoned off the area.

Police teargassed them at Ekero and Shibale, where they intended to address a gathering on the cancelled meeting.