The Majority Chief Whip in the National Assembly, Benjamin Washiali, said he plotted his ‘kidnapping’ at his Shitoto rural home in Mumias East Constituency to deescalate political tensions during BBI rally.
In a rare public confession, the Mumias East MP, who had vowed to lead the Western economic empowerment rally that was outlawed by police for coinciding with the Building Bridges Initiative rally at Bukhungu, said his disappearance was a plot to fend-off pressure of the moment.
On Saturday, Washiali told a rally at the Bomani Nabongo grounds in Mumias West Constituency that pressure from his supporters, intimidation from state agents and fear for his life got to him.
The MP said he exited from his house and disappeared into the night after spotting a contingent of 15 armed police officers camped at his home shortly before midnight.
Using the old adage “once beaten twice shy”, the MP said: “I can vividly remember that at such a time in 2009, a group of leaders were demanding that Kidero (Evans, former Mumias Sugar Company MD and Nairobi govenor) must go.”
He went on: “We were cornered by ant-riot police and clobbered. I was beaten to a pulp and my arm was broken. Now Atwoli (Francis-Cotu SG) who instigated the cancellation of our meeting calls me a coward for avoiding a similar confrontation with police…Is there anyone who is ready to confront bullets?”
“If the police had a clear conscience to visit my home, why wait until that hour of the night to visit? What was so urgent that they couldn’t summon me to the station the following day?” asked Washiali.
The MP has been under siege from his supporters for disappearing and switching off his phones on the eve of the meeting after repeatedly vowing to defy the police by holding the outlawed Mumias rally.
His maneuvers left allies of Deputy President William Ruto in the area, including former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, Sirisia MP John Waluke and Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) on their own to battle anti-riot police officers.