3 instances where Kenyans hang dangerously on politicians’ choppers

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 6 Jul, 2022 08:07 | 3 mins read
Man hangs on politician chopper
A screencrab of the man who hanged on CS Peter Munya's chopper in Meru County.

Politics in Kenya has metamorphosised in recent years with helicopters increasingly becoming the status symbol of the field that continues to attract the high and the mighty.

Helicopters are synonymous with general elections since most politicians seeking top government positions rely on air transport to traverse many parts of the country within a limited time.

Besides the convenience, owning or riding in an aircraft is a symbol of opulence that most politicians often want to portray during campaigns.

2022 being an election year, there has been a sharp rise in the number of choppers imported into the country.

With the rise in the trend, it's common to find Kenyans milling around choppers at political rallies, some seeing the aircraft at close range for the first time.

To satisfy their curiosity, some Kenyans go to the extent of dangerously hanging on the choppers as they take off.

Man hangs on CS Munya's chopper

In June this year, a middle-aged man shocked the nation after precariously hanging onto a chopper carrying Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya as it took off in Igembe South, Meru County.

In a video that went viral on social media, Joachim Muriithi christened Meru's 'James Bond' was filmed waving to a cheering crowd from the chopper at Kiegoi market.

Munya and EALA MP Mpuru Aburi were in the area to drum up support for Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

Muriithi clung to the chopper for about 58 seconds before the pilot lowed the aircraft allowing him to disengage safely.

The man, who was arrested shortly after, was committed to six months custody at Mathari National Hospital and Referral Hospital on July 5 after a mental assessment report tabled at the Maua Law courts showed that he was not of sound mind.

The Meru incident prompted the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to issue a statement warning members of the public against the act that is seemingly gaining popularity in the country.

"The Authority categorically emphasizes that hanging on to choppers poses an unnecessary danger to persons and property. Members of the public seen to approach the aircraft landing and take-off sites will be held culpable," KCAA said.

Two men hang on Wetangula's chopper in Bungoma

In March this year, two men caused a scene at the burial of Mt Elgon MP John Serut at Kapsokwony Boys High School in Bungoma after hanging on a chopper carrying Kenya Kwanza alliance leaders.

The delegation comprised of, among others, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula and his Kakamega counterpart Cleophas Malala was taking off to attend a rally in Kimilili constituency.

The pilot was forced to return to the ground to allow the men to disembark.

The two were picked up by police after jumping off the helicopter but were set free following protests from members of the public.

Bungoma's first James Bond

In 2016, another man from Bungoma treated residents to free drama after clinging to a helicopter carrying the body of businessman Jacob Juma.

In a bizarre incident, Sale Wanjala told the police that he wanted to have a closer look at the body of the prominent businessman, who was murdered by unknown gunmen while driving home from a city joint in May 2016.

Saleh Wanjala alias Bungoma James Bond. [PHOTO | FILE]
Saleh Wanjala alias Bungoma James Bond. [PHOTO | FILE]

He was, consequently, arrested and arraigned.

On March 20, 2019, a Bungoma court, however, set him free, saying the case lodged against the defendant (Wanjala) lacked merit.

The court ruled that Wanjala did not endanger his life and that of the captain as had been argued by the prosecution.

Wanjala died in September 2020 after a long illness.