Former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale has defended himself against criticism by online users, who claimed the ex-lawmaker stooped too low when he carried stones in his hands to avenge violence meted out on him in Kibra on Thursday.
Khalwale was roughed up by rowdy youth at Laini Saba in Kibra as he made his way to YMCA polling station, where he was reportedly going to observe the voting exercise.
Pictures and videos of the former senator carrying fairly large stones in his hands went viral, with several social media users faulting the former Ikolomani MP for pushing his dignity aside, and, instead, adopting what online users termed as the “absolute goon outlook”.
But Khalwale, who was rooting for Jubilee’s McDonald Mariga in the Kibra by-election, says he has no regrets, whatsoever, over what he did.
Speaking to K24 Digital on Friday, the 59-year-old said: “Would you rather see me dead, or alive and fighting for Kenyans’ welfare?”
“I had to protect myself against goons hired by ODM to frustrate us,” he added.
And to those claiming his actions betrayed his profession as a medical doctor, Khalwale said: “Look, I was not in Kibra as a medical doctor, but a politician and an agent lawfully mandated to oversee the voting exercise. Suddenly, goons contracted by ODM showed up, and began pelting me with stones? What did you expect me to do? I had to protect myself.
“Yes, there were police officers deployed to man the polling station, but what did they do? They stood there and watched as the rowdy men harassed me. I needed to show them that a bullfighter could not be intimidated, and so, I armed myself with stones,” he said.
And following Mariga’s loss to Imran Okoth, Khalwale says he believes the outcome would have been different “were it not for ODM-sponsored violence”.
“Mariga could have won by more than 40, 000 votes had it not been for the violence meted out on Jubilee representatives in the poll. Look, Kibra’s voter turnout at 35 per cent was the lowest in the history of by-elections in Kenya, and all that was due to the chaos engineered by ODM. The real winner in the Kibra parliamentary race is not Imran Okoth, but McDonald Mariga,” said Khalwale.
Okoth amassed 24, 636 votes against Mariga’s 11, 230. ANC’s Eliud Owalo came third with 5, 275 votes, whereas Ford Kenya’s Khamisi Butichi wrapped up the Top Four with 260 votes. The contest attracted 24 competitors.
On Thursday night, Mariga called Imran Okoth to concede defeat.
The ex-footballer said he was ready to work with the MP-elect to improve the welfare of Kibra constituents.
Kibra parliamentary seat fell vacant on July 26 following the death of the then-holder, Ken Okoth, who succumbed to cancer.