, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – He has his back to me when I walk into his living room.
It’s hard to miss the bandage around his head… Only days ago he was hacked by machete-wielding assailants during a campaign rally in Kilifi.
He sits facing the television set but he distractedly fidgets with his phone. Prime Minister Raila Odinga is due any minute and it’s obvious former Industrial Court judge Stewart Madzayo is keen to make a good impression.
He is after all running for the Senate seat in Kilifi County under an Orange Democratic Movement ticket of which the PM is party leader.
“Where would you like the Prime Minister and myself to sit?” he asks his wife, looking at a three-seater and another sofa by the window.
The three-seater is good but Madzayo is not. He had to get 23 stitches following the machete attack only three days earlier. “The flesh at the back of my head was hanging down,” he says.
Madzayo was in the company of Cabinet Minister Amason Kingi at a public meeting in Mtomondoni village, Mtwapa location, Kilifi county when suspected Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) members wielding machetes lunged at him and his party. “I was only three kilometres away from my home. If I don’t feel at home in my county, which county will I feel at ease in?” he wonders.
Madzayo blacked out after receiving a blow to the back of the head to the perpetrators’ chants of, “Pwani si Kenya.”
Kingi’s bodyguard who moved in to protect his boss was not as lucky as he succumbed to his injuries moments later.
It was Madzayo’s bid for votes that is said to have caused the suspected MRC members to spring into action.
The MRC would like the coast to boycott the March 4, 2013 elections as they’d like the region to secede.
Three of attackers were lynched to death by the public. “The majority of coastal residents don’t support the MRC,” Madzayo’s wife says as she takes a seat next to her husband. She was setting the table for the high profile guests they are expecting: the Prime Minister and his wife Ida.
“I can’t believe I defended them and none of them went to prison,” Madzayo, who worked as a lawyer in Mombasa for several years, says of the MRC. That was before he was called to the bench and before they made an attempt on his life.