NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is now demanding an apology from the highest levels of government following “ill treatment” he received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Monday afternoon as he was waiting to board a plane to Kisumu.
According to one of his aides Eliud Owalo, Odinga was denied access of the VIP lounge at Unit III, with airport officials saying that they had received a memo from the Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia listing individuals who should be accorded access to the VIP lounge.
Owalo claims that similar fate befell the former PM’s wife Ida Odinga last Friday at the JKIA.
“It is becoming clearly evident that some people in government with narrow and parochial interests are intent on deploying acts of intimidation reminiscent of the single party era with the false hope that such machinations will make Hon Raila Odinga submissive,” argued Owalo.
Kimemia has however distanced himself from the said letter saying he is not aware.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party was scheduled to address journalists on the issue later on Tuesday afternoon.
In February this year, an Immigration Officer once again citing a memo from Kimemia, attempted to stop Chief Justice Willy Mutunga from leaving the country to Tanzania because “he had not been cleared.”
When Mutunga brought the matter to the fore, the government attempted to save face through a press conference by government Spokesman Muthui Kariuki who announced that the immigration officer had allegedly been suspended to pave way for investigations.
Kariuki said that the instructions did not come from the then Head of Civil Service and that the officer had been suspended because the memo did not include the Chief Justice among individuals who should seek permission before leaving the country.
Interestingly, Mutunga told journalists that when he came back from his Tanzania trip, his office had received a letter ‘allowing’ him to travel out of the country.
The Chief Justice also noted that the immigration officer could not just have been acting on a whim and must have received instructions from above.
“It requires quite some courage, ignorance or political patronage or a combination of all three for an immigration officer, on his own motion, to summon the confidence to stop a Chief Justice from travelling,” he argued at the time.