NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 1 – When they left Nairobi for Mogadishu on Saturday, the 11 MPs from northern Kenya did not see anything unusual about their trip.
After all they were just going to hold meetings critical to Kenya’s security at a time the country is facing imminent terror threats from Al Shabaab. They must have told themselves.
Such kind of foreign trips, need to be endorsed by the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and must also involve the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
That is why their return was marked by drama at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), where they found detectives waiting for them for interrogations.
In fact, reports sent to our newsroom from government officials, including from the Interior Ministry was that they were to be arrested and locked up for traveling to Somalia on unauthorised trip.
“Through knowledge of president who challenged leaders to be forthright to fight, we thought it wise to engage Somalia to attend to insecurity affecting our boundary and to provide direction in order to curb the menace,” said Rashid Kassim, the Wajir East MP.
He was accompanied by Kullow Maalim of Banisa, Ahmed Kolosh- Wajir West, Mohammed Hire- Lagdera, Omar Maalim- Mandera East, Ibrahim Abdi – Lafey, Bashir Abdullahi- Mandera North and Adan Haji- Mandera West.
It was such a juicy and big story, that the media was summoned to the airport to cover the intended arrest of the MPs.
“It was just a discussion and they have explained themselves,” said Mureithi Kangi, a Secretary at the Interior Ministry.
During the ‘discussions’ with detectives at the airport, the MPs said they held a meeting with Somalia President on a range of issues, including security and pledged to brief President Uhuru Kenyatta on what they spoke about.
“The government got concerned because the parliamentarians did not get clearance as required by procedure, we had discussions with them to know the nature of the mission and have a feel of the discussions,” he said, and warned them against such future engagements with no authority.
“Issues with Northeastern area is unstable and if anyone wants to volunteer to assist with the situations, it must be done in an orderly manner,” the official said.