27 October 2017

Kenya: Scuffle at Panafric Hotel as Jubilee, Nasa MPs Disagree

Photo: Dennis Onsongo/Daily Nation
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja shields Mathare MP Anthony Oluoch from being attacked at Panafric Hotel in Nairobi on October 26, 2017

A scuffle ensued between Jubilee and Nasa MPs at Panafric Hotel in Nairobi over a cup of tea and the repeat presidential election.

Opposition legislators led by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed had earlier called a press conference to comment about the repeat poll which they said was a sham and had that it flopped terribly due to the poor turnout witnessed in some parts of the country.

Before finishing their address, Jubilee leaders led by Senate majority leader and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen started arriving at the same venue, also ready to give their own update about the poll.

While addressing the media, Mr Murkomen condemned the violence witnessed in some of the country especially in Kisumu, Migori, Siaya and Homa Bay counties.


In a peace plea, Mr Murkomen advised Kenyans, especially the youth, not to fight because of politicians, saying while the leaders appear at loggerheads in public, they are friends in private.

"I want to tell Kenyans not to fight because of politicians. We are friends. We help each other and even right now the Nasa MPs are taking tea on my bill," Mr Murkomen said with a light touch.

Unknown to him, the Nasa leaders were still within the hotel taking tea and watching his live press conference and the statement irked them.

Led by Mathare MP Anthony Oluoch, the MPs stormed the Jubilee press conference that was being beamed live on TV stations and stopped Mr Murkomen from continuing with his address.


"It is very wrong for Mr Murkomen to tell the whole country that he has bought tea for us... the comment is in bad taste and is meant to portray the opposition MPs as poor people who are broke," Mr Oluoch said.

"I personally booked this facility with my own money for the Nasa press conference. I am an MP and I have my own money," he went on.

Attempts by Nairobi Senator Johnston Sakaja to cool down Mr Oluoch failed as he continued to castigate Mr Murkomen over his comments.

"Please mheshimiwa, we don't need to go this way. We are live on TV. Let us behave like honourable members," Mr Sakaja pleaded with Oluoch.


Rongo MP Paul Abuor said it was unfortunate for Mr Murkomen to think that opposition MPs cannot afford their own tea.

"For the record, Mr Murkomen should know that we are not poor and we can buy our own tea. We called for our press conference and addressed serious issues without insulting anyone. Why then should the senator insult us?" asked the MP.


Just after the opposition MPs had retreated and normalcy was returning, a group of youths came from nowhere and descended on Mr Oluoch with kicks and blows and he was saved by the hotel's security agents.

The Mathare MP did not have his security at the time of the incident.

The jubilee MPs left the facility and later addressed another press conference at Serena Hotel where they condemned the incident, saying the opposition MPs were just interested in drama.

Mr Murkomen maintained that he did nothing wrong and instead asked the Mathare MP to apologise.

"It is unfortunate for my senior Mr Oluoch to go physical. I demand an apology as soon as possible," Mr Murkomen said.

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