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Waititu denied entry into VIP podium at Mashujaa Day fete

ALLAN OLINGOBy ALLAN OLINGO
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Embattled Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu’s woes seem to be far from over as he was asked to vacate a seat at the podium in Mombasa during Mashujaa Day celebrations on Sunday.

This came barely four days after he faced an almost similar treatment in Suswa as President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Standard Gauge Railway.

During the Mashujaa day celebrations, Mr Waititu arrived before other governors and took a seat reserved for Mombasa Woman Representative Asha Hussein.

A few minutes later, some of the organisers walked to where Mr Waititu was and had a quick chat with him, upon which he picked a phone call.

It is not clear who gave the instructions, and what the governor was told. However, he stood up, walked out of the dais, then proceeded to have a quick chat with several security officials, strolling through the entry and leaving the venue.

“STRICT ORDERS”

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Sources told the Nation that the organisers were under strict instructions not to allow leaders battling cases in court or under active investigations to the VIP podium, where the other leaders had reserved seats.

“That order was given to the organising team by State House. The President has, for some time, been keen on avoiding leaders either facing court cases or under active investigations,” a source said.

Mr Waititus’ woes stem from corruption related charges that he is facing in court. In July, the governor together with his wife Susan Wangari Ndun’gu, seven county employees, and a businessman was charged with irregular award of Sh588 million contracts for roads repair.

They also faced various counts of conflict of interest, dealing with suspect property, money laundering and abuse of office. They have all denied the charges.

TIGHT SECURITY

In the Suswa incident, Mr Waititu was kept in check by the presidential security team, denying him access or a photo opportunity with President Kenyatta.

This came even as his colleagues including Kajiado’s Joseph ole Lenku, Nakuru’s Lee Kinyajui and Machakos’ Alfred Mutua mingled freely with the Head of State.

Mr Waititus deputy, Dr James Nyoro, whom he has since fallen out with, was also present.

Mr Sonko was also forced to seat rows behind the President and away from the other governors for unexplained reasons.

The flashy governor made a quiet entry with his entourage and sat a distance away from where the other governors including Mombasa’s Hassan Joho, Amason Kingi of Kilifi, Salim Mvurya of Kwale and Tana River’s Dadho Godhana were seated.

ZERO TOLERANCE

President Kenyatta has been on record saying he will not tolerate or help out leaders facing corruption charges, noting that they should carry their own cross “as no one will be there to help those who will be found culpable.”

“No one will be there to help you. Those days where you could make calls seeking help are over. The phones have now been switched off. You will have to remove yourself from your own mess,” President Kenyatta said in August while fagging off Kenya’s first shipment of crude oil.