Imanyara accuses the First Lady of assault
Published on February 5, 2008, 12:00 am
By Ben Agina
After weeks of swirling rumours about his whereabouts and health, Imenti Central MP, Mr Gitobu Imanyara, finally came out to claim that First Lady Lucy Kibaki had assaulted him in the corridors of State House.
And the renowned lawyer said he would move to court to sue the President’s wife over the alleged incident three weeks ago.
But the First Lady reacted swiftly via an e-mail from the Presidential Press Service (PPS) in which she denied assaulting Imanyara.
“We take great exception to these allegations and wish to state that the First Lady did not assault the legislator,” said the terse PPS statement.
It said it was astonishing that a lawyer of Imanyara’s stature would make such accusations three weeks after the alleged incident.
“We also state that no emissary has been sent to Imanyara to apologise over an assault incident that never took place,” said PPS.
The First Lady accused Imanyara of blackmail after failing to secure the deputy Speaker’s seat during the hotly contested elections in Parliament.
But Imanyara said President Kibaki had invited 35 MPs under the auspices of the Small Parties Parliamentary Group to a meeting at State House ahead of the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
He said he had cut short a trip to South Africa to attend the meeting, also graced by Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, and Internal Security minister, Prof George Saitoti.
Imanyara said after going through the security checks at State House, they were ushered into a conference room.
After taking a seat and introducing himself to the President, the MP said, State House Comptroller, Mr Hyslop Ipu, came in and whispered to him that he should leave the room.
“I thought this was quite rude for a junior officer to come where the President was and ask me to leave the room,” said a visibly angry Imanyara.
Shortly afterwards, Imanyara recounted, the Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr Francis Muthaura, came to ask whether they could talk outside.
“At this time, I could hear loud screams of a female shouting all kinds of words. I did not know who it was,” said Imanyara.
The Imenti Central legislator said as he was talking to Muthaura, the First Lady burst into the scene screaming: “This is the man that took the First Lady to the courts. Nobody comes to State House without my permission!”
Imanyara said she went on: “You are a friend of the Luos. Foolish Merus voted for you.”
At this juncture, said Imanyara, the First Lady came forward and started throwing punches at him, which he ducked.
“Nobody takes the First Lady to court. Nobody gets away with it,” Imanyara quoted her as saying.
He said Mrs Kibaki vowed that he would not get any Government appointments as long as she was at State House.
And on allegations that he was punched, Imanyara said: “The First Lady is too short and no punch touched me, neither did I return any.”
Imanyara said security at the corridors of State House stood by and watched as the whole episode unfolded.
The MP said at some point, he was asked to leave State House and he obliged.
Speaking at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi, Imanyara lashed out at the First Lady for trying to create an impression that State House was her property.
“At this rate, we don’t know who is in charge at State House. Kibaki needs to remove the First Lady from State House,” said Imanyara.
And in a curious twist, the statement by the PPS added: “We hope Imanyara is not using the allegations as blackmail over the issue of Government or Cabinet appointments after he lost the position of Deputy Speaker in recent elections in Parliament.”
The First Lady, PPS said, had instructed her lawyers to “immediately take legal action against Imanyara and any other individual or outlets that perpetuate or communicate the wild allegations made by Imanyara”.
The PPS statement said the allegations bordered on character assassination and blackmail, and were part of a wider political scheme aimed at besmirching the office of the First Lady.
But Imanyara said he would go ahead and sue the First Lady over the alleged assault.
Imanyara also maintained that he would continue to represent former KTN cameraman, Mr Clifford Derrick, in a case filed against the First Lady two years ago. The lawyer claimed that this week, goons purporting to represent the First Lady assaulted Clifford.
In recent years, several allegations have been made against Mrs Kibaki.
Two years ago, Derrick, went to court after the First Lady allegedly assaulted him during a night siege at the Nation newsroom.