Panic as State withdraws bodyguards for team ‘tanga tanga’
The decision by the government to withdraw security for a section of Members of Parliament has sent panic within the political class and cemented the open secret that the chasm between the warring factions in the ruling party is growing.
In an unprecedented move, the government withdrew security detail of several MPs from his backyard who are believed to be allied to Deputy President William Ruto.
Pundits say the decision marks an escalation of rhetoric between the opposing sides in the ruling party.
Among those whose security was withdrawn are Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwa, Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri and Kiambu governor Ferdinard Waititu.
While both Mr Ichungwa and Mr Waititu confirmed the move, the Nation could not confirm the same on Ms Kihika and Mr Ngunjiri.
‘TEAM TANGA TANGA’
All these MPs are key members of the ‘Team Tanga Tanga’ whose leader is Mr Ruto.
They consider the decision to call back their security as political, aimed at intimidating them against supporting the deputy President.
While the National Police Service has rejected the claims, a source at State House, who spoke on condition that he is not named, confirmed the withdrawal, suggesting that the decision had been taken after the leaders refused to heed the President’s call that they desist from political campaigns and focus on implementing his Big Four Agenda
Both Mr Waititu and Mr Ichungwa separately confirmed to the Nation that their security had been withdrawn and no reasons given.
“Yes my security and that of Mr Ichungwa have been withdrawn,” Governor Waititu told the Nation through a short text message without elaborating.
Mr Ichungwa, who also chairs the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the National Assembly, is away in the US on official duty.
He has read mischief in the decision and expressed fears that the withdrawal of his security was an extension of threats he has been receiving on his life.
“I am out of the country and only God knows what they intend to do to my family while I am away or to me when I return,” he said in a text.
He added: “This is a political move to intimidate and coerce me after a series of threats to my life so that I stop working with the Deputy President.”
He forwarded to the Nation a letter dated July 24, 2018 in which he filed a complaint to the Police over threats. He claims to have received a series of telephone calls from unknown people. He gave the police the cell phone number of the people who called him.
And while the Police responded through a letter dated July 30, assuring him that action was being taken, Mr Ichungwa said nothing had come out of it.
“Is the withdrawal of my security the action they were taking? What do they want to do with my family while am away?” Mr Ichungwa asked, even as blamed Interior PS Karanja Kibicho for the withdrawal.
Attempts to reach out to the PS were futile as his phone was switched off for the better part of Friday.
When reached for comment, the Ministry of Interior communication Director Wangoi Muchiri promised to get back.
TO BE REPLACED
The Director of Communications at the National Police Service, Charles Owino however refuted the claims that the bodyguards have been withdrawn. He said all bodyguards that were drawn from the Kenya Police Service have been removed from the duties and will be replaced with those from the Administration Police Service.
“No one is losing any bodyguard. It is just a restructuring that is happening as per the recent police reorganisation where the Administration Police Service have been given the mandate of VIP protection,” Mr Owino said.
Mr Waititu and Mr Ichungwa both hail from President Kenyatta Kiambu backyard but they have proved to be hard-nosed and unrepentant supporters of the DP.