George Kebaso and Kinyuru Munuhe @PeopleDailyKe
There was drama on Monday night at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) when Siaya Senator James Orengo and businessman Jimi Wanjigi were blocked by Immigration officials from leaving the country.
The two were scheduled to fly out to Zimbabwe on a 9.20pm flight on Monday to join Nasa leader Raila Odinga at the funeral of Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Raila had left earlier in the day with Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o.
When two checked into the airport shortly after 9pm, an immigration official is said to have grabbed Wanjigi’s passport and walked away with it. He was overheard in a phone conversation saying the businessman’s passport had been suspended. Witness recounted to People Daily that Wanjigi then told the Immigration officials that they were breaking the law.
“That passport belongs to me. You are ignoring court orders,” the businessman is said to have complained. The immigration officials were adamant that they had received orders not to allow them to use their passports.
The two later called Immigration Director Maj-Gen (Rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa over the incident after their plane left without them. Kihalangwa denied he had seen the court orders regarding the passports.
He explained that the two were barred because their passports had been suspended and by the time they reached the airport, the suspension was still in force. “When the two arrived at JKIA, they were requested to avail the copies of court orders but they had none.
Instead they showed some writings in their phones purporting to be court orders. The two could, therefore, not be allowed to proceed until copies of the said orders were availed,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Orengo and Wanjigi were later cleared to travel yesterday morning and left for Harare at 1.45pm. The two are among Nasa politicians and strategists whose passports were withdrawn following the “swearing-in” of Raila as “people’s president” on January 30.