Inside Politics

Mombasa aspirant fights for his life after gun attack

Thursday, April 7th, 2022 00:00 | By
Police at the scene where Mombasa politician Ali Mwatsahu was shot on Tuesday night. The car reportedly had 24 bullet holes. PHOTO/Ndegwa Gathungu

A Mombasa politician was last night fighting for his life after he was attacked by unknown gunmen and shot several times on Tuesday night.

Ali Mwatsahu, who is contesting the Mvita parliamentary seat on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket, had just taken Iftar, the evening meal eaten at sunset during Ramadhan, at his second wife’s home in the Bamburi Fisheries area, when he received a phone call as he prepared to leave for his first wife’s residence in Tudor shortly after 9 pm.

Mwatsahu, 60, is said to have walked downstairs and headed to the parking area where he handed over a bag of shopping to his wife before driving off.

The politician’s second wife, Mildred Odinga, told journalists she received a phone call 30 minutes later informing her that her husband’s vehicle had been sprayed with bullets at the JCC roundabout between Buxton and Tudor area.

“Immediately, I tried calling him but I couldn’t reach him. I decided to get a boda boda to take me to the scene but on arrival at the scene, my husband was not there. I was told that he had been rushed to hospital,” said Odinga.

Mwatsahu’s vehicle was reportedly riddled with 24 bullet holes after the unidentified gunmen, who were said to have been driving in two vehicles, opened fire at him in what appeared to be an assassination attempt.

Stable condition

The father of two sons and two daughters sustained multiple fractures in his right arm and limbs following the attack and was rushed to Aga Khan Hospital by a tuk-tuk motorist who was passing by.

According to a police report, Mwatsahu, who was driving a white Toyota Vanguard, was trailed by unknown people driving in a silver car.

The report added that following the attack, he sustained extensive fractures in the arm after suffering multiple gunshots in the lower abdomen and two gunshots in the rear side of the body and was rushed to Aga Khan Hospital. It added that he was in stable condition.

Mwatsahu’s wife said the attackers seemed so determined to kill her husband, saying they pursued him to the hospital and fired several shots outside the facility.

“It appears the attackers were determined to ensure he was dead because when we arrived at the hospital, we had bursts of gunfire as he was being wheeled to theatre. My husband needs protection. Security must be beefed up at this hospital such that whoever walks or drives in is thoroughly screened,” Odinga told journalists at the hospital.

We could not independently authenticate the allegations as both the police and the hospital’s authorities would not be drawn into commenting on the matter.

Odinga said reports of Computed Tomography (CT) scan and X-ray performed on the politician had established that more than 20 bullets were pumped into his body.

She said a total of 17 bullets were successfully removed from the body at around 1.30am while more were still lodged in his stomach. “Two surgeries have been performed to treat the fractures he sustained. The first one was completed at 4.30am while the second one was competed at 9.30am,” she said, adding that medics were expected to perform more procedures.

We could not, however, independently corroborate information on the number of bullets fired at the politician.

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) leadership in Mombasa blamed the attack on politics.

UDA coordinator in Mombasa, former Senator Hassan Omar, called for thorough investigations into the shooting, saying those behind the attack must be identified and made to face the full force of the law.

“I managed to talk to him before he went into theatre for surgery and he informed me that his rivals had got him, it is a political matter,” Omar claimed.

But reacting to the matter, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i cautioned politicians against giving “baseless allegations” without facts, saying police had opened investigations into the incident.

“There is a forensic investigation ongoing. Let us allow our officers to do their work. Let them complete investigations and give a conclusive report,” said Matiang’i, who spoke in Mombasa.

Coast regional Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss Washington Njiru said police were yet to establish the motive of the attack, adding that investigations had been launched.

The incident comes barely three days after a civic aspirant in Kisii County was hacked to death at his residence in Bobasi constituency.

Yesterday, residents of Gesabakwa village, Bomachoge Borabu constituency blocked the Kisii-Kilgoris highway protesting the killing of Bombaba Borabu ward aspirant Thomas Okari Ontweka on Monday.

Transport on the highway and business at Getumo and Mogonga markets were paralysed as the protesters demanded the arrest of those behind the murder.

Evans Kimori, a Bomachoge Borabu parliamentary aspirant, who led the protests, said, Okari, 38, was a promising young man from his Igorera area and urged top Azimio leaders to intervene, claiming the killing was politically motivated.

Okari was contesting the seat under the ODM party ticket. “Okari, also known as Sundowner, was a star. He was a husband, a father and a great man. We demand an expeditious investigations and justice for his family,” Kimori said, adding that his life was also in danger.

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