I would like to register my disappointment with the mistreatment and humiliation that I went through last night in the hands of the staff of the Kenya Airways, the national carrier as travelled to Mombasa on Parliamentary business.
I was in the company of the Speakers of the two houses of parliament Hons. Ekwee Ethuro of the Senate and Justin Muturi of the National Assembly and a host of other parliamentary colleagues when the aircraft we had boarded for Mombasa was grounded and everyone evacuated on what the airline staff claimed was a security threat.
They further announced that I should be ejected from the plane on grounds that I had not produced my National Identification Card before boarding.
I explained to the airline staff that I forgot to pick my ID card from the travel bag which my driver and security officer had driven with to Mombasa ahead of me. When they insisted, I produced my KQ Frequent Flier Platinum Card which bares my name, my parliamentary medical card which has my photo and all the five bank credit cards just to prove that it was me, but none of them could here this.
The two speakers stepped in and pleaded with them telling that I am the Senate Minority Leader and was accompanying them to the Senate Leadership retreat in Mombasa which began today but they could not listen to the two parliamentary leaders.
My colleagues Senators Mutahi Kagwe, Peter Mositet, Wilfred Machage and Daizy Kanainza alongside National Assembly Members Gonzi Rai (Kinango) and Rashid Bedzimba (Kisauni) and Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Mr. Alex Ole Magelo also stepped in to persuade them to allow me in saying that I was their colleague, but the staff remained intransigent.
It is at this juncture that the airline’s intransigent, discourteous and rude staff ordered all the passengers on board to disembark from the plane including the Speakers who head an arm of Government. Even one of the two pilots of the plane pleaded with the ground team saying that he knew me in person and that he went to the same university in South Africa with my daughter and my son in-law, but he was overruled. Passengers too came to my defense, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
After a three hour stand-off, we were all asked to board the plane again and departed for Mombasa at 2350 hours, a flight which had been scheduled to take off at 2050 hours.
I believe this is a plot by travel authorities to embarrass and humiliate leaders especially those in opposition and subject them to unnecessary psychological and emotional torture in public.
Two months ago, CORD leader Mr. Raila Odinga was denied access to the VIP section of the Wilson Airport as he led a team of the coalition leaders to a tour of Taita Taveta County. Together with Senators Muthama and I and other leaders, he watched as the airport staff locked up the door to the lounge and kept the key.
The humiliation and embarrassment I was subjected to at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport last night in the presence of the two Speakers did not augur well with my colleagues present who have vowed to move a motion of adjournment next Tuesday to discuss the misconduct of the KQ staff and decide on any future engagement with the national carrier which enjoys a monopoly of travel services with the two Houses of Parliament.
I want to make to make it clear that I have been a member of parliament since 1993 to date and held several cabinet portfolios for ten years including Foreign Affairs docket which I served diligently. I have flown with Kenya Airways all through both locally and internationally to the extent of acquiring the Frequent Flier’s Platinum status. I feel offended and demand an apology from the national carrier for their mistreatment last night.
Sen. Moses Wetang’ula
Senator Bungoma County and Senate Minority Leader.