Lugari MP Ayub Savula has accused police of harassing him after they whisked him away from Sabatia trading centre in Butere Sub-county on Sunday morning.
The MP was taken away while fuelling his vehicle at a petrol station for reportedly flouting Covid-19 regulations on public gatherings.
This happened after a crowd surged at the petrol station on noticing the MP, who was accompanying ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula to a meeting at Nambale MP John Bunyasi’s home.
Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula had already proceeded to Nambale at the time of the incident.
The MP was taken to Mumias Police station and released later.
Shortly after his release, Mr Savula said: “I had stopped at the petrol station to have my vehicle fuelled before proceeding to Busia when the crowd at the market noticed me and surrounded my vehicle.
“Before I could pay for the fuel, police officers arrived and accused me of addressing the crowd. They said I had contravened the Ministry of Health guidelines on Covid-19 and asked me to accompany them to Mumias Police Station.”
The MP spent close to an hour at the police station as word spread about his arrest. His supporters gathered at the station and demanded his release.
However, Western Region Police Commander Peris Kimani said Mr Savula had not been arrested but was instead led to the police station following a commotion at the petrol station.
“I have spoken to the MP and he is a free man. He is actually on his way to Busia,” said Ms Kimani.
But Mr Savula said police warned him of dire consequences for failing to observe the Covid-19 guidelines.
“This amounts to unnecessary harassment by the officers, who look in the opposite direction when government officials flagrantly flout the law by convening meetings and addressing large crowds. This is unacceptable,” said Mr Savula.
But Ms Kimani insisted that the officers had stepped in to offer protection to the MP as the crowds were surging towards him, demanding handouts.
The incident comes at a time when Mr Mudavadi has kicked off a series of campaign meetings in the vote-rich Western region ahead of the presidential polls in 2022.
He has ruled out the possibility of joining the government that President Uhuru Kenyatta is crafting following his handshake with Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga to accommodate all regions , saying he is focused on the presidency..
The ANC leader is currently meeting elders from the Luhya community to chart a new path for his presidential bid.
Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula have dismissed a series of meeting convened by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya in the last one month to address the region’s development needs as a waste of time.
They said residents are being hoodwinked about plans by the government to revive stalled projects in the region yet no allocations have been made in the budget.