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Jubilee says sorry to Raila Odinga over VIP saga

Friday, June 07, 2013

Majority Leader Adan Duale has apologised for humiliation former Prime Minister Raila Odinga faced at the hands of airport officials.

Duale said the former PM has un-restricted, unlimited and unconditional access to VIP lounges in all airports in the country.

“We respect our leaders, whether it is the former Prime Minister, vice-presidents or Cabinet ministers,” he stated. He noted currently, the State pavilion is restricted for President Uhuru Kenyatta and Heads of States while the VIP 3 Lounge is for vice-presidents, visiting prime ministers and former Heads of States.

Duale further noted that VIP 2 Lounge is for Cabinet Secretaries and Heads of Diplomatic Missions, among other dignitaries.

He said the former Prime Minister, while at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) had requested for VIP 2 Lounge, after which he opted for domestic departure. “Access for vehicles in these areas is very restricted,” he pointed out.

The Majority Leader warned failure by JKIA to adhere to international standards would see the facility blacklisted and downgraded.

Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo, who had requested a statement concerning the matter, said Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt receives VIP treatment at the airport but Kenyans who have achieved similar feats get nothing.

“We have David Rudisha, who according to me has achieved much more,” he explained.

Mr Gumbo said Raila deserves respect but some people in the Jubilee government are “excited and are behaving as if they are drunk with power.”


Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu said the happenings at JKIA indicate a lot needs to be done at the country’s airports and named Mombasa International Airport as the worst.

Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno noted the former Prime Minister served under unique circumstances in the previous Government and should be treated better.

“Why is the Government refusing to recognise the former Prime Minister’s uniqueness,” he posed.

Nairobi County Women Representative Rachael Shebesh said there seems to be a plot by Raila’s allies to have him access VIP 3, which according to her he cannot. Suba MP John Mbadi asked Duale to rein in on Secretary to Cabinet Francis Kimemia, whom he accused of being behind Raila’s woes.

“Kimemia should respect Raila. It is sad that Raila who has done so much for this country is made to use the same lounge as me,” he added.

Duale promised to convey the message of MPs to the Government. “Under the Jubilee government, you will not see the Artur brothers or Ocampo being given a red carpet,” he added.

He, however, absolved Kimemia from blame claiming he was not in-charge of Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) thus his name should not be invoked in the discussion.

“Let us not bring personal issues here,” he added. Duale further revealed that KAA will set up a commercial lounge in Unit Three at JKIA that will be used by VIP’s. Gumbo sought a statement from Majority Chief Whip Katoo ole Metito on whether Government was determined to humiliate the former PM.


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