Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was once again prevented from accessing the VIP lounges at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Raila had just arrived from Kisumu, and was to catch a connecting flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. Reportedly, when airport officials learned of his arrival, they vanished so that Raila could not access VIP III lounge – the one KAA said he is free to use. This forced the former premier to drive into a hotel along Mombasa road, where he freshened up and prepared for his night flight.
“Yes, the PM was humiliated again when he arrived from Kisumu,” said Mr Eliud Owallo an aide to Mr Odinga. “We found the VIP III Lounge closed. Even all the other VIP areas were inaccessible as officials disappeared after they were notified that Mr Odinga was expected.”
“After KAA clarified that Mr Odinga is free to use the VIP facilities at the airport we thought this matter was done with. But we were shocked when every VIP lounge was inaccessible for us,” said another of Mr Odinga’s aides. “In fact one of the officials attempted to search Mzee’s briefcase, which contained his personal effects. We thought that was an insult.”
Capital FM is reporting that Raila was finally forced to use the entrance reserved for international departures and he had to remove his belt just like any other passenger.
ODM’s Phillip Etale further accused KAA and government spokesman Muthui Kariuki of misleading Kenyans that Raila wanted his convoy at the airside. He said that was a PR gimmick.
“That is a lie because Raila has never wanted to use the presidential pavilion because he knows it is reserved for the president. His convoy has never been to the airside. Our drivers always wait outside the VIP lounge.”
Surprisingly, when Raila landed in South Africa, he was received with full honours of a VIP. Not only was he allowed to use the VIP lounge, but was also accorded state security.