A middle-aged man who caned ODM leader Raila Odinga in 2014 while he was dancing with women at an Okoa Kenya rally in Kwale claims he was not in his right mind that day and that it was an evil spirit that drove him to whip one of Kenya’s senior-most politicians.
On September 29, 2014, Lengo Karisa shocked Kenyans when he leapt up and lashed at Raila and Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya with his walking stick before he was whisked away by security personnel.
The 58-year-old senior bachelor who has been in hiding for the last six years in Kilifi confessed that he does not understand what pushed him to assault Raila and Mvurya like the primary school headmasters of old.
Karisa who had just returned from Tanzania where he had been living and working for 32 years says he found himself next to Raila who was shaking a leg with local traditional women dancers. And without any provocation, he explains, he found himself whipping Raila on the back.
Speaking from his hideout, Karisa dismissed speculation that he attacked Raila because he was dancing with his woman or that he had not received handouts that are usually palmed out to wanachi at political rallies.
Saying he regrets the incident to date, Karisa also denied claims that he was sent by enemies of ODM to spoil the rally.
“Rumours that I hit Raila because he danced with my woman or because I was not given money are false. I was not sent to disrupt the rally,” said Karisa.
Karisa told The Nairobian that on that day, he experienced a serious headache that made him dizzy and that all he remembers is waking up in police custody.
“I don’t know what came over me. I was not in the right state of mind. The earth was spinning under me. It was like I was possessed by some evil spirits. All I remember was feeling dizzy and then waking up in a police cell,” said Karisa.
Karisa explained that he had visited his former boss at Kinango and had stayed with him for 45 days when ODM held the Okoa Kenya campaign rally.
“After returning from Tanzania where I had spent 33 years, I went to visit my former boss in Kinango and they welcomed me to stay for as long as I wished. After a month and a half, I heard that ODM was holding a rally in the neighbourhood. I accompanied my friends to the rally and that is when it all happened,” said Karisa.
Karisa said that after the incident, he woke up in a police station and was later arraigned in court. But he was released when Raila and Mvurya forgave him and refused to press charges. Muslim for Human Rights (MUHURI) however whisked him into hiding after angry ODM supporters tried to beat him up.
He said that his life has been tough because even his own kin denounced him for “bringing shame to the family”. He added that that he is mocked by friends and kin him who believe his actions were triggered because he had boozed and smoked bhang which, combined with Kinango’s hot sun made him go cuckoo.
Perhaps not aware that Raila, in his characteristic manner, forgave him ages ago, Karisa wants to meet the ODM leader and shake his hand as a gesture that he has been forgiven so that he can live without fear of being “disciplined” by Raila supporters.
Karisa said that he has not yet married because he has no money and Kenya is expensive more than in Tanzania. Besides, he is yet to find a beautiful woman.
“You know in Tanzania there are many beautiful women and I had a lot of money to spend. I could make up to Tsh3 million,” said Karisa.
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