What you need to know:
- Asked to plead to the first count of “beating Raila Amolo Odinga and causing him bodily harm”, Mr Mdzomba asked for one week to apologise to the people he had assaulted.
- When the second count of assaulting Mr Mvurya was read, Mr Mdzomba appeared surprised and wondered aloud why it was a separate charge.
The man who caused a scare by hitting Cord leader Raila Odinga with a walking stick can now be named — he is Mr Lengo Karisa Mdzomba, a labourer.
Mr Mdzomba appeared before a Kwale court on Tuesday and was charged with causing bodily harm to Mr Odinga and Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya at an Okoa Kenya rally in Kinango.
He was also charged with creating a disturbance at Baraza Park in the same town.
Dressed in a dark blue shirt, grey khaki shorts and green bathroom slippers, Mr Mdzomba looked subdued and walked with a limp.
His employers described him as a poor, disabled old man who wouldn’t harm a fly.
However, he showed quite some spirit in court exchanges. Mr Mdzomba finally pleaded guilty to three charges, but not before putting up an argument and losing his cool when he was required to take a plea at 4.30pm.
Asked to plead to the first count of “beating Raila Amolo Odinga and causing him bodily harm”, Mr Mdzomba asked for one week to apologise to the people he had assaulted.
At this point, he was cut short by the court clerk, who instructed him to take the plea.
“I admit guilt because I don’t want to bother the court,” he said, adding that after all, the matter was already in the media.
He said he also wanted more time before taking the plea so that he could consult with his relatives “who live far away”.
When the second count of assaulting Mr Mvurya was read, Mr Mdzomba, who comes from Kaloleni in Kilifi County, appeared surprised and wondered aloud why it was a separate charge.
“I don’t understand why there are two charges.”
He pleaded guilty all the same.
To the charge of causing a disturbance, an irritated Mr Mdzomba snapped: “I am only admitting guilt because I do not want to bother the court.”
The magistrate ruled that the case be mentioned on October 14 to give prosecutor George Mungai time to communicate with Mr Odinga and Mr Mvurya.
The officer said he needed two weeks to compile a full report that would include P3 forms, which he hoped the two leaders will have filled.
When he was informed of the court’s ruling, a resigned Mr Mdzomba appeared to say something, then changed his mind and just nodded his head in affirmation.
Mr Mdzomba was detained at Kinango Police Station after his arrest.
His employer and neighbours at Dzitenge in Kinango Town described him as a humble, polite, reserved and respectful fellow.
Police gave Mr Mdzomba’s age as 40 years and his home as Kilifi County. He has been working for three years as a labourer for the family of Mrs Nasim Issa.
The family only had kind words about the man they described as sane, respectful, dignified and a teetotaller.
“He worked for us for a year as a young man before he returned (to his) home in Kilifi only to emerge about three months ago asking that we accommodate him as he looked for his relative, who he said works at Kinango Hospital,” Mrs Issa, 60, told the Nation at her home.
She said the family later decided to employ him as a servant and he had been taking care of Mrs Issa’s 90-year-old mother, who is ailing.
“I have known him to be a very polite person,” the elderly woman said. “He is very respectful and does not drink or smoke. Neither does he have mental problems that I know of.”
DID NOT LIKE WHAT HE HEARD
Explaining the incident that has thrown the haggard-looking man into the national limelight, Mrs Issa said she was shocked to learn from neighbours and television reports that Mr Mdzomba had actually attended the Okoa Kenya campaign rally at Kinango market and attacked Mr Odinga.
“I met him around noon seated outside the room where he sleeps,” she recalled. “I asked him, ‘Wewe huendi kwenye mkutano waCord?’ (Are you not attending the Cord rally?)”.
She said he responded that he had already made an appearance at the meeting and did not like what he had heard.
She quoted him as saying: “Wanasema wanataka kuokoaKenya,lakiniKenyaimeshaokolewa. Wanataka kuokoa nini? Wanaoendelea kuteseka ni wananchi. (They say they want to save Kenya, yet Kenya is already free; what do they want to free? The ordinary people are the ones suffering).”
Mrs Issa said he singled out hunger, disease and poor services from doctors “who are yet to be paid their salaries” as some of the afflictions “killing the people”.
She said the man did not give any sign that he had been involved in a security scare. But, she added, he appeared bitter.
“I got to hear the news at the shops in the evening, but did not believe it until this morning when I was summoned by the assistant chief to appear before the police and the deputy regional commissioner,” she said.