Senate sitting suspended after Senator Linturi arrested ahead of BBI debate


A heated argument ensued in the Senate on Wednesday afternoon after reports emerged that Meru Senator Mithika Linturi had been arrested ahead of a Special Sitting where senators were set to debate the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill.

The reports on the alleged arrest were brought to the House by Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, who said he had received a call from Linturi informing him that he had been apprehended by officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

“Mr. Speaker I want to bring to your attention something which will require your direction. I received a call from one of our colleagues; Senator Mithika Linturi… This afternoon on his way to Parliament he was stopped by gentlemen who claimed to be DCI officers. They asked him to alight his car and right now he is in a car headed to the DCI…,” said Cheruiyot.

“I’d wish to know whether you know why Senator Linturi was arrested and if you are not aware, how do we proceed knowing we are about to enter that season where colleagues had to be picked one by one.”

Other legislators including Senators James Orengo, George Khaniri, Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, Susan Kihika among others weighed in on the matter demanding the indulgence of the Speaker.

“Mr. Speaker if we let this continue, one of these days policemen will come into the Chamber not just to arrest Linturi but to arrest the Speaker…,” said Orengo.

“Mr. Speaker, this matter is so serious. If Senator Linturi has been arrested in the course of duty, we should all leave this chamber. It is not fair,” added Kilonzo.

Senator Khaniri said: “As a Senate we must protest. Some of us will not participate in this debate unless it is explained what has happened to our colleague.”

While Senator Kimani Wa Matangi shortly later told the House that he had received a call informing him that Senator Linturi had been released, Senator Kihika insisted that Linturi was still in custody.

This forced the Speaker to adjourn the session for 30 minutes to inquire on the circumstances surrounding the arrest in order to bring order to the House.

“This is very serious and because of the gravity of the matter, I am suspending the House for 30 minutes during which time I will use to find out what exactly has happened. And even after we find out, I want to direct the committee on National Security to get into this matter as a deterrent so that this does not happen to any other member,” said Lusaka.

It’s not clear whether Linturi was apprehended over his stand on the BBI.

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