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Didmus Barasa: Victim of circumstance or master of controversy? – VIDEOS

Kilimili Member of Parliament Didmus Barasa, who is currently in police custody in connection to the fatal shooting of his political opponent’s aide, is no stranger to controversy.

While the shooting incident has certainly dampened his reelection as the area MP, Mr Barasa has on numerous occasions rubbed his foes and the authorities the wrong way.

Here are four such incidents:

1. Kimilili fatal shooting – The incident which took place at Chebukhwabi Primary School in Kibingei ward left one Brian Olunga dead with the authorities saying Mr Barasa pulled the trigger. The deceased was an aide to Barasa’s main opponent Brian Khaemba. Although Mr Barasa has since been declared the winner in Kimilili parliamentary contest, the incident will without doubt weigh him down in the coming days, weeks or even months.

After the Tuesday night incident, Mr Barasa, who is an ardent supporter of Deputy President William Ruto, went into hiding before surrendering himself to the police on Friday. He was immediately taken into custody.

Mr Barasa claims the deceased was part of a hit squad deployed from Nairobi and was killed by a stray bullet while the MP’s lawyer Dr John Khaminwa said Barasa has been branded a murderer without due process being followed thus prejudicing his right to fair trial.

2. Slapping incident – The MP was once caught on camera appearing to slap a contractor during a function in his constituency where he was launching newly-built classrooms. The contractor, identified as Stephen Masinde, claimed the MP had refused to pay for the services and their calls often went unanswered prompting him to lock up the classrooms.

In response, Barasa claimed he never assaulted the contractor. He said he only attempted to ask the contractor to zip up his trousers.

“Since he is my friend, I thought he had gone for a short call and failed to zip up his trouser… when I approached him, he started running away thinking that I was going to beat him,” Mr Barasa said.

3. Army rank controversy – Mr Barasa was once accused of impersonation after he claimed to be a retired captain of the Kenya Air Force. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said the lawmaker was misusing the military title ‘captain’ since investigations had established that he never attained that rank during his service in the military between 2007 and 2009. According to EACC, Mr Barasa left the military at the rank of a private after he was dismissed in 2009.

4. Loss of his trademark hat – In 2019, Mr Barasa lost his trademark hat under comical circumstances during a campaign rally ahead of the Kibra by-election following death of then area MP Ken Okoth. The incident happened during a confrontation between Jubilee and ODM supporters that forced Mr Barasa flee after being roughed up by rowdy youths.

Suna East MP Junet Mohammed would later show up at a thanksgiving event attended by ODM party leader Raila Odinga, among other party bosses, wearing a hat similar to the one that Barasa had lost. Mr Mohammed jokingly said he stumbled on the “strange hat” in Baba’s homestead (Kibra) and that he had taken possession of it. He said he wasn’t going to return the hat to whoever it belonged.