ODM leader Raila Odinga has denied meeting some of the Coast leaders who are in quarantine after interacting with Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, who tested positive for coronavirus.
Mr Odinga spent the better part of last week in Mombasa, where he met the county’s Deputy Governor William Kingi, businessman Suleiman Shahbal, among others.
It is Mr Shahbal who raised alarm that Mr Odinga met with Mr Saburi a day before he met him.
Mr Shahbal met Mr Odinga on March 18, a day before the ODM leader travelled to Nairobi and visited Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju, who had also been visited by among other leaders Deputy President William Ruto.
On Monday, Mr Shahbal edited his Facebook post, saying he had confirmed that Mr Odinga did not meet Mr Saburi.
“There are rumours that he (Saburi) met with Hon. Raila the day before I met the ODM leader. I have been reliably informed that Hon Raila did not meet Kilifi deputy governor. He met the deputy governor of Mombasa,” wrote Mr Shabal.
In a statement sent to newsrooms by his spokesperson Dennis Onyango, Mr Odinga said he only met Mr Kingi and not ‘any other leader from the coastal counties or their deputies.’
“During the Mombasa visit, Mr Odinga did not meet with any of the leaders of Coastal counties or their deputies except Kingi. Mr Odinga appeals to the public to treat reports indicating otherwise as lies and malice,” reads the statement. Mr Onyango further termed the rumours “as the work of people who have failed to comprehend the magnitude of the challenge the nation is facing and instead find pleasure in abusing social media platforms to spread misinformation to cause fear and panic, a trend the State must arrest urgently”.
The statement, however, remains silent on the meeting with Mr Shabal, who has since gone into self-isolation after coming into contact with Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi.
Mr Onyango said Mr Odinga has been strictly complying with the directives issued by the government since the first case of coronavirus was reported in the country on March 13.
“He has suspended travels outside the country, public gatherings and meetings. Mr Odinga has been operating mostly from home while transacting official business online,” he said.
Mr Onyango said the ODM leader has since suspended operations at his Capitol Hill offices.
“Upon suspending physical operations of his offices, and in order to minimise crowding, Mr Odinga made a low-key visit to Mombasa mid-last week for a few days of rest, where he stayed in his house,” he said.