Former Assistant Minister MP Raphael Wanjala jetted back into the country after six months in an Indian jail. And the former Budalang’i MP said he was happy to be back home. Yesterday Wanjala arrived alone, leaving behind his girlfriend and businesswoman Joyce Akinyi in Entebe, Uganda. But he said she was to arrive at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) last night.
“I am very happy to be back home. I have learnt many things out there and I will share with you later,” he said. Dressed in a cream suit, a gold neck chain and black shoes, the excited former legislator arrived at JKIA at around 4pm.
A handful of supporters welcomed him and escorted him to his car. The crowd mobbed him as he stepped out of the lounge with some hugging and kissing him. Others encouraged photographers to take his pictures and publish them.
He told journalists his experience outside Kenya was bad, adding he felt unwell.
“Home is best and I am happy because I am here. I am feeling unwell may be because of change of weather,” he said.
Mr Wanjala said Akinyi remained in Entebbe because her flight had been delayed and would travel by road.
He, however, did not want to discuss much on their relationship, as he rolled up his car window and sped off.There was anxiety at the airport as journalists waited for their arrival. The two left India on Saturday and landed in Entebbe, where they spent the night before connecting to Nairobi. And even as he arrived, Wanjala will be headed to the courts where he faces a criminal offence. A warrant of arrest has been issued against him, but police did not arrest him.
It is also not clear under which circumstances the two were allowed to leave India, where they were arrested in October with undeclared Sh7.5 million. They had left Kenya through Uganda and entered India from Dubai, carrying the money in US dollars.
The two were held at Tihar Prison as New Delhi revenue intelligence investigated any link between the cash and illegal business. They were, however, released on Sh600,000 bail each, following intervention by Kenyan authorities. But they also needed more than Sh240,000 legal fee, and Wanjala’s family made efforts to raise the money. According to Indian laws, more than Sh375,000 must be declared on entry and certificate issued.
In Nairobi, a criminal trial awaits Wanjala for allegedly assaulting a journalist. The case pending has been adjourned several times.
And Akinyi has a divorce suit pending in court between her and her Nigerian husband Anthony Chinedu.
The two have a legal battle over multi-million shilling estate and the custody of their children.
On Saturday, curious Kenyans who turned up at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to get a glimpse of the two got a rude shock when the couple failed to show up.
Hordes of journalists, their cameras ready for action to capture the dramatic arrival, waited with bated breath at the International Arrivals terminal when the Emirates plane from Dubai that was reportedly carrying the couple touched down at 3.50pm.
But hope for great photos faded when minutes turned into an hour without any trace of the couple and word filtered in that Wanjala and his sweetheart could have avoided coming through Nairobi.
Cyrus Ombati, The Standard (Kenya) 30 March 2009,