Kenyan lawmaker shot dead in Nairobi

NAIROBI, Feb 7  – A Kenyan lawmaker was shot dead in the capital early on Saturday, in an incident likely to increase pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government over insecurity in the east African nation.

Frequent attacks blamed on militant Islamists hammered Kenya’s tourism industry last year as potential visitors cancelled bookings, leading to a shortage of hard currency inflows.

Nairobi, which serves as the regional headquarters for many international organisations such as the United Nations, is also dogged by violent crimes including robbery and murder.

Paul Wanjama, head of the central police station in Nairobi, told Reuters the parliamentarian for Kabete constituency, George Muchai, had been gunned down with his two bodyguards and a driver in the city shortly before 3 a.m. local time.

He said police were investigating the shooting of Muchai, who was also an official in Kenya’s central organisation of trade unions.

A police source said a masked gunman had shot Muchai when his car stopped on a main street for him to buy a newspaper.

Hailing Muchai as a “diligent gentleman” and a true servant of the people, President Kenyatta said in a statement: “I expect the police to mobilise all resources to ensure the criminals who murdered Honourable Muchai, his two bodyguards and driver are speedily apprehended and made to pay.”

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said the death showed the government was failing to uphold the rule of law.

“Our country is bleeding and an atmosphere of fear and hopelessness is spreading from the unresolved murders and deaths,” he said in a statement.