Petitioner links hotel fire to Kwale politics
Property valued at over Sh 8million has been destroyed by a fierce fire which razed to the ground Mwachale Beach hotel belonging to a voter who has gone to court to challenge the election of Kwale County Governor Mr. Salim Mvurya.
The property owner Mr. Mwamlole Tchappu, a cousin to gubernatorial race loser Mr. Chirau Ali Mwakwere, claimed the fire was an act of arson and may have been politically motivated following the petition filed last week at the Mombasa High Court.
The petitioner who said he is a staunch Nasa supporter, is challenging the election of Mr. Mvurya, claiming the polls were marred with massive irregularities and non-compliance with the constitution.
The facility, which was the first ever fully-fledged tourist class hotel in Kwale town, was reduced to a rubble by the weekend fire, a year after it opened its doors to the public.
“I cannot rule out politics in this fire, coming shortly after filing the petition. I am however not blaming the fire on my opponents, but I cannot rule out politics. I am not saying it is Mr. Mvurya, but it is political,” said Mr. Tachappu.
However, no casualties were reported in the inferno, whose cause was not immediately known, but police have since launched investigations.
Mr. Tchappu said he had already recorded a statement with the police, even as he claimed his life was in danger, since he had started receiving death threats from unknown people.
The blaze destroyed the entire hotel, furniture and musical instruments, according to Mr. Tchappu, who is also a singer and founder of Deep Sea Modern Taarabu Band.
“I have lost my only source of livelihood, not to mention the plight of 30 workers who have been rendered jobless by this fire,” said the distraught hotelier.
He said the accident comes at a time he had successfully negotiated a deal with a strategic partner to expand the hotel to include boarding and lodging facilities.
The fire is a big blow to the tourism sector as it has come at a time when hotels at the Coast are reaping big from July-December high season.
By James Muchai