A Kenyan and Italian investor were yesterday blocked from accessing their alleged Sh1 billion hotel in Watamu. The management is disputing a court judgment allowing the two to take over the property.
Isaac Rodrot and Stefanno Uccelli were barred from accessing the resort by community members, staff and the management. They went to the hotel with a contingent of security personnel led by the Malindi police chief Matawa Muchangi.
The management of the hotel under Hans Jurgen Langer, a German investor, got information that the two were going to the hotel to officially take it over. All the workers, some community members and elders from Watamu ganged up and blocked the access to the hotel. Two vehicles were packed at the gate as the workers armed with rungus, stones and bows and arrows kept guard at the entrance.
Tyres were lit outside to stop the rival group from accessing the hotel. On the contrary, the duo’s security personnel remained calm. They included officers from regular police, AP, Rapid Deployment Unit, and those from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
They were unsuccessful in getting the workers to leave the gate.
Muchangi asked hotel operations manager Mumba Ngundi to order the workers out of the way, but after a brief talk he went away, saying the matter will be sorted out by lawyers of both parties.
Uccelli could be seen with the police taking pictures of the rowdy crowd who blocked the way. Rodrot did not come near the drama.
After about an hour, the security personnel decided to retreat. The Malindi police chief ordered the officers back, saying they had done their work and the rest would be dealt with by the courts.
Earlier the police and both parties spent more than eight hours at Watamu police station, trying to reach an agreement on the matter. The current management claimed Rodrot and Uccelli had no orders to take over the hotel. They did not agree and police escorted Rodrot and Uccelli to the hotel.
This is not the first time confrontation and drama ensues at the hotel. Since 2010 there have been multiple court battles over the hotel ownership.
In 2015 Nairobi Senator, now Governor Mike Sonko and his wife Primrose Mwelu Nyamu were accused of colluding with Rodrot to take over the hotel.