A snake appeared a few metres from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s seat at the Kisumu State Lodge on Tuesday, sparking several minutes of terror.
The incident happened about 10 minutes before Mr Kenyatta arrived at the State Lodge, where he was to preside over the national drama festival gala.
Leaders including Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and nominated Senator Joy Gwendo, other dignitaries and reporters scampered for safety as the President’s security men used clubs and twigs to kill the green mamba.
The snake was killed at 12.22pm. At 12.25pm, President Kenyatta was addressing a crowd on Oginga Odinga Street, where residents had lined up to receive him.
His speech lasted about seven minutes, before his motorcade snaked its way to the State Lodge.
The snake was on a pole with a climbing plant on it, providing perfect camouflage for the reptile.
The pole stood barely five metres from the seats reserved for the President, Education minister Fred Matiang’i and Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma.
Security officers hit the snake several times, paralysing it and reducing the tension it had caused for guests waiting for the President. The snake was later killed.
The Kisumu State Lodge has been lying unused for years.
The President’s residence, surrounded by trees and bushes, is located in Kisumu’s leafy suburb of Milimani Estate.
The building is adjacent to Lake Victoria, parts of which are currently covered by water hyacinth. The weed is also a breeding ground for snakes and other harmful animals.