Babu Owino, Steve Mbogo arrested
Police on Thursday afternoon arrested Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino, Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang and former Starehe parliamentary aspirant Steve Mbogo.
The three opposition allied politicians were apprehended under unclear circumstances on Ngong Road while heading to Kibera for a rally convened by the National Super Alliance (NASA). They were taken to Kilimani Police Station.
Mbogo’s personal assistant, David Mwangi, told Citizen Digital that the three were arrested for contravening a police order, which prohibited Opposition leaders from holding a public rally in Nairobi.
“The police attached to Kilimani post have told us that they apprehended the three for defying a lawful order. They were arrested before accessing Kamukunji Grounds in Kibera. Other NASA leaders, who were with them such as Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris, her Homa Bay counterpart Gladys Wanga, Siaya Senator James Orengo among others were swiftly whisked into their cars, which saw them avoid arrest,” said Mr Mwangi.
“We are currently at the police station, and we have not been allowed to see them. James Orengo among other NASA leaders are also here with us, trying to see what we can do to ensure they are released from custody,” added Mr Mwangi at 5:30pm Thursday.
Police had earlier cancelled and announced that Kamukunji grounds in Kibera had been sealed off but the politicians vowed to go ahead with their rally.
The arrest came hours after police blocked NASA leaders from holding a press briefing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and a rally at the historic Kamukunji grounds in Shauri Moyo, forcing the opposition leaders to move the rally to Kibra.
NASA politicians at the airport included Siaya Senator James Orengo, MP Babu Owino, former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, Woman Representatives Gladys Wanga, Esther Passaris and former Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale.
Police also ordered journalists who had gone to cover the NASA press conference to leave JKIA, saying they will not allow a media briefing at the airport.
On Wednesday, police declared JKIA out of bounds to opposition supporters who were planning to match to the airport on Friday to welcome NASA leader Raila Odinga back to the country. Odinga will be flying back after a one-week trip to the United States and United Kingdom.
“The attention of the police has been drawn to reports that some politicians are mobilising crowds to march to JKIA to receive Hon. Raila Odinga. JKIA is a protected area hence access is open to bonafide travelers and all others with legitimate business at the airport who must at all times be subjected to the standard security procedures,” read a statement from Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet.
Still on Wednesday, Nairobi Police Commander Japheth Koome banned the NASA coalition from holding a public rally in the capital saying it would interfere with the ongoing Form 4 national exams.
“The decision to ban the rally was informed by a request by the Kenya National Examinations Council not to allow public events or meetings in the vicinity of schools. Therefore, planned Nasa rally is not permitted,” said Mr Koome.
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