Kenya: Ruaraka MP Arrested For Participation In Illegal Assembly, As 3 TV Stations Remain Shut

Ruaraka MP
Ruaraka Member of Parliament Tom Joseph Kajwang’ at Uhuru Park


By Iliya Kure

Member of Parliament representing Ruaraka Constituency, Tom Joseph Kajwang, has been arrested and is expected to be charged in court for participation in illegal assembly and administering an illegal oath on Raila Odinga as People’s President.

Reports say, he spent his night at the Kiambu cells after his arrest on Wednesday at Milimani Law Courts and taken to the DCI headquarters for questioning.

His colleagues however say the charges are fake.

The legislator was visibly seen standing behind Mr. Odinga, wearing lawyer’s robe and wig, during the event held at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, but his role in the exercise remains unclear.

He is expected to be charged Thursday morning. He was driven to the court precincts at 6 am under tight security.

His brother and Homa Bay senator Moses Kajwang said TJ had been moved to Milimani Law Courts after a night of hide and seek with the authorities.

“Charge sheet: attending an illegal assembly and administering an illegal oath. Let them arrest everyone who was at Uhuru Park. Justice for our CJ,” said the senator.

As Mr Odinga took the oath, Mr Kajwang’ stood right behind him,


TV Stations Remain Shut

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i said the three of biggest television stations will remain off-air until further notice, in relation to broadcast of the opposition leader’s “inauguration” in Nairobi.

Citizen TV live streamed the event on its website, and on YouTube and Facebook. As a result, NTV, KTN and Citizen TV were shutdown at about 09:10am local time.

Speaking with journalists on Wednesday, Mr Matiang’i said, “we have commenced investigations targeting individuals. Media houses will remain closed until we complete investigations.”

The Ministry in a separate statement described broadcasting the event as an attempt to “subvert or overthrow” the government – “would have led to the deaths of thousands of innocent Kenyans”.


Journalists’ Reaction

Kenyan journalists however denounced the move as outrageous, in a statement, Media Council of Kenya called for “respect of the constitution” and an end to the “unprecedented intimidation of journalists”.

The body described the move as, “the greatest threat and assault on freedom of expression and media in Kenya’s recent history”, saying there was no need to keep the media houses closed while an investigation was ongoing.

“This shutdown erodes the gains so far made in developing a free and responsible media industry and should never happen in a robust democracy that Kenya boasts of,”

“As guaranteed by the Kenyan Constitution, media freedom should be guarded jealously at all times.”

But the Interior Ministry said it was a “serious breach of security”.

On Tuesday, Mr Odinga held his own “inauguration” after claiming he was the rightful winner of last year’s election.

Last November, President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn-in for a second term. He won an election re-run in October, which Mr Odinga boycotted on grounds that it would not be free and fair.

Kenya’s Supreme Court, had cancelled initial victory by Mr Kenyatta citing “irregularities and illegalities”.


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