Kenyan slum dwellers protest over arrest of opposition members

Residents of Nairobi's Kibera slum block the Southern bypass in a demonstration for the release of Lawyer Miguna Miguna who supported and attended Odinga's swearing in ceremony

Protest erupted in Nairobi’s Kibera slum on Friday, after Kenyan police arrested an opposition lawyer and defied a court order to lift a ban on three private television stations that had covered the symbolic presidential inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

When you make these things to look major in the eyes of the people, they will and it will have impact on the country. The economy will go backwards, we will not move forward. Now if they are arresting this people, do you think if they arrest Raila (Odinga) we are going to have peace in this country? No. Not at all. Let the government ignore those things and let us move forward if possible”, Kelvin Mkanga ,a local resident said.

Miguna Miguna was detained in a dawn raid on his Nairobi home. The lawyer had declared himself the “general” of Odinga’s National Resistance Movement and stood beside Odinga at Tuesday’s (January 30) symbolic “swearing in”, a blatant challenge to the authority of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Police did not try to break up the symbolic inauguration, attended by thousands of Odinga supporters, but the government condemned it as an “illegal act” and took three private television stations off-air for covering the event.

The broadcasters remained shut on Friday, despite a court order telling the government to lift its block. It was not clear if the government planned to appeal the order.

However others agree with the police.

‘‘The government had its own reasons instructing the media houses not to air the ‘swearing in’ of Raila Odinga. They are giving the reason for security, for them national security but the media houses ignored the order. I support. I fully support” , Arnold Chege,another Nairobi resident pointed out.

These sentiments confirm the sharp divisions of opinion on the streets of Nairobi, as to whether those detained should have been arrested and whether the broadcasting stations should still be off-air.