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BABU OWINO (L) AND STEVE MBOGO (R) [PHOTO | COURTESY]

Why Babu Owino, Steve Mbogo were arrested Thursday afternoon

Embakasi East legislator Babu Owino, his Ruaraka counterpart Tom Kajwang and former Starehe Parliamentary seat hopeful Steve Mbogo were arrested Thursday afternoon while heading for a banned rally in Kibera.

According to Steve Mbogo’s personal assistant, David Mwangi, 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.

“Nothing much is going on here. We do not know why, and what happens next,” he said.

The aborted rally at the Kamukunji Grounds in Nairobi Thursday was to serve as a curtain-raiser to a major rally at Uhuru Park to celebrate the return to the country of the NASA top leadership Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula.

Nairobi County Police Commander Japheth Koome had opposed Nasa rally plans, saying they will interfere with the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.

“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,” Mr Koome said.

The three leaders’ arrests came hours after police blocked the Opposition lawmakers from holding a press briefing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and a rally in Shauri Moyo, forcing them to move the rally to Kibera.

On Wednesday, police declared JKIA out of bounds to Opposition supporters who were planning to match to the airport on Friday to welcome Mr Odinga back to the country.

“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.

Mr Odinga will be jetting into the country after a one-week trip to the United States and United Kingdom.

Kilimani police boss is yet to give formal comment on why the three were arrested.

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