Police arrest Odinga aide on suspicion of inciting violence


Police on Monday said a prominent strategist for Kenya’s opposition, who has strongly criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta and called for some parts of the country to secede was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of inciting violence.

The criminal investigations directorate said in a tweet that economist and anti-corruption campaigner David Ndii was “currently under interrogation regarding matters touching on the offence of incitement to violence” but gave no further details.

The opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) said on Sunday that Ndii had been arrested in the coastal town of Diani and that his whereabouts were unknown.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga condemned the arrest, saying on Monday:

“He has committed no crime. (This is) designed to intimidate and fragment the people of Kenya.”

Pro-democracy groups said Ndii’s arrest raised concerns about freedom of expression.

“Ndii has been at the forefront of articulating the problems with the way the country is run,” said Gladwell Otieno, Executive Director of Africa Centre for Open Governance in Nairobi.

Ndii is an outspoken critic of Kenyatta, who was sworn in for a second presidential term last week after a prolonged elections season that has disrupted the economy and spurred protests that killed more than 60 people.

A senior policy adviser to NASA, he has called since a disputed August election that was voided by the Supreme Court for western and coastal areas that are opposition strongholds to declare independence from Kenya.

Odinga, who boycotted a repeat poll in October, saying the election commission had failed to carry out sufficient reforms, has said his preference is for the country to remain united.

Kenyatta won the re-run election with 98 per cent of the vote but the country, a Western ally in a volatile region, remains deeply divided after months of bitter campaigning and sporadic violent clashes.

Salim Lone, an Odinga adviser, said Ndii was helping to organise the “swearing in” of Odinga by a people’s assembly on Dec. 12, Kenya’s independence day, a plan that has raised the prospect of further confrontations with security forces.

Ndii’s wife Judith Gatabaki told journalists on Monday that he was arrested by men, who identified themselves as members of the “flying squad” — a police unit that is part of the criminal investigation directorate.

She said they searched the couple’s hotel room before taking him away and that she had been unable to reach her husband since.

“We came here to attend a wedding. There was nothing political about it and my husband is not a criminal,” Gatabaki said.


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