Kenya Charges Opposition Figure Amid Protests Over Arrests

  • Kenya Charges Opposition Figure Amid Protests Over Arrests

Kenya Charges Opposition Figure Amid Protests Over Arrests

A Kenyan opposition politician was charged with treason on Tuesday over the symbolic presidential "swearing in" of opposition leader Raila Odinga, reigniting street protests in which one person was killed.

In addition to the arrests, the state also closed down three broadcasters for transmitting the opposition ceremony live.

Kenyatta won a second five-year term in office during the rerun, and he was sworn in as the country's leader in a ceremony last November.

He entered no plea during his appearance at a Nairobi court.

Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet is on Tuesday expected to personally present controversial lawyer Miguna Miguna at the Milimani Law Courts as ordered.

"I will not get out of this court until he is released", he said, as people in court shouted: "We want Miguna!"

The Judge said that if Miguna was not availed, an explanation should be presented failure to which there will be punishment for contempt and defying court orders.

Miguna was also charged with organizing a public meeting without notice of the County police.

The activists were trying to march to government offices in central Nairobi when police fired the gas, a Reuters witness said.

Kenyatta won the August election, and won the repeat election in October as well after Odinga boycotted it, complaining it would not be fair.

An earlier ballot for the presidency, in August of a year ago, was annulled by Kenya's Supreme Court on account of "irregularities and illegalities" by the electoral commission.

Since then, the strategy of the National Super Alliance (NASA) opposition coalition has been to challenge Kenyatta's legitimacy by seeking to establish parallel government structures.

In western Kenya, police used teargas to break up a large demonstration in Kisumu demanding Miguna's release, and in Ahero opened fire to disperse protestors, killing a man who according to his relatives had not taken part in the demonstration. Only two major broadcasters - NTV and KTN - are partially back on air nearly a week after their signals were shut down by the government.