• Wednesday, 24 July 2024
Government's contradictory statements on the abduction of activists

Government's contradictory statements on the abduction of activists

Govt's doublespeak on abduction of activists

A Kenyan youth holds a placard during the protests against the Finance Bill 2024


The demands from the human rights body come amidst ongoing abductions of protest leaders who are subsequently released without charges. 

In the past three days alone, three digital personalities have been abducted in connection to the protests. 

Despite the government's assurances to halt such actions, abductions persist.


Over the past week, there has been escalating agitation among the youth, initially against the Finance Bill 2024, and now extending to a range of other grievances voiced by young Kenyans online, on the streets, and even in churches.

The increasing dissent within the leaderless movement has left the government struggling to identify and control those believed to be organizing the protests. The most vocal figures online are now encountering familiar government crackdowns aimed at stifling the protests.

Shad Khalif is the latest victim of government intimidation and threats. CCTV footage captured him outside an entertainment venue in Nairobi's South B area, where he was seized by about four men and forced into a waiting vehicle before being driven away.

This incident sparked an online campaign for his release.


Just before Shad's abduction, Dr. Austine Omondi, also known as JaPrado, was taken by unknown individuals while assisting with a blood drive ahead of Tuesday's protests. 

He was released later on Sunday evening following a vigorous online and physical campaign that united the medical and legal communities.

The arbitrary arrests began on Friday night with the abduction of Billy Simani, also known as "Billy the Goat," from his residence by unidentified persons. It took an extensive social media campaign throughout the day to secure his release from custody.

Both Billy and Dr. Austin appeared visibly shaken upon their release from police stations, with no charges having been filed against them.


"When the Kenya Kwanza government took office, it vowed to end such tactics in response to political activities, with the president and his deputy leading the denouncement of abductions," Byte Rigathi Gachagua stated.

The Head of State added, "I have met with the Police IG and we have agreed that they will operate strictly within the confines of the law."

"However, barely two years into the administration, it seems the script remains unchanged and the playbook is still in use," comments indicate that law enforcement's actions have drawn widespread criticism from both the public and the human rights sector.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission has called for an immediate cessation of this trend. In a statement, the organization questions the timing and motives behind these arrests, noting that "the abductions, often occurring at night and carried out by police officers in plain clothes and unmarked vehicles, aim to intimidate protesters planning to participate in future peaceful demonstrations urging MPs to reject the bill."


These sentiments are echoed by the Law Society of Kenya, which also condemns the abductions and demands the prompt cessation of such actions, as well as the unconditional and immediate release of the latest abductee.

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