Dear Kenyans and friends of Kenya,
That Kenyans are a discontented lot was very evident by the side shows and arbitrary arrests that we witnessed on national TV or live at the Nyayo Stadium Jamhuri Day festivities in Nairobi yesterday.
However, according to phone calls that we are receiving through our grassroot networks all over the country, there are unconfirmed reports that there were many more arrests outside Nairobi - in Garissa, Eldoret, Nakuru and Mombasa.
It is not clear how many people have been arrested in Garissa, Eldoret, Nakuru and Mombasa and where they are being held. It is important that we confirm these reports and remain vigilant to ensure that they are not held below the radar.
If there is anyone in the media or in those areas who is privy to information that can positively confirm or refute these reports, please do so as a matter of urgency.
The people arrested in these areas were similarly to their fellows in Nairobi engaged in civil direct action - protesting against the high food prices, the unregulated escalation of basic commodity prices, the unregulated high fuel prices, the MPs refusal to pay taxes as other Kenyans are and instead hiding behind the absence of appropriate legislation, the proposed introduction of a media bill that will curtail the freedom of information in Kenya and the general culture of impunity by the political elite.
In the meantime, we still do not know where Frederick Odhiambo is being held following his very public arrest yesterday at Nyayo Stadium. Frederick Odhimabo is a Bunge la Mwananchi member who was hauled off the presidential dais yesterday for attempting to present a citizens' petition on the above issues; causing the presidential speech to be hastily cut short. We are frantically trying to trace him but have been unsuccessful almost 24 hours later. If anyone reliably knows of his whereabouts, kindly get in touch with anyone at Bunge la Mwananchi, including myself on the contacts below, in order that we can find him and stand in solidarity with him.
We will remain in touch and update you as we continue to receive information. I must congratulate everyone who took it upon themselves yesterday everywhere in the country to make Kenyans' voice loudly heard on issues that are close to our hearts. Let us not wane in our efforts to keep our leadership accountable. Let us remain vigilant and keep setting the agenda for our leaders.
Bunge la Mwananchi
+254 720 451 235
Bunge la Mwananchi is a social movement and a member of the Kenya National Civil Society Congress