Sting of political arrests as police up crackdown on Azimio allies

Blogger Pauline Njoroge. She was arrested by the police on Saturday. [File, Standard]

Pauline Njoroge, a blogger and supporter of the former administration was arrested on Saturday by police in Watamu, Kilifi county.

Police claim that they found substances believed to be narcotics in a car she was driving and at a house where she was living.

The blogger has been critical of President William Ruto and the Kenya Kwanza administration over what she considers not well-thought-out policies.

After Njoroge’s arrest, Azimio Co-principal Martha Karua called for her release. She also called for the release of other protesters who, as it emerges, spent the weekend in police cells.

Njoroge was among the lead bloggers who supported the Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga in the 2022 general election.

Recently, the blogger claimed that some unnamed people in the current government had approached her seeking her support and in return, she would get a compensation of Sh500,000 per month.

Njoroge spent the weekend behind bars and is likely to be charged in court in the new week. The recent crackdown by the government on people seen to be close to the opposition and former administration has raised concerns about rights abuses.

Opposition leaders have claimed that the government was unfairly targeting their supporters and any person who was critical of the Kenya Kwanza administration.

The opposition chiefs claimed that the arrests and abductions by what seemed to be State agents are linked to the anti-government protests.

Last week, former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga was arrested by unknown people while at his father’s home in Matasia, Ngong. The family believes that Njenga was arrested by police officers who are also holding him at an undisclosed location.

During the arrest, police claim to have recovered from the home crude weapons and substances believed to be narcotics. The family is yet to find the whereabouts of Njenga and his brother even after a Nairobi court directed the police to release him on a Sh100,000 cash bail.

Last week a lawyer representing some of the arrested people claimed that Njenga was being detained by the police at Wanguru Police Station where Embakasi East MP Babu Owino was also being held.

Eventually, Babu and five other men were presented before a Nairobi Chief Magistrate’s Court and granted a Sh100,000 bail or Sh200,000 bond. Milimani Magistrate Lucas Onyina found that the State did not produce sufficient evidence against them.

Raila’s bodyguard Maurice Ogeta was also arrested by people believed to be State agents and released 72 hours after being held incommunicado. Also taken in a similar manner and fashion was Odinga’s spokesman Denis Onyango.