Babu Owino detained
Azimio leaders are on the run after police launched a manhunt for them. The leaders, who include Babu Owino, have been accused of planning anti-government demonstrations.
Owino was detained at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on arrival from Mombasa. About six other Members of the County Assembly and pockets of activists were also detained overnight.
It is not clear if they will be produced in court, but government officials say they are being held to disrupt the planned three-day protests.
Other senior Azimio leaders have been missing since Tuesday evening. Police teams sent to their homes in the city and upcountry did not find them. They were still searching for them by Wednesday morning.
The demonstrations called by Azimio leaders have paralysed operations in most parts of the country. Pockets of protests were reported in the city, but anti-riot police dispersed the groups.
The government on Tuesday ordered the closure of all-day primary and secondary schools in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu ahead of the protests.
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome declared the planned protests illegal. He warned Kenyans against participating in the demos, saying the police would deal with demonstrators accordingly.
Long distance drivers were urged by their organization to be cautious and if possible suspend their trips. Kenya Railways announced the suspension of train services in Nairobi over the protests. Some public service vehicles also announced they would keep off-roads and monitor the situation.
The protests have been called in response to the government’s decision to increase fuel prices. The government has said the increase is necessary to raise revenue to fund development projects.
The demonstrations have sparked fears of violence. The government has deployed security forces to major cities to prevent any unrest.
It remains to be seen how the protests will unfold. However, it is clear that the government is determined to prevent them from taking place.