Four Kenyan members of parliament were charged with unlawful assembly on Thursday for participating in demonstrations this week against President William Ruto‘s administration over the high cost of living.
According to their attorney Danstan Omari, the MPs, who included the leaders of Odinga’s caucus in both houses of parliament, were detained and then released on bail after being prosecuted in a Nairobi court.
On Thursday, Odinga demanded their release in a statement to the media. However, he cautioned that threats by Kenya’s communications watchdog to suspend the broadcasting permits of six TV stations for their coverage of the protests amounted to censorship.
The stations broadcast live video of police shooting tear gas and water cannons at Odinga’s convoy on Monday for several hours.
During the nationwide protests that Odinga called for on Monday, one person died and more than 200 people were detained.
“The coverage depicted scenes that could cause panic or incitement to the public, threatening peace and cohesion in the country,” the Communications Authority of Kenya said in a statement late on Wednesday.
It further said that violating legal requirements by broadcasters could result in the cancellation of their license or frequency.
Odinga, 78, has called for twice-weekly demonstrations against the government, blaming inflation on the high cost of basic goods like maize flour.
In the most recent presidential election—the fifth in a row in which Odinga came in second, he also charges Ruto with fraud. Last year, Odinga unsuccessfully appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court.
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