- Senator Malala was arrested on suspicion of addressing a public rally in Mumias on Sunday.
- Malala spoke about a campaign to distribute sanitation to widows.
- Citizens protested in Mumias on Tuesday morning against Mr. Malala's arrest.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala was released on Tuesday morning after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Nordin Haji dropped charges against him. Mr. Malala, who was arrested at his Kitengela home on Monday morning, waited for more than eight hours at Mumias police station, where he stayed until Tuesday morning.
His lawyer, Charles Malala, confirmed that his client had been released after youth protests. Senator Malala was arrested on suspicion of addressing a public rally in Mumias on Sunday when he spearheaded a campaign to distribute sanitation to widows.
Department of Intelligence (DCI) officials said the act violated the Ministry of Health’s provisions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Citizens protested in Mumias on Tuesday morning against Mr. Malala’s arrest. As they chanted, “No Malala No Peace,” most of them young men burned their wheels in the town of Mumia as they confronted anti-riot police officers.
After his release, Senator Malala addressed another crowd at Bomani Stadium in Mumias where police officers disturbed him with tear gas. Mr. Malala reiterated that he would not change his stance against the inter-county funding system which would lead to some counties losing and others benefit.
On Wednesday, Team Kenya’s senators, who are also opposed to the system, maintained that Mr. Malala and senators Christopher Lang’at (Bomet) and Stephen Lelengwe (Samburu) were arrested for their stand on the issue.
William Ruto’s Camp Changes their attitudes
The political allies of Deputy President William Ruto, who have been opposed to the referendum being held before the 2022 general election, have now agreed to hold it before the election. The leaders changed their position just one day after ODM party leader Raila Odinga insisted that a referendum must be held before 2022.
Politicians who support Dr. Ruto say they do not oppose the referendum before 2022, but what they want is a fair debate on the vote. On Saturday, Mr. Odinga ignored calls for a 2022 referendum, saying plans to prepare for the run-up to the general election were fast approaching and could not be stopped.
He said the referendum would be held even if some people did not want it because it was Kenyans who asked for it.
“Kenyans will decide if they want a referendum, but I can assure you that it will happen. It is the Kenyans who will decide what they want in that vote,” Mr. Odinga said.
Mr. Odinga said he and President Uhuru Kenyatta were awaiting the receipt of a report by the BBI. They would need that before the start of the second phase of sensitizing the public on the report’s recommendations and the importance of the plan. Dr. Ruto’s supporters, who have been saying the referendum should be held in conjunction with the 2022 general election, to reduce costs, relaxed and said they did not oppose the project.
According to Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, a staunch supporter of Dr. Ruto, the referendum will not take place because Mr. Odinga said it would take place. But, it would depend on whether President Kenyatta approves it.