Kenyans have taken to social media to condemn the arrest of activist Okiya Omatatah, who was arrested and locked up in Kilimai police station on Thursday afternoon.
Omtatah was arrested at the Milimani Law courts allegedly after Chief magistrate Francis Andayi issued a warrant of arrest for skipping a hearing for a criminal case in which the activist was in 2011charged with 33 other protesters for locking up the offices of then education Minister Sam Ongeri, over the theft of some Sh 4.8 billion free primary education funds.
According to Okiya Omtatah, he had attended the hearing, which was to occur at 9:00 am but the magistrate got late by an hour and he was forced to leave the courtroom since he had another case at the labour court (Petition No 19 of 2018-Okiya Omtatah Okoiti vs H.E.Uhuru Kenyatta and others).
“I gave a copy of the cause list to the prosecutor and asked him to inform the magistrate that I had gone to attend to the matter and I would be back,” Omtatah said in a written statement.
“When the magistrate came in some 10 minutes later, he called out the file and upon being informed that I had gone to attend to a matter in the superior court, he refused to listen to the prosecutor who had asked that my file be set aside until I returned. The magistrate then hurriedly issued a warrant of arrest, closed the file and rose to go after referring other pending maters to the magistrate in court no 7,” he said.
The activist spent the night at Kilimani police station and was taken to the Milimani courts on Friday morning.
Omtatah has successfully filed several public interest cases in court.