7 February 2018

Kenya: State Suspends Passports of Top Nasa Leaders

Photo: Daily Nation
From left: Hassan Joho, Johnson Muthama, David Ndii, James Orengo and Jimmi Wanjigi who are among Nasa politicians whose passports have been suspended by the State.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Siaya Senator James Orengo and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama are among Nasa politicians whose passports have been suspended by the State.

The coalition's chief strategist, David Ndii, and businessman Jimi Wanjigi have also not been spared the purge as the government intensifies a crackdown on the opposition figures following a move to "swear in" its presidential candidate in the last elections Raila Odinga as "the people's president" in a symbolic move of defiance.

In a letter addressed to the leaders, said to be 15 in total, the Director of Immigration Gordon Kihalang'wa said the revocation was done in line with Citizen and Immigration Act 2011 which gives grounds for the suspensions.

We were, however, unable to establish the identities of the other Nasa officials and supporters affected by the decision.

MUTHAMA

Speaking to Daily Nation Tuesday, Mr Muthama said officials from the immigration department delivered the letter informing him of the move to suspend his passport at 1 o'clock.

"We are seeing the making of dictatorship. They have no regard for the law because this is an assault on the Bill of Rights which is inalienable," he said.

The former lawmaker, also a high ranking opposition leader, regretted that the arbitrary move had already inconvenienced him.

"I was meant to accompany my daughter to Britain today (yesterday) at 4 pm but now I can't. This is a dangerous path the government has chosen and they must be stopped," he said.

Nasa co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka termed the suspension of the passports for the top Nasa leaders and the shutdown on the media as characteristic of a regime in panic.

"The panic that is with this administration tells it all. They are muzzling the media because they do not want the truth, and they are now going to block people from travelling. But why the panic? If they are firmly in control, as they say, why panic?" Mr Musyoka asked at his party offices yesterday.

Dr Kihalang'wa consequently directed the opposition leaders to surrender their passports to the immigration offices at Nyayo House within 21 days, failing which, he says, the documents will be declared null and void.

"Pursuant to Section 31 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011, you are hereby notified that the passport which is in your possession remains suspended forthwith," reads the letter.

NON-EXISTENT LAW

Dr Ndii, in response to the order, accused the immigration director of using a non-existent section of the law to suspend his passport.

Dr Ndii said the law states that the government gives reasons for a suspension or revocation of a passport and that none has been given in his case.

"The police themselves have just said we are not in their radar so I don't know what Immigration are basing their move on," Dr Ndii said on the phone.

He said the move was part of the ongoing attempts by the government to take Kenya back to a dictatorship and called on Kenyans to "reclaim the country and restore democracy".

"They have violated (political activist Miguna) Miguna's rights and they violated mine with a malicious prosecution which is going nowhere. These are not things which happen in a civilised country," he said.

Tuesday evening, reports indicated that Mr Joho had been admitted to a Mombasa hospital suffering from an unknown ailment.

There was tight security at a room where the ODM Deputy Party Leader was said to be hospitalised.

Section 31(1h) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act provides a wide latitude to the Director of Immigration to confiscate or suspend a passport or other travel document.

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