A prominent strategist for Kenya’s opposition who has strongly criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta and called for some parts of the country to secede was released on Monday after being briefly detained on suspicion of inciting violence.
Kenya’s public prosecutor said on Twitter that David Ndii had been released on police bond and that “appropriate actions” would be taken after investigations are completed.
Police had earlier said Ndii, an economist and anti-corruption campaigner who was arrested on Sunday in the coastal town of Diani, was “under interrogation regarding … the offence of incitement to violence”.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga condemned the arrest, saying on Monday: “He has committed no crime. (This is) designed to intimidate and fragment the people of Kenya.”
Pro-democracy groups said Ndii’s arrest raised concerns about freedom of expression.
“Ndii has been at the forefront of articulating the problems with the way the country is run,” said Gladwell Otieno, executive director of Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) in Nairobi.
Ndii is an outspoken critic of Kenyatta, who was sworn in for a second presidential term last week after a prolonged elections season that has disrupted the economy and spurred protests that killed more than 60 people.
A senior policy adviser to the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA), he has called since a disputed August election that was voided by the Supreme Court for western and coastal areas that are opposition strongholds to declare independence.
Odinga, who boycotted a repeat poll in October saying the election commission had failed to carry out sufficient reforms, has said his preference is for Kenya to remain united.
Kenyatta won the re-run election with 98 percent of the vote but the country, a Western ally in a volatile region, remains deeply divided after months of bitter campaigning and sporadic violent clashes.
Salim Lone, an Odinga adviser, said Ndii was helping to organise the “swearing in” of Odinga by a people’s assembly on December 12, Kenya’s Independence Day, a plan that has raised the prospect of further confrontations with security forces.
Ndii’s wife Judith Mwende Gatabaki told journalists on Monday that he was arrested by men who identified themselves as members of the “flying squad” — a police unit that is part of the criminal investigation directorate.
She said they searched the couple’s hotel room before taking him away and that she had been unable to reach her husband since.
“We came here to attend a wedding. There was nothing political about it and my husband is not a criminal,” Gatabaki said.
EFF demands the sacking of South Africa’s finance minister Nene.
South Africa’s political players are headed for a collision course over the fate of the finance minister, who the Treasury on Tuesday said is traveling to Indonesia for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting.
Pressure has been piling on finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to resign, following his disclosure to the state-capture inquiry commission, that he had met the Gupta brothers between 2010 and 2013.
The Business Day on Monday reported that Nene had asked president Cyril Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties as finance minister.
Ramaphosa’s office responded and said they were not aware of Nene’s request.
And on Tuesday, Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said the finance minister was expected to arrive in Indonesia on Wednesday.
Nene is also expected to read the mid-term budget later this month.
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The news that Nene is continuing with his duties is likely to anger opposition supporters including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose leader, Julius Malema on Monday asked Ramaphosa to sack Nene.
In a written letter to Ramaphosa, Malema argued that the country, whose economy is in recession, had very serious challenges that needed a credible finance minister to address them.
‘‘Public servants at all spheres and levels of government will have no obligation to responsibly manage state fiscal resources under a compromised minister of finance,’‘ Malema said.
He then added that that Nene can no longer inspire much needed confidence to revive the economy.
‘‘The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS)‚ which is supposed to be a statement to build confidence amongst all important economic role players‚ cannot‚ and should not‚ be delivered by a minister who was part of the Gupta criminal syndicate.”
For the EFF, Nene’s position as finance minister is no longer tenable and they are determined to win what they are now calling a battle.
Malema had threatened on Sunday that streets protests might be organised to demand for the removal of Nene as finance minister.
The Gupta brothers are accused of using their friendship with former president Jacob Zuma to influence government decisions including unfairly winning state contrcats.
Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.
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South Africa: Ex-minister reveals Zuma’s Gupta deals.
South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Wednesday he was fired by former president Jacob Zuma for refusing to approve contracts that would financially benefit the Gupta family, friends of Zuma accused of corruption.