Demonstrators blocked several roads in the Kakamega County town of Mumias on Tuesday, August 18, in protest at the arrest of a local senator. Dozens of protesters demanding the release of Senator Cleophas Malala are reported to have blocked the main Mumias-Bungoma road with rocks and burning tires at around 08:00 (local time) before being dispersed by police.
Although the senator has since been released on bail, further protests and associated localized disruptions are likely in the near term.
Tuesday's protests come a day after three politicians, Malala, Samburu County Senator Steve Lelegwe, and Bomet County Senator Christopher Lang'at were arrested by police in their respective districts. The senators were charged with organizing illegal public gatherings in contravention of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions. However, supporters claimed that the arrests were politically motivated and had been intended to prevent the senators from participating in a national revenue sharing vote in parliament, in which all three had been expected to go against the government. Protests subsequently erupted on Monday afternoon in Bomet, Maralal, and Mumias over the arrests, causing some localized disruptions and scuffles with security forces.
Those in Kakamenga, Samburu, and Bomet counties should be aware of the risk of further unrest and are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all large public gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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