Kenya relaxes opposition activists travel ban

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Kenya's National Super Alliance (NASA) leader and opposition chief Raila Odinga gestured to his supporters after taking an oath at Uhuru Park Grounds in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Jan. 30, 2018. (Xinhua)
Kenya’s National Super Alliance (NASA) leader and opposition chief Raila Odinga gestured to his supporters after taking an oath at Uhuru Park Grounds in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Jan. 30, 2018. (Xinhua)

Two leading Kenyan opposition members have been allowed to fly to Zimbabwe after they were detained on Monday and prevented from leaving the country.

Senator James Orengo and Jimi Wanjigi, who both support opposition leader Raila Odinga, have now been permitted to attend the funeral of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Kenyan government had suspended their passports following a crackdown on opposition supporters.

The two men learned of their situation when their passports were taken and they were blocked from flying out Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Monday night.

“We learnt through the media that the court had granted orders that the Department of Immigrations should not interfere with the movement/travel of these two, said Gordon Kihalangwa, Director of Immigration Services. “Neither the Director of Immigration Services nor the Department was served with such orders as is required by the law.”

“We feel we have not only been inconvenienced, but this is humiliating and inhuman. And somebody must pay for it,”said Mr. Orengo, adding that he and Wanjigi would sue Dr. Kihalangwa and the immigration officials who confiscated the passport.

The incident will likely intensify criticism that the government is trampling on civil rights in an effort to crack down on the opposition following disputed elections last year, and Odinga’s symbolic inauguration of himself as president in January.

The government shut down transmission for three private television stations planning to screen the inauguration live, and deported a prominent opposition lawyer, Miguna Miguna, in defiance of court orders.
Miguna Miguna’s deportation was declared illegal by the High Court. However, he still remains in Canada.

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