Kenya court fines minister, police chief in new showdown

2018-03-30 07:35
Kenyan-born Canadian lawyer and self-declared National Resistance Movement General, Miguna Miguna, speaks to the media at the at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi. (File, AFP)

Kenyan-born Canadian lawyer and self-declared National Resistance Movement General, Miguna Miguna, speaks to the media at the at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi. (File, AFP)

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A Kenyan court fined the interior minister and police chief on Thursday after they defied orders to produce an opposition politician in court, who was instead deported for the second time in two months.

A prominent but unelected politician with the National Super Alliance (NASA), Miguna Miguna was thrust into the spotlight after his deportation last month, and his attempted return to Kenya this week has seen the nation gripped by political theatrics.

As Miguna was held at the airport for two days over the immigration spat, the high court twice ordered Interior Minister Fred Matiangi, Police Chief Joseph Boinnet and a top immigration official to produce him in court.

Both orders were disregarded and Miguna was put on a flight to Dubai late on Wednesday.

High Court Judge George Odunga fined the three men $2 000 each, saying they had "violated the constitution for failing to obey the rule of law and court orders."

A growing battle between government and the judiciary - since the Supreme Court annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta's election victory last year - has seen authorities ignore several court orders.

Miguna's first expulsion came after he was arrested for treason for taking part in the mock swearing-in of opposition leader Raila Odinga, who insisted he was the rightful victor of last year's elections.

The interior ministry said Miguna had forfeited his Kenyan citizenship by obtaining Canadian citizenship several years ago - at a time when dual citizenship was not allowed.

In February a court ordered authorities to allow Miguna's return, and issue him with a travel documen

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t or allow him to enter on his Canadian passport, pending the hearing of a petition he had filed to defend his Kenyan citizenship.

However, when Miguna arrived on Monday, he refused to apply for a six-month visa, enter on his Canadian passport or fill out forms to regularise his nationality.

"He declined to sign entry documents and tore them (up). He stayed here for two days and each time they were taken to him he shouted back that he is a Kenyan," an immigration official said on condition of anonymity.

On Monday, airport police attacked and injured several reporters covering the event in an incident captured in video footage and condemned by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In a statement from Dubai, Miguna said he had been detained in a toilet for two days at Kenya's main international airport, and alleged officers had wrestled him to the ground and injected him with an unknown substance "until I passed out".

The incident comes some three weeks after Odinga and Kenyatta's surprise reconciliation following the bruising electoral season.

Around 100 people died, mostly at the hands of police, during the election turmoil, according to rights groups.

Read more on:    kenya  |  east africa

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