Journalist's Camera Seized in Violent Arrest

A photo of a team of Journalists at Mitihani House During Releasing of KCPE Results on Monday November 18, 2019.
A team of Journalists at Mitihani House during the release of KCPE Results on Monday, November 18, 2019.
Simon Kiragu

Journalist and activist Mukoya Aywah was on Thursday, April 2 assaulted and arrested by askaris from the County Government of Kiambu after he had visited the Jamhuri Permanent Market in Thika Town.

Speaking to Aywah narrated that he had gone to the market at around 4 p.m. after he was done with his duties for the day, only to see a commotion at the entrance of the market place.

"When I saw the commotion I went there and asked if the congestion was really right as the country fights the spread of Coronavirus. The county council askaris had black coloured 'rungus' beating people who wanted to do some shopping," Aywa narrated.

Jukwaa la Ukombozi activist Mukoya Aywah.
Jukwaa la Ukombozi activist Mukoya Aywah.

"I asked the officers if it is advisable to have this commotion yet we have Covid-19, they asked me if I had the virus. I told them it is advisable to have a board showing people time when to enter and leave the market," he stated.

On his right hand, Aywah had his camera, and when the askaris caught sight of it, they grabbed it and asked if he was taking pictures of them. They started harassing him and roughing him up as they took him towards their offices located at the market buildings.

Despite persistently telling them that he had not taken any pictures after which they confirmed, they forcefully pushed him into their office and made him lie on the floor.

"One of them came with handcuffs and put them on my wrists telling me that I would be taken to their jail. They kept asking me who was I working for, or whether am I an informant," Aywah recounted.

"They kept beating me as I insisted that the message should be kept outside the main gate for in and out convenience," he added.

After Aywah had made several calls to fellow activists, they freed him of the handcuffs and asked him to go fetch his camera on April 3. He had kept reiterating that the message was necessary at the market entrance, and the askaris chased him out of the premises.

He contacted the police and reported the matter at around 5:30 p.m. immediately he had been set free.

A photo of Nairobi County Askaris on a patrol.
Nairobi County Askaris on a routine patrol.
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