Kenyan Journalist Samuel Okemwa Arrested at Tanzanian Border [VIDEO]

  • Samuel Okemwa (left) pictured during a past interview with firebrand lawyer Miguna Miguna
    Samuel Okemwa (left) pictured during a past interview with firebrand lawyer Miguna Miguna
    YouTube
  • Political commentator and online journalist Samuel Okemwa was on Monday, July 20, arrested in Namanga, Kenya's border with Tanzania.

    Okemwa was arrested by Tanzanian police officers stationed at the border point and had his passport confiscated after a dramatic confrontation.

    While details of what triggered the arrest remained unclear, a viral video showed Okemwa demanding to know what he had done wrong.

    Unwilling to answer him, the group of officers in plainclothes approached Okemwa and handcuffed him before taking him into custody.

    Samuel Okemwa (left) pictured during a past meeting with Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga
    Samuel Okemwa (left) pictured during a past meeting with Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga
    Facebook

    One officer was also seen confiscating Okemwa's phone on instruction from one of his colleagues while it was still recording the dramatic events.

    Reports indicate that Okemwa was headed to Arusha to interview celebrated gospel singer Rose Muhando whose life has been the subject of numerous tabloid headlines.

    Okemwa has a large following on Facebook where he interviews various guests including entertainers, bloggers and leaders on his show dubbed The Samuel Okemwa show.

    His followers called for Kenyan authorities to intervene to secure Okemwa's release, claiming he was innocent. 

    The arrest particularly raised eyebrows as it came at a time when the government has been under pressure to secure the release of veteran journalist Yassin Juma who was detained in Ethiopia while covering protests.

    Okemwa became known to many in the run-up to the 2017 election when he earned a reputation as a die-hard supporter of the National Super Alliance (NASA) and its leader Raila Odinga.

    He published widely circulated videos slamming President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and the Jubilee Party. Okemwa was also involved in political mobilisation in Kisii County where he hails from.

    More recently, Okemwa has focused on online content which includes shows targeting the Kisii community through interviews of vernacular artists and influential local figures.

    Watch a video of Okemwa's arrest below: