- Charity Ngilu, Kenya’s fiery and controversial minister was today released from jail after being in overnight police custody for 10 hours. She was accused of assisting a suspect to escape from the police station.
Eric Kiraithe, the Police spokesman confirmed the release of the Health Minister, adding that she was released on free bail, but ordered to report back to the Criminal Investigation Department later today.
She has become the country’s first cabinet minister to go behind the police bars. Her arrest followed four hours of interrogation by the police on Thursday.
The minister’s trouble with the police was precipitated by her protest against the detention of a women’s rights activist, Anne Njogu, who was arrested alongside four activists for protesting venting anger on the lawmakers’ plan to award themselves bulky pay rises before they end their session in December.
Angered by the detention without trial of the activist, the Health Minister walked to the police station on Tuesday night to free Njogu, despite police resistance.
But Ms Njilu later issued a statement denying storming the police. She insisted that her intervention was driven by male police officers forceful dragging of the activist downstairs as she struggling to change clothing.
The High Court released all the detained activists, blaming the police of violation the rights of the detainees.
Some opposition lawmakers such as Raila Odinga and Musalia Musavadi gave a swift reaction to the arrest, describing it as ridiculous considering the fact that a cabinet minister is under the principle of collective responsibility and as such is a symbol of government and a representative of the head of state.
'We want to condemn (Security Minister) John Michuki's action in the strongest term possible,' a join opposition statement read, accusing Security Minister of punishing the minister for leading a women’s protest march to his office after he had uttered a derogatory statement.
Opposition leaders could not understand why the minister had spent the night in police cells.
It is estimated that the planned severance pay for the 222 Kenyan MPs will eat up over $20 million of the country’s budget. This was enough reasons for activists to pick bones with lawmakers, accusing them of busy lining their pockets instead of prioritising poverty eradication in a country where majority of the people live below poverty line.
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