Kilifi leaders demand immediate release of arrested youth protesters

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Madzayo criticised the police's actions as arbitrary and unjust, emphasising that the youths are being mistreated without proper legal grounds.

Leaders in Kilifi County have called for the immediate and unconditional release of local youth who were arrested while participating in the recent anti-finance bill protests.

The leaders, spearheaded by Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo and Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi, voiced their concerns about the rearrest and detention of approximately ten youths yet to be formally charged.

Senator Madzayo, who also serves as the minority leader in the Senate, urged President William Ruto to intervene directly with police in the county to secure the youths' release.

"The President himself said these Gen Z youths who were arrested should be released because he wants harmony and good relations with them," said Madzayo.

He added, “The police should not engage in these fishing expeditions, where you cast a net without knowing what you are catching. It is unacceptable that individuals released by the courts are being rearrested without any charges."

Madzayo criticised the police's actions as arbitrary and unjust, emphasising that the youths are being mistreated without proper legal grounds.

"Keeping them in custody without producing them in court is a violation of their rights. If they are rearrested, they should be charged immediately instead of being held in cells indefinitely," he added.

Plainclothes police officers fire teargas at protesters in Nairobi CBD, aboard an unmarked vehicle as others patrol on a police pick-up during the anti-government protests on Thursday, June 27, 2024. (Photo: Hafsa Hassan)

He further reprimanded local MPs for politicising the Gen Z protests, accusing them of misleading President Ruto and undermining his efforts to engage with the youth.

Misleading the president, he warned, could damage his initiative to foster dialogue and understanding with young Kenyans.

Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi echoed Madzayo's sentiments, challenging security agencies to transparently identify and apprehend any politicians allegedly behind the protests rather than harassing youths expressing their grievances.

"What we have seen here in Kilifi County is that these Gen Z youths who went out to protest have been detained for nearly two weeks. I urge Kilifi County police to recognise the current goodwill between the President and these youths," said Mnyazi. "This dialogue has inspired confidence across Kenya. I humbly request that these youths from Kilifi County be released."

Mnyazi noted the inconsistency in how youth protesters are being treated across the country, questioning why Kilifi's youths remain detained while others have been released. "We are monitoring the situation closely and insist that the youths be freed, not just in Kilifi but nationwide, to maintain the spirit of understanding and cooperation. The protests were a response to the high cost of living and lack of jobs, not the result of political manipulation," she explained.

Both leaders stressed the need for justice and fair treatment of the youth, urging the government to prioritise dialogue over detention.

"We want our youths to be free so they can continue to express their views without fear of unjust retribution," said Mnyazi.

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