On Saturday afternoon, a blogger by the name Abraham Mutai was arrested in Mombasa and quickly airlifted to Nairobi. There were rumors that the arrest was connected to recent tweets he posted about rampant corruption activities going on in Isiolo County.
Police accused Abraham Mutai of misusing a licensed communication platform to cause anxiety. Mutai who uses the Twitter account @ItsMutai, was arrested at about 1pm in Mombasa before he was driven by CID officers to Nairobi. They arrived at about 11pm and was booked at Muthaiga police station. Sunday, he was taken to CID headquarters where he was questioned for more than an hour before he was released.
This year i promised to be positive about my country, but my patience is now tested by the unreasoble detention of my young bro #FreeMutai
— Ekuru Aukot (@EAukot) January 17, 2015
Just from seeing Mutai at Muthaiga Police Station. He is being taken to CID HQ for processing. He doesn’t know the charge. #FreeMutai
— Robert ALAI (@RobertAlai) January 18, 2015
He was freed on personal bond. Sources said Mutai had published on his blog “issues that offended many people and caused anxiety without evidence”. Police accused him of misuse and abuse of communication-licensed platform, an offence they said they are investigating.
The online account associated with Mutai on the popular micro-blogging site has in recent months been used to post allegations of poaching, corruption and misuse of funds in Isiolo, Mandera and Mombasa counties.
Mutai Exposed the Rot in the Isiolo County Government and it’s with this that he was taken into custody http://t.co/hqvY5VjUTr #Freemutai
— Follow IG:@XtianDela (@xtiandela) January 17, 2015
The blogger has also posted claims of impropriety at the Geothermal Development Company and linked several names to the alleged corruption. CID director Ndegwa Muhoro said there had been a complaint regarding issues that Mutai had handled in the recent past and that was why he was arrested and questioned.
“I do not have details but there was a complaint on that man,” said Muhoro without elaborating.
To his credit, @ItsMutai always backed up his whistleblowing with documents, pictures & offline follow-up. #FreeMutai
— Ory Okolloh Mwangi (@kenyanpundit) January 17, 2015
Dear, @UKenyatta – I can’t find ‘silencing bloggers’ in the Jubilee Manifesto. Let me know if I have the correct version. #FreeMutai
— Gabriel Oguda (@gabrieloguda) January 17, 2015
His account had been disabled by the officers who arrested him. His colleagues were however able to lobby Twitter to re-activate his account. His arrest sparked an outrage online with a hashtag #FreeMutai being created to push for his release. The hash tag was trending number one in Kenya from Saturday till the whole day on Sunday even as the news on his release trickled in.
@ItsMutai is a patriot! A young man who loves his country passionately that’s why he has been speaking against corruption #FreeMutai
— Pauline Njoroge (@paulinenjoroge) January 17, 2015
Mutai has been released on a personal free bond. He is accused for misuse of licensed telecommunications. #FreeMutai pic.twitter.com/XnGTAOyBLq
— Boniface Mwangi (@bonifacemwangi) January 18, 2015
Instead of targeting terrorists who murder Kenyans at will Jubilee Gov’t finds easier picking defenseless bloggers who love KE #FreeMutai
— Phil (@Phil_254) January 17, 2015
Mutai has vowed to continue running his blog and to hold the county governments accountable by reporting on corruption.
It’s sad that the authorities are so swift to clamp down on dissent online & not crime or corruption. #iFreeKE #FreeMutai
— james wamathai (@uqweli) January 17, 2015
Listen to a full narration from Abraham Mutai on the whole ordeal from the time he was called by the his Boss under the instructions of the CID officers under the pre-text of owing some money to lady, to the time he was taken in for questioning to his release and the questions that the CID offers asked him.