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Four Kenyan activists arrested in protests over Uganda elections – PHOTOS

Four Kenyan human rights defenders were on Wednesday morning arrested outside Uganda house in Nairobi as they went to present a protest letter on the Uganda elections.

Those arrested included Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid, Beatrice Waithera, Ojiro Odhiambo and Yassah Musa who were protesting against political injustices in Uganda.

Police used teargas to disperse the growing crowd as they tried to bundle the protesters into a police land cruiser.

Those apprehended are being held at the Central Police Station.

Police declined to reveal why they arrested the activists and what offense they had committed, if any.

The demonstrators had converged at the Ugandan embassy located in Uganda House to issue a statement in solidarity with Ugandans “against police excesses and securitisation of elections.”

The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya) issued a statement demanding the police release them immediately.

A Human Rights activist shouting slogans in Nairobi after they were dispersed by police officers as they tried to hold a Press Conference outside Ugandan House on January 13,2021 in solidarity with the People of Uganda ahead of the Presidential elections. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL

“We demand the release of Hussein Khalid, Waithera Beatrice, Yassah Musa, and Ojiro Odhiambo, who were arrested outside the Ugandan Embassy for speaking against injustices in Uganda and demanding for a free and fair election. Freedom of assembly is a right!,” they said.

Amnesty International Kenya, also called for the release of the four.

President Yoweri Museveni is seeking his sixth elected term in office after 35 years in power.

The 76-year-old faces 10 challengers, most notably 38-year-old pop star turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, known by his stage name Bobi Wine.

Museveni has been accused of using the state machinery to muzzle the opposition with campaigns marred by violence and police killings.

Human Rights activists are arrested in Nairobi after they tried to hold a Press Conference outside Ugandan House on January 13,2021 in solidarity with the People of Uganda ahead of the Presidential elections. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL

Human rights groups have accused security officers in the East Africa country of using excessive force to break up opposition rallies during the campaign.

Campaigs were banned in Kampala and several other districts with the opposition claiming the action was taken because it is popular in those areas.

However, Museveni’s government insists the measure was due to Covid-19 restrictions.

On Tuesday, the Ugandan government shut down social media ahead of the tense election on Thursday, accusing Facebook and unnamed outside groups of “arrogance” after the social networks this week removed Ugandan accounts linked to his reelection campaign.

Some 18.1 million Ugandans are expected to participate in the general election on Thursday.