Online journalist and political commentator, Samuel Okemwa was arrested on Monday, July 20 in Tanzania under unclear circumstances.
Okemwa was arrested by Tanzanian police officers in Namanga at Kenya’s border with Tanzania and had his passport seized after a dramatic confrontation. A video also surfaced online showing his arrest, with Okemwa demanding what he had done wrong. In the video, one officer was also seen confiscating Okemwa’s phone on instruction from one of his colleagues while it was still recording.
Unwilling to answer him, the group of officers in plainclothes approached Okemwa and handcuffed him before taking him into custody. Okemwa is said to be on his way to hold an exclusive interview with Tanzanian gospel singer Rose Muhando.
Okemwa is the second journalist to be arrested in by a neighbouring country. At the beginning of July, another journalist, Yasin Juma was arrested in Ethiopia, while covering protests. The protests had erupted in Ethiopia’s Orma region following the death of musician Hachalu Hundessa. Hundessa who was perceived as an activist for the Oromo ethnic group was shot dead while driving in Addis Ababa on Monday leading to the unrest that has so far claimed close to 80 lives.
Okemwa has a huge 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.