Senators claim 'red alert' at airports stopping them from travelling abroad – The Star, Kenya

A fierce protest has rocked the Senate following claims that the government has barred lawmakers from travelling out of the country.
The senators said a red alert has been issued to immigration officials at all international airports in the country, stopping them from travelling abroad.
The revelations comes barely two months after the lawmakers raised similar concerns saying they had been blocked from travelling.
At the time, they said they had been blocked because of the contentious Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2021, now an Act.
Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot and his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen had alleged that Kwale Senator Boy Juma had been barred from travelling. 
On Wednesday, Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni triggered the storm on the floor of the House when he narrated his ordeal at JKIA.
The senior counsel said he was stopped by the immigration officials from leaving the country 10 days ago.
This was despite securing all the necessary travel approvals from Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka and clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye.
Though he was allowed to travel after a ‘lengthy explanation’, Omogeni said on his return, immigration officials, detained him at the airport on claims he illegally travelled out of the country.
“When I was travelling back to the country, when I reached the immigration desk, my passport was confiscated,” the senator said.
Omogeni said the officer explained to him that they were going to withdraw his passport because he allegedly left the country despite the existence of a ‘red list alert’.
The alert he said, indicated that senators should not be allowed to travel out of the country unless authourised by the immigration head.
Senator Omogeni who is also a senior counsel said that he was treated in the most undignified manner possible.
“I was kept in a room for close to 45 minutes, as this lady was making frantic consultations allegedly with some higher authorities,” he said.
 Omogeni said they want assurance that senators shall not be subjected to this undignified treatment. “I want to know whether I was singled out.”
Deputy minority leader Steward Madzayo who travelled alongside Omogeni, said they were told about a letter stopping them from travelling abroad.
“I was also detained at the airport. It is shocking that a leader travels back and is detained,” he said.
He added, “I have worked as a judge. I have never been arrested. I have never committed any crime.”
The revelations triggered an uproar with lawmakers demanding answers from the speaker for the mistreatment in the hands of the immigration officials.
Majority leader Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot) led the senators in demanding answers from the authorities.
“It is wrong for anybody to detain any citizen if they have not committed any crime. We are dealing with a situation which is organically wrong. It is systematically wrong,” he said.
The protest forced temporary speaker Rose Nyamunga to order immediate summoning of Interior CS Fred Matiangi.
The acting speaker ordered that Matiangi appears before the lawmakers to explain the alleged alert that has disparaged members.
Nyamunga said Matiangi should appear before the House Security Committee on Wednesday.
“The matters raised are weighty and touches on the dignity of members and the independence of Parliament, in particular, the Senate.
“I, therefore, direct the Standing Committee on national security, defence, and foreign affairs to investigate these incidents and other previous incidences,” she said.
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)
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