Vincent Osumo, a prominent Kenyan blogger known as General Osumo, was arrested for the second time over Facebook posts alleged to be ‘illegal publication‘.
Osumo was arrested in May earlier this year under unclear circumstances, which stirred a public outcry on social media. The blogger was released the following day, but arrested again in July over critical comments that he published against MP Moses Kuria on Facebook, deemed by local authorities to be ‘hate speech’. Osumo was soon released on cash bail, but arrested yet again this week in Kisii Hotel over similar accusations.
According to Nyamira News, Osumo is also accused of speaking against University of Nairobi leader Geoffrey Mosiria who had filed a complaint against Osumo:
“It’s true that I reported him to the police because he has been circulating a message online accusing me to be a serial killer. I am waiting to face him in court and I can’t withdraw the charges”
Osumo is a University of Nairobi student and an activist. In 2014 he led a students’ initiative against campus violence under the title: ‘Throw No Stone University Students Initiative’. His lawyer, Steve Mogaka, was quoted earlier this year regarding his first arrest:
“We cannot allow such arbitrary arrests targeting opposition supporters. Kuria should have worked with the police to invite the young man for questioning rather than arresting him without a clear account. This isn’t the Kenya we want and Kuria and the police should learn to follow the law”
According to the Freedom House’s Freedom of the Net report for the year 2015, Kenya is marked as ‘Free’ in relation to Internet freedom and ‘Partly Free’ in relation to press freedom. While social media and political content are not being blocked in Kenya, “an unprecedented number of Kenyan bloggers and social media users were arrested” in 2015, marking a dangerous deterioration in freedom of expression in the state. Most of the charges against bloggers were related to online posts criticizing government officials.