Kenyan Opposition Figure Sues Government to Re-Enter Country

A standoff continued Tuesday at Nairobi's international airport, where controversial attorney Miguna Miguna is trying to re-enter Kenya after being deported seven weeks ago.

Miguna's lawyers filed suit Tuesday against the government, seeking to have the opposition figure granted free access to his native country.

A Supreme Court justice ordered Miguna's immediate release and set a court appearance for Wednesday morning. Last week, the court ruled that he could return to the country. A dual national, Miguna was stripped of his Kenyan passport before he was forced leave the country Feb. 6. He is traveling on a passport from Canada, where he also holds citizenship.

On his arrival Monday afternoon at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, authorities denied Miguna entry even though he was carrying a copy of the court order.

Miguna quickly became embroiled in a dispute with immigration officials that escalated into efforts to put him on a flight to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He refused to take a seat, shouting and clinging to the aircraft's doors before it finally left without him, an hour-and-a-half late. Some journalists trying to cover the story were roughed up by security officials.

He spent Monday night in an airport lounge. A family member told VOA late Monday night that Miguna was being detained incommunicado at the airport and that he had not eaten in 24 hours.

The self-proclaimed leader of the National Resistance Movement of Kenya, Miguna was deported days after swearing in opposition leader Raila Odinga as the "people's president" at a mock inauguration Jan. 30.

Raila visited the airport in a motorcade Monday at about 9:30 p.m., roughly seven hours after Miguna's arrival, to try to obtain Miguna's release.

It's unclear how Miguna's return affects the fragile rapprochement between Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta. On March 9, they met and promised to begin reconciling political differences that have divided the country. Their recent talks have been touted as a way to ease the contention following last year's protracted presidential election cycle, which saw balloting in August and a rerun October 26.

Miguna told VOA on Sunday that he intended to "lead a revolutionary movement" to eventually replace Kenyatta and Odinga.

Source: Voice of America