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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

 

Leading Kenya Opposition figures allowed to fly off to Zimbabwe

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s immigration authorities on Tuesday allowed an opposition lawyer and a businessman to fly out of the country after they spent the night at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport following disputes over their passports.
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Senator James Orengo, the National Super Alliance (NASA) lead lawyer and strategist, and prominent businessman Jimi Wanjigi departed at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday after Immigration Department officials at the airport reportedly blocked their travel.

Speaking to reporters before his departure, Orengo said Director of Immigration Gordon Kihalangwa had the court orders that reversed a previous suspension of their passports.

"While giving the passports back this morning, Kihalangwa knew he had the information and was in possession of the orders," he said.

The two had booked tickets to fly to Zimbabwe to attend the funeral of Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Their plans to travel followed the revocation of the suspension of their passports and those of five other NASA leaders by Judge John Mativo on Monday.

But Orengo said an immigration officer at the airport refused to let them pass saying their passports had been suspended.

They then called Kihalangwa over the issue and he told them he had not seen the orders.

 

   
 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- National Super Alliance (NASA) lead lawyer and strategist James Orengo ® and prominent businessman Jimi Wanjigi address journalists at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Feb. 20, 2018. Kenya’s immigration authorities on Tuesday allowed an opposition lawyer and a businessman to fly out of the country after they spent the night at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport following disputes over their passports. XINHUA PHOTO: NYALWASH

The immigration director in a statement issued on Tuesday said by the time Orengo and Wanjigi arrived at the airport, the department was not served with the court order lifting the suspension of their passports, a position contradicted by Orengo.

"The said orders had not been served by the time the duo wanted to travel. After arriving at the JKIA, they were requested to avail the copies of the said court order but they had none," said Kihalangwa.

Kihalangwa said the NASA leaders instead "showed some writings in their phones purporting to be court orders."

However, opposition leader Raila Odinga’s adviser Salim Lone said Orengo and Wanjigi served the airport immigration officer with the court order but their passports were still confiscated.

Both Orengo and Wanjigi were to join Odinga for the funeral in Harare on Tuesday.

They were supposed to fly back on Wednesday at midday, according to their tickets.

The High Court in Nairobi on Monday lifted the government decision to suspend passports of seven key opposition figures among them NASA strategist David Ndii, Orengo and Wanjigi.

The opposition leaders argue that the government’s suspension of their passports is "unreasonable, grossly heavy handed and unjustified in an open democratic society.

             

 

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