Albert Nderitu, the student, who was arrested for wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, Kieleweke, Big4 First during William Ruto’s function in Gikondi in Mukurweini, Nyeri County has revealed details of what transpired.
Speaking to The Nairobian, Nderitu, 21, who was arrested on September 9, said that he didn’t expect his ‘innocent’ T-shirt to land him in trouble.
He revealed that he was elated when he heard the Deputy President, whom he only watches on TV, was coming to visit his home town.
He was looking forward to finally lay his eyes on Ruto.
But little did he know that his T-shirt, which he received during a youth meeting held in Mukurweini, was going to land him in trouble.
“I had spent the weekend preparing for school. I was supposed to report to Mukurweini Technical Training Institute, which is right opposite Gikondi Parish the following day. I had done my laundry, collected my Helb loan forms, visited the chief, the local pastor, and filled them out with plans to submit them on Monday,” he said.
He added that: “I have many T-shirts and I just picked this particular one. I had no bad intentions.”
When he arrived at Gikondi Parish, he sat among his schoolmates chatting, when a man approached him and asked him to step behind the tent for a brief chat.
“I didn’t know the man, but I obliged since he seemed to be harmless. But when I got there, he pulled up my shirt exposing my ‘vest’ and asked me why I was wearing the T-shirt. Confused, I told him it was just a normal T-shirt,”Nderitu said.
Before he could explain himself, he was bundled into a police vehicle and rushed to Mukurweini Police Station.
“They accused me of planning to heckle the DP and demanded to know who the other hecklers were. They took photos of me in the T-shirt and then locked me up,” he explained.
Nderitu’s mother raised an alarm after his son failed to return home.
“We found out he had been arrested and immediately rushed to the station to find out what we could do to secure his release. They demanded Sh50,000 which we did not have,” Nderitu’s sister, Emma Nyokabi said.
Desperate for help, Nyokabi reached out to friends and family and word spread through social media of what had befallen Nderitu.
Nderitu spent the night in custody and in the morning, he was taken to Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu’s constituency offices and asked to identify the individuals who gave him the T-shirt.
“I had never been to the MP’s office. They later took me back to Mukurweini Police Station where they bought me lunch and told me they would release me,” Nderitu told The Nairobian.
He spent close to 20 hours in police custody until his family reported the matter to the media.
By this time news of Nderitu’s arrest was all over social media. The Standard correspondent Lydia Nyawira and her colleague from the Nation, Irene Mugo, had been assigned to follow up the story.
However, when they went to the station, they were arrested for being at a police station ‘without permission and being a security threat’.
Cops confiscated their phones and notebooks.
“They detained us, saying they would only release us after deleting a video clip we had taken of the man leaving the station after being released from custody,” the writer explained.
The writers obliged and were released without any charges after being detained for an hour at the police station.
Kieleweke is a slogan associated with Nyeri MP Wambugu Ngunjiri who has openly urged Jubilee supporters to focus on President Uhuru’s Big 4 Agenda and not 2022 politics.
Members of the Kieleweke secretariat have condemned the arrest of Nderitu and the two journalists, stating it was not a crime to wear a branded T-shirt.