Blogger Robert Alai arrested over social media postings
Blogger Robert Alai was on Thursday arrested for linking TV anchor Julie Gichuru’s husband, Tony Gichuru, to land grabbing in Nairobi.
The blogger was detained at the CID headquarters as investigations into statements he made on the grabbing of the Lang’ata Road Primary School playground and another piece of land in Ruai continue.
Alai tweeted on Thursday; “Presented myself to police at 9am. Being held overnight despite presenting myself after being called. This is funny!”
He later posted on his Facebook page; “Been arrested for sharing stories regarding Ruai and Langata Public land grab on my Facebook wall. Being taken to Muthaiga police station.”
In an article posted on his blog days after the #OccupyPlayground protests, Alai linked Julie Gichuru’s husband to the grabbed playground. He also claimed that Mr Gichuru was among those involved in the grabbing of land in Ruai meant for a proposed Nairobi City County’s sewerage plant.
In the article, Alai also mentioned Patrick Osero, the man who claimed ownership of Weston Hotel, claiming that he represented Deputy President William Ruto in the Lang’ata land dealings.
When the article was published, Julie Gichuru tweeted; “Just raised my head from a productive & busy day to find utter nonsense on a certain blog! This time we shall meet in court! #Disgusted.”
The article, titled ‘Julie Gichuru husband listed among the owners of Langata Rd. Primary playground’, was published on Alai’s blog on January 22.
In it, Alai went on to make allegations about Julie’s parents-in-law to which the TV anchor responded – through an article on her blog dated January 23 titled ‘Assasins and online terror’ – that it was unfair for the blogger to drag her late mother-in-law into the mess.
She wrote in part: “We are exploring every legal opportunity towards recourse. Whether it takes days, weeks, months or years we shall work patiently with our lawyers to ensure that those responsible for this online terrorism are held accountable for their actions and will not do this to anyone ever again.”
Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu later that week named the directors of the Airport View Housing Company that she said was linked to the disputed land.
The directors who were named included Herbans Singh but did not have the name of Julie’s husband neither that of Patrick Osero.