CS Kindiki declares all protected areas out of bounds ahead of Azimio’s mass action
Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Kithure Kindiki on Sunday, March 19, declared all protected areas out of bounds ahead of the opposition's planned mass action on Monday.
In a statement, Kindiki said security agencies shall prevent unauthorised access to all protected areas in the country, even as a section of Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition supporters vows to storm State House to "reclaim opposition leader Raila Odinga's victory".
"It is hereby notified for information of the general public that pursuant to the Protected Areas Act (CAP 204 of the Laws of Kenya), security agencies shall prevent unauthorized access to all protected areas," CS Kindiki stated.
The CS cautioned Kenyans ahead of mass action stating that while the constitution guarantees freedom of assembly and demonstration under Article 37, the said right is however limited.
"The Government reiterates its commitment to respect, protect and promote all fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution. In so doing, security agencies shall respect Article 37 of the Constitution which guarantees the right of every person, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, demonstrate, picket, and present petitions to public authorities.
"The same Constitution, however, limits the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms to ensure the protection of the rights and freedoms of others and to promote broader 2 societal interests including public order, safety and morality," the CS noted.
Kindiki noted that the right is limited on the ground where it interferes with public order, safety and morality and such crimes are punishable by law.
"For every right or freedom guaranteed in the Constitution, there is a corresponding obligation criminalizing violation of the rights or freedoms of others. Your rights or freedoms end where the rights or freedoms of others start," Kindiki cautioned.
The interior CS affirmed that Monday, March 20 is a normal working day and that all weekday activities shall take place normally without any interference.
"The Government assures the public of their safety and advises everyone to continue with their activities uninterrupted and allow security agencies to discharge their mandate of maintaining law and order. Monday 20th March 2023 is a normal working day. All weekday activities including learning in schools and other educational institutions shall proceed normally and any person who incites public disorder or otherwise breaches the peace in any part of the Republic of Kenya shall be prosecuted," part of the statement read.
He cautioned Kenyans planning to join in the mass action that they should carry out the protests in a peaceful manner and ensure protocol is observed.
"In exercise of their rights or freedoms, no one may engage in threats, lawlessness, violence, destruction of property or obstruction of activities of other people or in any other way infringe on the rights or freedoms of others. The responsibility to ensure that assemblers, protestors, picketers and petitioners are peaceable, unarmed and orderly is on the organizers and leaders of the activity, he added.
CS Kindiki said failure to that, the police officers will be on sight to carry out their "mandate of protection of life and property, maintenance of law and order and preservation of peace shall ensure no life or property is lost or destroyed by people exercising their rights under Article 37 or any other provision of the Constitution."
Earlier, Azimio leader Raila Odinga insisted that the protests were aimed at reclaiming his victory in the 2022 August polls, which he claims were rigged in favour of Ruto.
"Let us all converge in the CBD and begin our grand March to State House to reclaim our stolen victory,” Raila said.
The former prime minister has listed six reasons for the opposition's calls for peaceful demonstrations, including President Ruto's refusal to allow the audit of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers and the high cost of living.
Other grounds include nepotism in the current administration, lack of consultations in the reconstitution of IEBC, broken promises and the legitimacy of Ruto's government.