IG J*phet Koome outlaws Wednesday demos

Tuesday, July 11th, 2023 20:05 | By
Police IG Japheth Koome
Police IG Japhet Koome. PHOTO/Courtesy

Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome has declared illegal all demonstrations scheduled for Wednesday, July 12, 2023.

In a statement on Tuesday, Koome said that no grouping had alerted the police of any planned protests, hence no demonstrations would be allowed across the country.

"It has come to the attention of the National Police Service through the media, about groups/persons that are planning to hold public demonstrations/protests/gatherings across the country, on Wednesday, July 12, 2023," Koome stated.

"Consequently, and in the interest of national security, the National Police Service wishes to inform the public that in the absence of notifications by planners of any demonstrations as a legal prerequisite to enable Police to provide adequate security to demonstrators and the public, police have no other option but to take necessary measures to disperse all illegal demonstrations."

Koome vs Azimio

The ban comes hours before countrywide demonstrations planned by Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition party, which is seeking a repeal of the Finance Act 2023.

"In this regard, no such demonstrations/gatherings/protests will be allowed tomorrow since no such notification has been presented to any police station. All lawful means will be used to disperse such demonstrations," Koome added.

"While the Constitutional provision under Article 37 guarantees freedom of assembly, picketing, and petitioning, our statistics this year have clearly shown that such demonstrations have not only left behind a trail of massive destruction of property worth millions of Shillings but also led to the death of innocent members of the public and law enforcement officers."

Azimio announced that it will hold a rally at Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi before proceeding to the streets to demonstrate.

"We are back tomorrow, at Kamkunji in Nairobi and Kamkunjis elsewhere across the country," Azimio said in a statement.

Through the demos, Azimio says it is also pushing for a bipartisan reconstitution of the IEBC, an audit of the 2022 elections and an end to the invasion and compromising of parties and MPs.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced that at least six people lost their lives on Friday, July 7, 2023, during the Saba Saba protests.

"Last Friday, during the mass protests, six people were killed and others injured, including security officers. Freedom of association and the right to demonstrate/picket do not include the right to cause mayhem and loot property," Kindiki stated.

At least 73 activists were arrested on Friday during the demos, although they were later released without any charges.

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