IG Koome confirms withdrawal of Azimio leaders’ security
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome on Sunday, March 26, 2023, confirmed the withdrawal of security detail of a section of leaders allied to the opposition amid calls for demonstrations to protest against the high cost of living in the country on Monday and Thursday.
Addressing members of the press in Nairobi, Koome explained that the National Police Service (NPS) withdrew the leaders' security over their involvement in the anti-government protests on Monday, March 20.
The police boss faulted the leaders, who include members of parliament, for confronting anti-riot officers deployed to quell the protests, saying some of the lawmakers hurled stones at the police.
"The IG will give all VIPS security. But there is no way I can give you security if you use the same privilege to throw stones at me. So It's true, all those who have been involved in throwing stones at the police I have withdrawn their security," Koome said.
Several MPs allied to the opposition's Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition have protested the withdrawal of their security after taking part in the Monday protests.
Some of the lawmakers include National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi and Embakasi East MP Paul Ongili alias Babu Owino.
Wandayi was among four members of parliament arrested on Monday for leading protests in Nairobi's Central Business District (CBD).
“The police have withdrawn my security. I am not worried. I am protected by God,” Wandayi said.
Wandayi was arrested alongside Kilifi Senator and minority leader Stewart Madzayo, Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga and Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi.
The leaders were arraigned in court on Thursday and charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly.
Kahawa Principal Magistrate Gideon Owenga released them on Ksh300,000 bond or Ksh50,000 cash bail each.
As the opposition readies for the second round of protests on Monday, Koome warned that the demos are illegal.
He threatened to arrest any leader found leading protests in any part of the country irrespective of their social status.
"We have visitors from many foreign nations and we will not allow anything to happen in our capital city. Everyone has the right to go into the city centre," Koome said.
"I have the mandate to ensure that I protect lives and property and I am very good at that. I will not sleep on the job. Whichever level or status you have in society. I have enough land cruisers to take you away to jail and be there for a lifetime."
Koome urged Kenyans to go on freely with their lawful businesses tomorrow and called upon the police to carry on with their work, without fear or intimidation.