My security was withdrawn after arrest—Wandayi

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023 01:20 | By
Azimio legislators led by Minority Leader in the National Assembly Opiyo Wandayi (centre) address a press conference at Parliament buildings yesterday. PD/ Kenna CLAUDE 

Three lawmakers who were arrested on Monday during demonstrations called by Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga yesterday narrated the tribulations they underwent in the hands of the police.

Addressing a press conference in Nairobi, the MPs who were in the company of other Azimio leaders, claimed they were harassed during and after the arrest.

The Leader of Minority in the National Assembly Opiyo Wandayi claimed his security detail had been withdrawn following his participation in the protests.

“The police have withdrawn my security. I am not worried. I am protected by God,” said Wandayi.

He said after he was arrested, the police took him from one police station to another.

“They took me around like a terrorist from Central Police Station to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) offices on Kiambu Road then to Limuru. At around 6:30pm, long after working hours, they released me on Sh50,000 bond,” said Wandayi.

Kanu days

He added: “Kenyans from all walks of life did us proud. The movement is more than just Azimio la Umoja. It is growing by the day. Those who turned up belong to all political formations. This can no longer be trivialised the way Kenya Kwanza takes it. We are in this for the long haul. If anyone’s thinking this will end soon, he is dreaming. It will not be okay until all our demands are met. The chest-thumping will soon end. Police should stop arbitrary arrests.”

Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga said the manner in which they were arrested was inhumane and accused President William Ruto of trying to take the country back to the Kanu days when the right to picket was not guaranteed.

Senate Minority Leader Stewart Madzayo also condemned the arrests.

“Our protest was successful yesterday despite the arrests which were carried out in a very inhumane manner. Despite this our demands such as lowering cost of living must be respected and we will not relent,” he said.

During the press conference, Azimio la Umoja MPs told President Ruto that they will continue with the protests every week until their demands are met.

Wandayi, Minority Whip Junet Mohammed and Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna said the government must not deny them their constitutional right to demonstrate.

Mohammed accused the police of “causing chaos and violence yet the protest were peaceful”.

“How can Raila be above the law and the Constitution that he fought for? You cannot accuse the same person to be above the law. How? If he wanted to be above the law, he wouldn’t have fought for the Constitution,” said Mohammed.

Sifuna said they had identified police officers who used excessive force against protesters.

“The demonstrations were to be very peaceful. We asked our supporters to be unarmed. It was peaceful until police interfered. We have identified two officers who were captured on camera aiming live rounds at us and we will be presenting their names to IPOA (Independent Policing Oversight Authority) so that necessary action is taken against them,” he stated.

He added: “A person purporting to respect the law is the same one abusing the law. If you barricade access to a public office, how do we access the office? Demonstrations were not about Azimio but about every Kenyan who is tired of the excesses of the Ruto government.”

Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi claimed there was a plot to assassinate some opposition politicians to silence them.

Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to turn its focus on happenings in Kenya.

“You cannot have a situation where people are exercising their rights under the Constitution Article 37 and police from nowhere decide to throw teargas canisters and even bullets at them...we want ICC to take serious attention and people must bear personal responsibility,” he said.

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