Nairobi Regional Police Commander Adamson Bungei on Sunday, April 30 banned Azimio la Umoja coalition leader, Raila Odinga from staging mass demonstrations scheduled for Tuesday, May 2.
Speaking at the Regional Police Headquarters, Bungei stated that despite Azimio’s notice that they would take to the streets, they would not be allowed to protest owing to the previous demonstrations that were marred with violence and death.
Commander Bungei had faulted Azimio for failing to meet the threshold of peaceful protests stipulated in Section 37 of the constitution and Section 5 of the Public Order Act, further claiming that the coalition violated Section 5 of the Public Order Act which allows for peaceful and unarmed demonstrations.
“As much as you are allowed by article 37 (to protest), there is also subsection 5 of the same that allows the police to regulate the same procession,” he said.
“Assemblies which are not peaceful are excluded from the protection of the article. Once you do not meet the requirements of section 5, we have the mandate to ensure that it is regulated and managed.”
Bungei also revealed that Azimio’s protests resulted in the destruction of property and the loss of lives, thus the decision to block the coalition from conducting the protests.
“Previous demonstrations were marred with violence as the demonstrators were armed with machetes and attacked members of the public resulting in the destruction of public property and loss of lives,” stated Bungei.
“By this, we are declining to allow the Azimio team the go-ahead to proceed with the demonstration, and any such demonstration will be dispersed by law enforcement officers.”
He further revealed that the directive was issued in consultation with Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome and would be implemented effectively.
“There will be no demonstrations within the Nairobi City. Any such demonstrations will be dispersed by law enforcement agencies,” Bungei noted.
The police boss, however, intimated that the police would have considered Azimio’s application if Odinga had applied to conduct demonstrations along one street in Nairobi.
National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi revealed plans to hold mass action protests after Raila’s return from Dubai.
Azimio la Umoja Executive Council chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya in a letter dated April 24 notified the Nairobi Central Police Station that it would stage its public procession in the Central Business District (CBD), listing four major streets.
They include Moi Avenue, Kenyatta Avenue, Haile Selassie Avenue, and Harambee Avenue. Azimio further confirmed their intention to submit a written petition to the government at Harambee House.
“The meetings/processions will take place in the major streets of Moi Avenue, Kenyatta Avenue, Haile Selassie Avenue, and Harambee Avenue that fall within your jurisdiction from dawn to dusk i.e from six o’clock in the morning to six o’clock in the afternoon,” Oparanya stated in part.
Azimio threatened to return to the streets over, claims that the Kenya Kwanza coalition failed to commit to holding constructive bipartisan talks.