The Orange Democratic Party (ODM) has claimed that the government ordered the withdrawal of personal security attached to its leader Raila Odinga and his former running mate Martha Karua.
The statement on Tuesday, May 2 further noted that the security of Wiper leader, Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila’s wife Ida Odinga were also taken away.
ODM added that the move was made by the government as they carried out mass protests across the country.
“The Ruto government has ordered the immediate withdrawal of security details of Raila Odinga, Martha Karua and Kalonzo Musyoka together with those of other elected leaders in Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition,” read the statement in part.
ODM Communications Director Philip Etale countered by revealing that the withdrawal of security would not stop the opposition from putting pressure on the current regime to meet its demands.
“Even with the withdrawal of security detail of Raila Odinga, Martha Karua and Kalonzo Musyoka, Azimio supporters are undeterred. They will provide 24-hour security to their leaders,” he stated.
Reports had indicated that the coalition was holed up in a meeting at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation in Upper Hill, Nairobi, discussing, among other issues, the bipartisan talks, as the protests were going on.
They stated that police officers were deployed across different areas in Nairobi which stopped them from presenting their petitions as they had previously planned.
Raila responded to the demonstrations by urging the police to respect the rights of the protesters, adding that some of his staff had suffered while under attack by police officers.
“Our media team’s equipment was destroyed by the police as they lobbed teargas at a petrol station,” Raila claimed on Twitter.
A contingent of anti-riot police officers blocked access to the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) at Fig Tree Hotel, Ngara and Landhies Road, preventing Raila from gaining entry to the city.
Azimio Members of Parliament (MP) who marched to present a petition to the office of the President at Harambee House were earlier teargassed by police officers.
“My 50 colleagues and I have been teargassed outside the Office of the President as we marched peacefully to deliver the People’s Petition. Gachagua told us we know where to find them. We do. We went there and instead met Police,” Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna tweeted.
At the same time, a lorry and a matatu were destroyed during the protests, with both being set on fire as police engaged protesters in running battles across the country.