Security was heightened on roads around State House, Nairobi Monday ahead of a protest march by Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Roads blocks were erected by armed police who stopped and searched vehicles to ensure supporters of the Opposition chief do not find their way to the seat of power.
On Sunday, Nairobi police chief Adamson Bungei outlawed the planned protest march, saying its organisers had not met the requirements of the law to hold a demonstration.
Bungei insisted the protests slated for Monday contravene the Public Order Act, 2021 and pose a threat to peace.
Bungei said they had received requests from two groups (Nairobi business community and the Azimio coalition) intending to hold protests on the same day and decided to grant none the permit to protest.
“We are in receipt of two requests that came late yesterday and today in the m morning. One was from Azimio la Umoja One Kenya and another from the Nairobi business community, the two groups intended to have peaceful demos. But for public safety none has been granted,” he said.
Odinga however, vowed to go on with the march, and urged his supporters to convene at KICC before he leads them to State House to protest against the high cost of living and the presidential victory he claims was stolen from him.
“We are determined to march to State House because we are not happy with the way Ruto is running this country. I have sufficient evidence that he did not win the election of August 2022,” Odinga said.
Ruto has said police are under firm instructions to deal with demonstrators within the law, and laughed off Odinga’s claims of reclaiming victory.
“The elections are over and all the legal processes were followed. Odinga must respect the people of Kenya and the institutions including the electoral commission and the Supreme Court,” he said, “therefore, I am not going to entertain his theatrics that he is used to intimidate governments to accomodate him.”
The Public Orders Act, 2012 provides that any person intending to convene any meeting or a public procession shall notify the regulating officer of such intent at least three days but not more than fourteen days before the proposed date of the public meeting.
Bungei said the two groups did not meet the threshold to be allowed to carry on with planned protests and warned of dire consequences should any of the formations break the law.
“However, anyone who breach the peace or break the law during the procession shall be dealt with according to the law.”
Bungei assured Kenyans that their security and that of their properties is guaranteed.
“We wish to assure Kenyans within the city of Nairobi that we have taken appropriate security measures to ensure public safety and freedom of movement at all levels,” he added.
Bungei affirmed that State House remains out of bounds for any picketers.
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