12 November 2017

Kenya: Police Urge Nasa Leaders to Adhere to the Law in Planned Demos

Nairobi — Nairobi Police boss Japheth Koome has urged NASA leaders to strictly adhere to the law in their planned demonstrations this week.

Koome said police have not received notification of a public gathering or demonstration in the city, contrary to claims by some of the NASA leaders who are planning to hold rallies and demonstrations.

"There are a lot of activities this coming week. We shall have the Supreme Court sitting then we are hearing that there will be demonstrations which are illegal," said Koome even as supporters of the National Super Alliance planned to start gathering at Jacaranda Grounds in Nairobi, Sunday afternoon.

He warned that politicians organizing illegal demonstrations will be held personally liable in the event of any injuries or destruction of property.

Several injuries were reported in past demonstrations by Opposition coalition NASA, including people ran over by vehicles during a standoff with police or while attempting to block roads in the capital, Nairobi.

"If 2,000 people come (to the city) and you have not notified the police, and people get injured, what happens?" Koome asked.

The Public Order Act Chapter 56 of the laws of Kenya prescribes organizers of public demonstrations and processions should notify the local police commander, "at least three days but not more than fourteen days before the proposed date of the public procession."

The Act also requires that the notice should contain; full names and physical address of the organizer of the public meeting, proposed date of the procession, time, the location of the meeting or route of the procession.

The National Super Alliance had earlier this week indefinitely put off protests calling for electoral reforms but the political alliance has today called for a meeting at Jacaranda in Nairobi's Eastlands area.

Koome has however, warned that the police will take action on any person causing a breach of peace and a breakdown of law and order.

"We are ready to deal with any eventualities."

The demonstrations come at a time the Supreme Court is set to start hearing three petitions filed to challenge the validity of the October repeat presidential election boycotted by NASA leader Raila Odinga, even though his name was retained on the ballot.

Of the three petitions, one was jointly filed by activists Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa, the other two by former Kilome MP Harun Mwau and the Institute for Democratic Governance.

The petitioners argue that the repeat election was not conducted within the confines of the law, and was largely marred by violence in some parts of the country--while others say there ought to have been fresh nomination of the candidates.

It is the second time the Supreme Court will be convening next week to hear a presidential petition this year, after nullifying the August presidential election due to irregularities and illegalities in a case lodged by NASA leader Raila Odinga who lost to incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Even though Odinga did not file a petition in the repeat poll, he has described it as a sham election and is now agitating for the formation of a coalition government where he will share power will Kenyatta so as to prepare a fresh election in three months time.

Kenyatta, who won the repeat poll boycotted by his rival Odinga, is opposed to this and has said he will subject himself to the legal guidelines until the Supreme Court delivers its outcome.

Kenya

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