Kenya: Nasa Says Will Defy Matiangi Ban on Protests

Protestors take bath using water from one of the pipes that were broken by vandals along Oginga-Odinga Street in Kisumu.
12 October 2017

Nairobi — Rarieda lawmaker Otiende Amollo has said the National Super Alliance (NASA) will defy a directive from the Ministry of Interior banning protesters from accessing the Central Business Districts in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu.

Amollo who was reacting to an order by the Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, who announced the ban on Thursday, said NASA will proceed with its weekly demonstrations in total disregard of the order.

"If you notify the police on an intended demonstration, you do not require any response from the police except if somebody else has booked the venue where you intend to demonstrate (in which case you will be asked to change the date) or if there's any danger to your life or limb as the person who's going to demonstrate," Amollo argued in response to Matiangi's directive.

While issuing the directive, CS Matiangi stated that it is the responsibility of those organising protests to ensure they are peaceful and orderly.

He said that organisers of demonstrations or processions will be required to strictly adhere to provisions of the law and ensure a formal notification is given to the police when planning protests.

"The police must issue a formal notification either allowing the demonstrations or providing reasons why not to allow," Matiangi directed.

Amollo, while sharing in Matiangi's concerns on disruption of businesses during demos in the recent past, insisted that persons who write to the police notifying them of processions need no clearance from the security agencies.

He faulted Matiangi's intended action against NASA Executive Director Norman Magaya for allegedly failing to contain demonstrators who went on the rampage looting businesses in Nairobi and Kisumu saying it is the responsibility of security services to secure businesses.

"The police have the responsibility to protect both the demonstrator, businesses and other Kenyans are protected. It is not true that the police need to write back to a person notifying them of a demonstration and confirm availability," Amollo said.

Matiangi vowed to crack the whip on Magaya for looting incidences witnessed in Nairobi's CBD during NASA demonstrations on Wednesday.

"On 6th October 2017, Magaya notified the Nairobi County Police Commander on the intention to hold peaceful demonstrations in Nairobi. During that demonstration serious cases of destruction of public property, looting, vandalising of vehicles and destruction of normal lives were witnessed," the CS said.

"The law provides that the organisers shall be held personally liable for any breach of law during demonstrations," he added.

Matiangi called on those who lost or had their properties destroyed during the said demos to record statements with the officer commanding Nairobi Central Police Station so as to facilitate Magaya's charging in court.

"We're waiting for a report on the damages caused so that we can quantify the claims," Matiangi stated.

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