Kenya: Politicians to Seek Police Authorization for Gatherings - Kinyua

DP William Ruto and former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama address a rally after attending a church service at St Paul’s ACK Church in Athi River on September 7.
7 October 2020

Nairobi — The National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) now says politicians intending to hold public meetings and gatherings will be required to notify the Officer Commanding Station of the given area three days prior.

Conveners of the meetings will be required to obey orders given to them by the OCSs, or any other officer of or above the rank of inspector, and also assist the police in the maintenance of peace and order at the meeting.

Head of Public Service Joshua Kinyua made the announcement on Wednesday after chairing the NSAC, following increased political tension amid jolting over the 2022 succession race.

The statement by Kinyua, coming in the wake of chaos in Murang'a county on Sunday which resulted in two deaths was however dismissed as insincere by a section of leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto.

The leaders who accused anti-Ruto leaders of orchestrating the chaos with the blessings of highly placed officials in the National Police Service denied involvements in the violence witnessed ahead of Ruto's arrival for a fundraiser at a local church.

"The Greatest threat to our National Security is not social media or public/political gatherings.Greatest threat to our National Security is deceit, wrangles and fights at the highest level of government and the governing Party. Kinyua's statement is panic button for the side that has lost the public," Senator Kipchumba Murkomen charged.

Kinyua said politicians convening the meetings have also been asked to be peaceful at all times, and to remain at designated places of meetings while ensuring they don't abuse, demean or stereotype other people.

"The convener or any person intending to hold a public meeting or a public prosecution that shall notify the OCS of such intent at least three days but not more than fourteen days before the proposed date of the public meeting or procession," said Kinyua.

The Head of Public Service further said people who choose to attend the meetings or processions will be required to be peaceful at all times and not be in a possession of any weapon.

They are also required to respect freedom of expression of other people, and not abuse, exclude or demean other people, Kinyua said.

Kenyans have been urged to exercise restraint and remain each other's keeper by strictly adhering to the issued directives, in order to promote peaceful coexistence and security of the country.

Social media users and media houses will also be personally be held liable for posts and publications that jeopardize public safety, the public service chief.

Administrators of social media platforms will be responsible for moderating and controlling any undesirable content their platforms.

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