By JEREMIAH WAKAYA, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – The government has banned demonstrations within the Central Business Districts in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu following the destruction of property that has been recently witnessed during National Super Alliance (NASA) protests.
In a press conference held at the Harambee House Thursday afternoon, Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said city centres will be a no-go zone for protesters, adding that the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government will issue guidelines governing the conduct of public processions and demonstrations.
“Peaceful demonstrations are allowed by the Constitution but there’s a law and a framework within that has got to be done. We cannot take advantage to destroy property and businesses of innocent people,” he said warning of tough consequences.
Matiangi stated that it is the responsibility of organizers of a demonstration to ensure they are peaceful and orderly.
He said that organizers of demonstrations or processions will be required to strictly adhere to provisions of the law to ensure a formal notification is given to the police when organizing protests.
“The police must issue a formal notification either allowing the demonstrations or providing reasons why not to allow,” Matiangi directed.
“The law provides that the organizers shall be held personally liable for any breach of law during demonstrations,” he added.
Matiangi further instructed anyone whose property was destroyed during Opposition protests in recent times to report to police so as to facilitate the prosecution of NASA Executive Director Norman Magaya.
Specifically, Matiangi said the State will be preferring charges against Magaya in connection to his role in looting and destruction of property during the NASA protests.
“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, vandalizing of vehicles and destruction of normal lives were witnessed,” the CS said.
“We’re waiting for a report on the damages caused so that we can quantify the claims,” Matiangi stated.
The CS who held a meeting with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance on Thursday morning assured of the government’s commitment to protecting businesses.
He assured the business community that all persons who have notified the police of the intention to hold demonstrations which have turned destructive will be held liable.