The government will not interfere with demonstrations and other political protests by the Opposition and other groups as long as they are held peacefully and their details shared with the police in advance.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof. Kithure Kindiki said such activities were provided for in the Constitution and will therefore be protected but on condition the organizers commit to uphold the law and refrain from violence and the harassment of other people including those who may be opposed to such activities.
“Demonstrations, picketing, and airing of grievances, meetings and assembly must be peaceful. We expect those who are engaging in this activity to respect our Constitution and the law,” he said, citing Article 37 of the Constitution.
The CS warned the government will act decisively against any violent and chaotic conduct such as looting, harassment and disruption of businesses under the guise of protests.
“These activities and events must be unarmed. Anybody carrying any weapon, including rocks, stones, and other material that can hurt other people would be in violation of our Constitution. You must not encroach on the rights of other people who are not interested or even bothered with what you’re doing. Their businesses must be protected,” he stated.
Prof. Kindiki further asked the Opposition to formally present the schedule, frequency and nature of its planned events to enable the government to make necessary security arrangements and support.
He added that the country has competing demands and security expectations, and added that such information will inform key decisions on the deployment of available police officers.
He said: “We cannot deploy the entire contingent of our police service just because of one section of society. We need to know the requirements they need so that we can balance them with the other needs that also require our services.”
The CS reiterated that the government will not engage in partisan policing or use security agencies to advance political causes, and that it will respect the independence of all constitutional institutions in the country.
The CS, who was flanked by Interior PS Dr Raymond Omollo, Deputy Inspector General of Police Noor Gabow and other senior security officials said police will remain neutral in political disputes. “We will not politicize security. If we do so we endanger the country. The future of this country lies in our institutions… We are therefore not interested in the agenda that those who want to protest this week are engaged in so long as its lawful agenda.”
The CS who briefed the media on the state of security in the country said police had heightened vigilance around the festive season.
He said dedicated departments on mental health will be set aside in the the National Police Hospital in in Mbagathi Nairobi, the Kenya Prisons Hospital in Ruiru and the Border Police Hospital in Kanyonyo, Kitui County that will soon open to security forces.
On the ongoing war against banditry and livestock rustling in the North Rift, the CS announced that more resources will be procured under the Police Equipment Modernization Scheme to raise available capacity for specialized police formations.
He particularly called for vigilance from members of the public against terrorism even as security agencies progressively intensify operations to deter and prevent the global threat and other forms of criminality across the country.