The National Police Service has declared planned anti-government protests by Azimio la Umoja One-Kenya coalition illegal.
In a statement, Deputy Inspector General of Police Noor Gabow said that previous demos by Azimio had trends of criminal incidents including destruction of property, arson, robbery, looting, injuries to officers, and even the death of a police officer
"The National Police Service wishes to communicate regarding the demonstration by Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Alliance planned for Nairobi on 2nd May 2023. Undisputedly, the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 under Article 37 stipulates that every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, demonstrate, picket, and present petitions to public authorities. Notwithstanding, the Public Order Management Act, 2012 Part III regulates public gatherings by prohibiting offensive weapons at public meetings and processions," Gabow said.
"Evidently, recent Azimio—One Kenya Alliance protests have been symptomatic of unacceptable trend of criminal incidents including wanton destruction of property, arson, robbery, looting, injuries to Officers, and even death of a Police Officer, a phenomenon that should not continue."
According to Gabow, the demos will not be allowed "in the interest of national security".
"In the interest of national security, we wish to notify the public that the planned demonstration or assembly is unlawful and affirm our earlier unequivocal staternents condemning violent protests and the public attacks on Law Enforcement Officers on duty. Since the beginning of Azimio protests last year, our Officers have responded with utmost restraint despite the provocation by the illegal protestors again. Police. We wish to reiterate our responsibility to maintain law and order; and enforce the law without fear or favor, strictly complying with the rule of law and respect for human rights," he added.
This comes hours after Azimio leader Raila Odinga claimed that Azimio leaders received threats to their lives because of the planned demonstrations slated for May 2, 2023.
“The warnings have included repeated threats of assassination of Azimio leaders from Mr. Rigathi Gachagua and Mr. Moses Kuria. The latest grim warning has come from Hon. William Ruto, who yesterday vowed to stop the planned demonstrations at all costs and declared them “nonsense”,” Raila said.
Raila maintained that the opposition outfit will go on with the planned demos since the constitution provides that every person has the right to peaceably and unarmed assembly and to demonstrate, picket, and present petitions to public authorities.
“Unless Mr Ruto wants to suspend the constitution and rule by decree, we will exercise our right to assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions on Tuesday, 2nd May 2023, as earlier announced, dark threats notwithstanding,” Raila said.
The Azimio leader further noted that he was ready for any eventuality should the government decide to turn the planned demos into a showdown.
Azimio is planning to present a petition to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) showing that the election results were doctored and demand an audit of the servers.
Azimio will also petition the IEBC against the sacking of four commissioners, which they claim was a dangerous precedent in which in all future elections, all commissioners would be required to agree with the chairperson of IEBC, effectively making election a one person show.
The coalition also plans to present a petition to the Office of the President proving that the cost of food, fuel, electricity and fees remain unacceptably high.