A trader has filed a lawsuit in court to stop Azimio la Umoja Coalition's plans to have a third wave of anti-government demonstrations in the country from Wednesday to Friday.
The trader, Martin Gitau, has filed an application under a certificate of urgency at the Milimani High Court seeking an order to halt the upcoming mass protests organized by the Azimio Coalition.
Gitau argues that previous similar protests have resulted in loss of lives and destruction of property, and have the potential to plunge the country into a state of chaos.
He argues that if not stopped the demonstrations will trigger massive violence, disorder, and destruction besides the loss of lives of innocent members of the public and law enforcement officers.
"Contrary to the law, the respondents (Raila, Uhuru, Azimio la Umoja coalition and ODM) continue to mastermind, orchestrate and sponsor a systemic campaign of violent protests, chaos, destruction and death of innocent citizens as well as security officers," says Gitau in his court papers.
"Pending the hearing and determination of the application and petition inter partes the court be pleased to issue a temporary order restraining the respondents(Azimio coalition Raila and Uhuru), their agents, servants, supporters and/or any person whatsoever from holding violent protests, barricading roads, destroying critical infrastructure, disrupting the lives of non-demonstrators or in any manner using the subsisting democratic space to destroy property, intimidate disinterested persons or to loot business premises," seeks Gitau.
The petitioner through lawyer Adrain Kamotho also wants the court to issue an order stopping the Attorney General from releasing or disbursing any share or further allocation of the Political Parties Fund within the meaning of section 25 of the Political Parties Act, 2011, to the ODM and Azimio la Umoja Coalition pending the determination of the suit.
Gitau also wants the government and Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK) to be ordered to furnish in court a quantified matrix of loss, cost and damage accruing from the protests previously organised by the political outfit.
He wants the alleged loss to cover deaths, persons injured, impairment of critical infrastructure, property destroyed, goods looted and assets degraded.
In his application for court orders, Gitau recounts the events of the recent Sabasaba demonstrations, highlighting the alarming level of violence, chaos, widespread looting, and extensive destruction of both private and public property.
"Thereafter, Raila held a press conference wherein he proceeded to announce and declare that there would be weekly demonstrations and/ or protests in the entire country commencing on July 12, 2023, with the aim of piling unwarranted pressure on the government to act on demands unknown to law," says Gitau.
He says that although the inspector general of police had stated that the subsequent demos planned for July 12 were illegal because the planners had failed to notify the National Police Service, the opposition leaders incited their supporters to carry on with the violent protest in different parts of the country.
"During the entire span of unlawful protests, the demonstrators vandalized both public and private properties, looted business premises, barricaded roads with tire-lit fires, and indiscriminately disrupted the day-to-today business operations of other Kenyans," Gitau adds.
The petitioner also says that with the protests orchestrated by the Azimio, business in all the affected areas was thrust to a standstill and the transport system was extremely paralyzed, emergency services were interrupted in a fashion that negatively impacts the struggling economy.
Gitau contends that whereas Article 37 of the Constitution secures the right to, peaceably and unarmed, assemble, demonstrate, picket, and present petitions to public authorities, the respondents have abused the said rights and resorted to rioting, hooliganism, vandalism, primitive destruction and mindless conduct that is inherently incompatible with the overall enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedom.
The petition is pending hearing directions.