Interior CS Kithure Kindiki has told police not to interfere with Kenyans who assemble for purposes of either picketing or demonstrating so long as they do so peacefully.
Speaking at his home in Tharaka Nithi during a security baraza with residents, the CS said police have no reason to confront armed protesters who are exercising their right to picket or demonstrate.
“Kama wananchi hawana silaha, wachana na wananchi waseme mambo yao (If citizens are unarmed, let them say whatever they want to say),” Kindiki said.
“Kama hawajabeba silaha, hawaumizi mtu, hawavunji duka ya mtu wacha waongee mambo yao. Ikifika jioni wataenda nyumbani, ikiwezekana wasindikishwe (If they are not armed, they are not hurting anyone (and) they are not breaking anyone’s shop, let them express themselves. Come evening, they will go home, if possible escort them).”
It is not yet clear whether his remarks were in reference to Friday’s clash between security officers and protesters who were participating in Saba Saba demonstrators.
Police fired teargas and used water canons to prevent the demonstrators from accessing the Central Business District after they left Kamukunji grounds where they had been addressed by Azimio leader Raila Odinga.
Raila had told the protesters to use whatever means to access Central Park where he would address them and give further directions concerning resumption of the weekly demonstrations.
The opposition chief would later be allowed to cut through the CBD but some of his supporters were blocked and sprayed with water canons.
Kindiki said such actions by the police against unarmed citizens are uncalled for.
“Kuna wenzetu katika idara ya usalama, wachache pia ambao wanatumia nguvu visivyo na hiyo haitakubalika (There are a number of our coleagues in the security department, few of them who abuse their power and that will not be allowed),” Kindiki said.