Ensure peace, law and order during protests
Tomorrow could turn out to be a really bad day for the country if those for and those against the Azimio-organised countrywide demonstrations over the high cost of living and the last elections do not act responsibly.
Of course, the Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja Coalition Party is within its constitutional right to picket or peacefully protest against the government. The only problem is the possibility of lawless gangs taking advantage of this to rob, loot and cause mayhem. It is the responsibility of the organisers to ensure that this does not happen. However, past experience has shown that things often get out of control.
The other grave risk emanates from heavy-handed actions by the authorities to ostensibly protect those not involved in the demos. Past experience is replete with tales of strong-arm tactics by security personnel, who violently break up peaceful demonstrations. The brute force used by the police attracts a harsh response and the confrontation results in serious injuries or even deaths.
We hope that the country will not be plunged into chaos, as it is possible for the protesters to convey their messages and peacefully return to their homes.
It is everyone’s responsibility, and especially the leaders on both sides of the political divide, to ensure that peace prevails. It can never be more urgent than tomorrow’s planned protests. The Azimio Coalition Party leadership must not just sensitise, but also prevail upon members and supporters to observe law and order during the protests.
For their part, the Kenya Kwanza Alliance leaders must also avoid any confrontational rhetoric that can fan tension and spark violence.
The police must strictly play their non-partisan role here and protect the protesters to exercise their constitutional right, but must also deal firmly with those who break the law. People going about their own business to earn their daily bread or those who will be taking their children back to school after the half-term break must be protected.
This country belongs to all of us and must be safeguarded, hence the need to enforce law and order and ensure the security of all the citizens irrespective of their political affiliation.