Peaceful protests possible

What you need to know:

  • The well-attended concerts had been preceded by prayers in various churches.
  • There was a heavy police presence during the concerts, which is as it is supposed to be.

Peace prevailed on Sunday as thousands turned up in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu to attend concerts in honour of the young people who were killed in the recent anti-tax protests.

This also marked the Saba Saba Day, July 7, which commemorates the bitter struggle in the 1990s for democracy and human rights.

It was a stark contrast to the brutal police repression of the Generation Z protests against the unpopular Finance Bill, 2024.

On Sunday, there was no need for the copious amounts of teargas and water cannon that have been unleashed on people, whose only sin was to exercise their constitutional right to stage peaceful demonstrations.

During the concerts, there was a show of immense love for one another, as police also just watched the proceedings. And some young Kenyans were happy to take photos with the officers in combat gear.

Repression by overzealous officers

The peaceful Kenyans at Uhuru Park in Nairobi and in Mombasa and Kisumu have literally shamed the National Police Service leadership and the brutal officers. The well-organised and well-attended concerts had been preceded by prayers in various churches.

The message from this successful event is that the lives that have been lost and the injuries to hundreds of protesters and destruction of property in recent days could easily have been avoided.

There was a heavy police presence during the concerts, which is as it is supposed to be. But the officers should only be on the lookout to prevent such protests from degenerating into mayhem.

But during the Gen Z protests there has been sheer repression by overzealous officers, who ended up using live bullets to kill innocent people.

The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to peacefully gather or march to express their grievances or present petitions.

To restore public confidence in the security agencies, the authorities should identify and bring to book the officers who killed some protesters and injured others.