Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has broken his silence on the Monday invasion of former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Northlands farm and former prime minister Raila Odinga’s gas cylinder firm.
On the Northlands invasion, Prof Kindiki said the police response “was not as quick owing to operational constraints caused by the protests that were taking place.”
He, however, celebrated the quick repulsion of would-be vandals in Mr Odinga’s gas cylinder farm in Nairobi.
Prof Kindiki, who had maintained silence —save for a tweet on Monday evening calling for a stop to what he said was a slide to anarchy—said he will ban ‘violent’ protests, whether or not they were approved and planned, saying they had become a serious threat to national security.
“The current portrait of anarchy and the unfolding criminal madness must stop. Only firm enforcement of the law stands between us and lawlessness and full-blown chaos. Any aggravation of the prevailing situation would certainly set back the country. We must halt the descent,” Prof Kindiki said in a statement.
Demonstrations that lead to destruction, he said, will not be allowed.
“No more violent protests shall be allowed anywhere in Kenya. With or without notices, demonstrations and protests of any type which injures people, security officers, businesses and property shall be prevented at all costs,” the Interior boss said.
He promised to issue new policy directives to Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome by Friday that he said will ensure public safety during demonstrations, arrest and prosecution of those that destroy private property during protests, protection of private businesses, including those facing attacks and those that suspect they might be targets for attack.
“The policy drives shall specify the provision of security to all persons whose private property has been violated and/or looted during the protests and to any other person with established, well-founded fear or apprehension that their property is or may be the target of violation, destruction and/or looting,” he said.
On Kisumu and Nairobi — which have been the centre of the protests by supporters of Mr Odinga — Prof Kindiki wants the police to ensure round-the-clock security.
“All streets, estates and neighbourhoods in Nairobi, Kisumu and any other place where there are reasonable grounds to believe that violent protests may erupt in the future be provided with round-the-clock security to ensure that law-abiding persons go about their activities without intimidation, threats or disruption of their daily activities,” he said.
He went on: “On the basis of what transpired on Monday last week, the National Police Service rightfully and lawfully determined that the protests pose a clear, present and imminent danger of a breach of the peace and public order.”
On the destruction so far, Prof Kindiki said: “A Police vehicle was burnt to ashes while public facilities were vandalised in the orgy of violence. So far, 2 civilians have been killed during the protests, while 51 police officers and 85 civilians have been injured. Ethnically-laced arson was executed in the Kibra suburb of Nairobi, while a church and a mosque were burnt down before the police rushed in to quell the clashes. Journalists were robbed and attacked by knife-wielding gangs as they covered the protests.”
The interior boss warned against the wearing of special uniforms by the protesters, saying it was against the law.
“Some of the members of one of the political groups have gone further to design and don uniforms of their ‘movement” in clear breach of Section 4(1)(b)(ii) of the Public Order Act (Cap. 56,
Laws of Kenya), which prohibits wearing of uniforms, distinctive dresses or emblems by members of any political group or organisation if such is aimed at the use or display of physical force in furtherance of political objectives. Those wearing such uniforms, dresses or emblems must cease immediately,” he said.