Azimio MPs want those arrested during protests freed unconditionally

Azimio MPS

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party parliamentary group led by Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna address journalists at Parliament Buildings where they condemned police brutality during demonstrations. 

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru I Nation Media Group

Azimio leaders have called for unconditional release of protesters arrested by the police during Monday demonstrations.

Further, the leaders have called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take keen interest in events unfolding in the country with a view to having individuals implicated in human right abuses held accountable.

The MPs also demanded that police officers who used live bullets on protestors on Monday as well as perpetrated other human right abuses face disciplinary action.

This comes after the National Police Service confirmed that 238 protestors were arrested by police in Nairobi and Kisumu counties during the anti-government protests.

The numbers, according to Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome, include four Azimio leaders who were released on Monday evening and are expected in court on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference at Parliament Buildings on Tuesday, National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, who was one of the arrested Opposition leaders, lashed out at the government for arbitrary arrest of Kenyans exercising their democratic rights.

He further called on the government to unconditionally release youth arrested by the police across the country.

“It is the police who can decide whether a demonstration will be peaceful or violent and that we confirmed on Monday,” said Suna East MP Junet Mohamed.

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Enock Wambua decried how the police turned a peaceful protest into a grand-standing through use of excessive force and in some instances live bullets.

He also hit out at Kenya Kwanza leaders for profiling the protest as a Luo affair yet there were leaders from across the country who participated in the demonstrations.

“We want the ICC to take serious interest in what is happening in Kenya. You cannot have people peacefully demonstrating then you use live bullets and throw teargas canisters at them,” said the Kitui Senator. “People must bear individual responsibility for what they do.”

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna demanded for the arrest of KICC OCS and a police officer attached to the DCI at Kilimani Station, whom he accused of using live bullets on protestors along Wabera Street.

He decried how Azimio had planned for peaceful demonstrations until police interfered through the use of teargas, water cannons and rubber bullets.

“If you don’t want people to protest peacefully and unarmed then bring an amendment to the Constitution to do away with Article 37 of the Constitution,” said the ODM Secretary General.

“Arrest those individuals you think violated the law and charge them. we are keen to see what charges will be preferred against them,” added the Senate deputy minority whip.

Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga who was also arrested on Monday, added: “We were handled like we are back in the dark old days. It was inhumane to say the least.”

Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi also accused the police of brutality alleging that some officers followed him to Parliament Buildings gate before pointing a gun at him.

“Kenyans demonstrated on Monday to express their dissatisfaction with the Kenya Kwanza government,” said Senate Minority Whip Ledama Olekina.

Likoni MP Mishi Mboko added: “You will intimidate, threaten and even arrest us but we will continue standing firm.”