Kenya on edge: Interior CS warns of more chaos as protests turn violent

Kithure Kindiki

Interior and Administration of National Government Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has warned that protesters are planning more chaos and looting on Thursday and Sunday this week promising that they will firmly be dealt with.

During Tuesday's protests against the controversial Finance Bill 2024 which has since been shelved, traders in parts of Nairobi whose shops were attacked and looted banded together to protect their businesses from looters they said were disguised as protesters.

In a statement, CS Kindiki said this reign of terror against the people of Kenya and the impunity of dangerous criminal gangs must end at all costs.

"The government is determined to stop criminals who seek to terrorise the public and harm Kenya, despite attempts to politicise crime," he said.

The CS regretted the Tuesday, June 25, unprecedented riots that broke out in Nairobi and several other cities in Kenya, resulting in loss of lives, destruction or looting of property worth billions of shillings and an attempt to burn down Parliament Buildings.

He said the riots, which were legitimately initiated as a democratic expression of public disapproval of the Finance Bill 2024, led to the termination of the Bill.

"The termination of the Bill, hordes of marauding criminal gangs who continue to pose a grave danger to the public, riding on announced plans for peaceful protests to disrupt public order, commit arson, obstruct public transport and terrorise the people of Kenya with violence," CS Kindiki said.

President William Ruto recently said that Sh2 billion worth of property and goods had been lost since the demonstrations began.

While defending the police, the CS said they continued to act professionally and with restraint in dealing with highly provocative situations that arose during the violent riots.

"The Government commends all law enforcement officers who continue to discharge their challenging mandate of preventing crime and protecting the lives and property of the people of Kenya. Allegations of some instances of unlawful conduct by law enforcement officers will be investigated and appropriate action taken," he added.

Prof Kindiki further said that security agencies remain vigilant to intercept and thwart harm to the public and attempts to attack critical infrastructure and emblems of our sovereignty.

"Upon completion of the ongoing analysis of evidence, the government assures the public that the planners, perpetrators and financiers of large-scale arson, violent robbery and other heinous crimes will be brought to justice."

His remarks come as Kenyans expressed concern over police conduct during Tuesday's ongoing anti-government protests, now in their third week.

Tuesday's protests, which took place in several counties, resulted in widespread destruction of property and looting, leaving business owners with significant losses.

During a meeting with bishops from the African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA), the President vowed to deal decisively with the "thugs" who invaded and torched Parliament buildings during last week's protests.

According to Ruto, those responsible for the violence were criminals who exploited a peaceful protest against the Finance Bill and they must face the full force of the law.

"Those who set fire to Parliament are not our children, they are criminals and we will look for them. They will not get away; you cannot destroy public property," Ruto said.