The government plans to introduce a legislation to regulate demonstrations, pickets, and petitions in the country.
CS Kindiki proposes law amendments to counter protests
The proposed law amendments come even as the Azimio coalition plans bi-weekly protests
The move comes as the opposition plans to hold bi-weekly protests to pressure President William Ruto's administration to address its concerns.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced that the government will introduce regulations pursuant to the Public Order Act and the Statutory Instruments Act, outlining legal action around assemblies, demonstrations, pickets, and petitions, including notification procedures, duties of security agencies, and demarcation of zones for such activities.
In an effort to ensure that demonstrations remain peaceful and unarmed, the legislation will also cover consent requirements, obligations of organizers, limitations on the number of participants, and responsibility for clean-up costs and damages.
Kindiki stressed that the right to demonstrate, picket, and petition is protected under Kenyan law, but non-demonstrators and third parties' rights and freedoms are equally important and must be respected.
“Presently, it is not feasible for security organs to allow masses of people to roam streets and neighbourhoods of their choice carrying stones and other offensive weapons while chanting political slogans and disrupting the daily activities of others,” Kindiki said.
“Accordingly, law enforcement agencies shall not tolerate the reported plans to repeat the violent, chaotic and economically disruptive protests that took place in Nairobi and Kisumu on 20th March 2023 whatsoever.”
The Interior CS said while every Kenyan has a right to demonstrate, picket and petition, non-demonstrators and third parties enjoy equal rights and freedoms during these activities since their fundamental rights and freedoms are not suspended during such activities.
The announcement comes after last week's chaotic protests in Nairobi and Kisumu, where several people were injured, one shot dead, and property was destroyed.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has maintained that the protests will be peaceful, but the government aims to ensure that such activities remain within the law and do not infringe on the rights of others.
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