Nairobi — 46 suspects were arrested Tuesday in connection with robberies, arson and malicious damage of property after day-long Azimio-led anti government protests.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said 14 of the suspects were apprehended within Nairobi, while 32 were arrested in different parts of the Nyanza region many of them in Kisumu.
Kindiki said that all suspects will be arraigned in court tomorrow (Wednesday).
The Interior CS warned that no more violent protests shall be allowed anywhere in Kenya noting that chaos witnessed during the protests is a threat to national security.
“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,” Kindiki said.
Several vehicles including a bus and a truck were torched in Nairobi, while youths set tyres ablaze and blocked roads in several slums, witnesses said.
“What kind of protests are these now, why are they stoning people? My car has been damaged and I am just doing my own business,” said taxi driver Duncan Mukuche, whose vehicle had come under attack.
Protesters also set fires and used rocks to block roads in and out of Odinga’s lakeside stronghold of Kisumu.
“With or without notices, demonstrations and protests of any type which injure people, security officers, businesses and property shall be prevented at all costs,” Kindiki said.
Violence erupted during the March demonstrations as police fired tear gas on demonstrators, including Odinga’s own motorcade, and gangs went on the rampage, attacking people and property.
Nairobi regional police commander Adamson Bungei had announced Sunday that Azimio had been denied permission to hold the new demonstrations.
But the coalition had insisted the action would go ahead.
“Police cannot decide in advance that there shall be violence and then proceed to ban political activities that are protected by the constitution. That is the making of dictatorship,” Odinga and his brigade said in a statement Monday.
Within Eastleigh suburb, Juja Shell Petrol was attacked and robbed of 12 gas cylinders before they damaged fuel pumps and vehicles that were parked at the premises.
In parts of Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori within Nyanza Region, riotous mobs interfered with the flow of traffic and damaged windscreens of several motor vehicles by hurling rocks and other projectiles.
He added that looking on “what has now become a pattern of violence and destruction of property, the National Police Service rightfully and lawfully determined that the protests pose clear, present and imminent danger of a breach of the peace and public order.”
The Interior CS added that the duty imposed by Section 5(3) and (8) of the Public Order Act (cap. 56, Laws of Kenya) on organizers of protests to assist the police in the maintenance of peace and order was abrogated.
He pointed out that pursuant to Section 5(2), (6) and (10) of the Public Order Act (Cap. 56, Laws of Kenya), the police were compelled by their constitutional and legal mandate to prevent the purported demonstrators from unleashing violence and terror on the public.
“The unfolding situation portends grave danger to the rule of law and the stability of our Country. The violence, looting, destruction of public amenities such as roads coupled with disruption of daily activities portend real and imminent danger of our Country sliding into irretrievable anarchy,” he said.
To ensure the Country does not turn into lawlessness, Kindiki said that he had instructed security agencies are to enforce the law firmly and decisively.
“All criminals irrespective of the political party or group that they support must be neutered before they destroy Kenya,”
Azimio have since announced another round of protests on Thursday after as it emerged that the government had withdrawn the security detail of some top opposition leaders.