Kenya: Suspend Protest Rallies to Avoid Violence, NGO Council Urges Raila

Nairobi — The NGO Council of Kenya is calling on the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Coalition leadership to suspend a protest rally planned for Wednesday and give dialogue a chance.

In a statement, Council Chairman Stephen Cheboi expressed regret that the Raika Odinga-led coalition had opted for protests well knowing it was unable to control goons and criminal elements from taking advantage of ‘peaceful protests’.

“Let’s always observe peace as a nation. We should be united as the people of Kenyan; as an umbrella Organization of all NGOs and other CSOs calls for sobriety and dialogue through the Bi-Partisan approach to resolve thorny issues,” he said.

He also warned against political leaders who have resorted to hold the public at ransom as they pursue their own selfish agenda.

Cheboi expressed concerns that the country may have lost billions as a result of Friday’s protest.

“We as a council respect the rule of law and the constitutional right for assembly but this should not be done at the expense of wananchi who had to close down businesses for fear of looters after others were robbed,” he said adding that many others stayed home while reports indicate several planes ferrying tourists to Nairobi were diverted to Dar es Salaam and Kampala in the neighbouring countries.

Raila led a Saba Saba rally on Friday which marked the beginning of civil disobedience aimed at denying President William Ruto taxes in protest of the controversial Finance Bill passed two weeks ago.

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