Nairobi — Senators allied to the Kenya Kwanza Alliance have dismissed accusations by the Opposition Coalition-Azimio-that police were too brutal on their supporters during the anti-government protests.
Led by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, the leaders defended police, saying they acted professionally despite cases of live bullets used on protesters, leading to deaths and serious injuries in towns where protests took place.
“Police use force where necessary especially when one’s life is in danger. We ask the police to continue arresting those disrupting the peace of this country,” said Cherargei.
Embakasi East MP Babu Owino was among more than 300 people arrested Wednesday as Kenyans took to the streets to protest the high cost of living.
Babu was later charged with conspiracy to commit subversion activities.
The Nandi Senator scoffed at the plea by Azimio leaders for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to intervene in the ongoing situation in the country urging The Hague-based court to instead investigate former President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.
“We appeal to ICC and we are documenting these incidences which are being sponsored by opposition leaders disrupting the lives of Kenyans. These are acts of criminality and terror against Kenyans who are going around their business,” Cherargei said.
Nominated Senator Veronica Maina accused Azimio La Umoja leaders of violating Kenyans’ rights by disrupting peace in various cities and towns by causing mayhem.
“A peaceful demonstration cannot be peaceful when protestors are carrying stones in their hands. Peaceful demonstration means that you are unarmed and when you meet people you don’t steal, rape or mete violence,” said the former United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Secretary General.
Kiambu Senator Karungo wa Thang’wa opined that the government should lockdown places with violent demonstrations to avert the ongoing disruption in the country that has caused loss of lives with scores injured. Reports indicate that at least 20 people have been killed since the beginning of the month in the protests called by Odinga.
“This country survived two years of lockdown and therefore, we are urging the government if it needs lockdown for two or four days to deal with these people let’s do it. We are going to survive,” Thangwa said.
Tana River Senator Danston Mungatana said the protests had “totally failed.”
“The protests have totally failed because they didn’t carry the grievances of Kenyans. We are telling Kenyans not to fear and they should turn out tomorrow (Friday) to continue with their businesses,” he said.
They spoke hours after National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi decried the increase of police brutality during the Opposition protests.
“We have noticed an unprecedented level of police brutality on innocent Kenyans. We want the international community to take serious note of these happenings with a view to holding into account the perpetrators of these crimes,” he said.
The Ugunja MP further implored the Director of Criminal Investigations to conduct an investigation into the incidents of police brutality witnessed during the demonstrations.
“We are formally asking the DPP to carry out impartial, independent and speedy investigations into this matter with the view of apprehending the perpetrators and charging them,” Wandayi said.
The Opposition Coalition condemned the arrest of nine leaders over the civil disobedience protests Wednesday saying it amounted to violation of freedoms and human rights.
“Since our colleagues who were arrested are being held beyond the limit provided for in the constitution. Now we consider their continued incarceration as detention without trial and Kenyans and the international community must now take note,” said Wandayi.
Alego Usonga MP Sam Atandi stated that security agencies have been acting desperately by arresting leaders without preferring charges against them days after their arrest.
“If the police have no reason to arrest anybody, I think they should just keep off. We are not going to stop and they should know leaders are not going to fear because they arrested a few people here and there,” said Atandi.