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Standoff looms after police ban planned protest in Nairobi

By CYRUS OMBATI | Updated Thu, February 13th 2014 at 00:00 GMT +3
                                      State of the Nation protest                PHOTO: COURTESY

By CYRUS OMBATI

Nairobi, Kenya: A standoff looms in Nairobi after police banned Thursday’s planned major protest organised by a group of civil societies.

Police authorities said they banned the protest over security reasons and especially terrorism.

“We will not allow them to hold the demo because there are so many security threats in the city. Some terrorists may join them and throw a grenade as it goes on and that is why we have banned it,” said Nairobi police boss Benson Kibue.

The protest, known as “State of the Nation”, which was to start from Uhuru Park and end up outside Parliament Buildings was organised by among others activist Bonny Mwangi and Rev Timothy Njoya.

The organisers said they wanted to protest against among other issues rising cases of corruption in government, insecurity, unemployment, poverty, mutilation of the constitution and poor leadership in the country.

They had asked those planning to attend to come in black t-shirts, a roll of tissue paper and a Kenyan flag.

Contingents of police were mobilised to seal off any route the activists may use in the protest. Mr Mwangi said they will go on with their plans.

“We will go on with the protest because they have not informed us of the ban. We got a greenlight from the same police to hold the march,” said Mwangi.

On Wednesday evening, the National Security Advisory Committee claimed in a strongly worded statement that the USAID was behind the protest aimed at toppling the government.

Chairman and secretary to the cabinet, Francis Kimemia said the committee, which is the top security organ had asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to urgently summon the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) officials with immediate effect to give more information over its plans to topple the government using activists.

“NSAC is in possession of credible intelligent documents and information detailing how the US donor agency has consistently funded the demonstrations by activists, including demos clandestinely planned, funded and led by  two identified initially as Boniface M and John G. (completion of investigations will reveal their full identities) on February 13, 2014,” said part of the statement.

 The statement added, a defrocked pastor has also been funded to pour vitriol on parliament concurrently.

Kimemia said the consistent plans to destabilize the current Government will not be tolerated at any costs, especially where activists are sustainably bribed to tarnish the country's and leaders' reputation regionally and internationally.

“NSAC is of the view that it is in the national interest that USAID urgently debriefs would be demos and responds to these reports, in tandem with international protocols that regulate tolerance or expulsion of Agencies that undermine sovereignty of a legitimate and democratic government and interfere with internal matters of countries.”

He added the committee, which sat on Wednesday wanted a strong Kenya’s  displeasure communicated to the metropolis' leaders regarding impunity, notoriety and high handed of distraught diplomats who have no respect on incumbent leadership following the recent general elections.

This is the second time that Mr Mwangi organises such a protest. The first time was when his team brought pigs to Parliament Buildings to protest their planned hike of their salaries.


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