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No peaceful protester has been shot dead, state maintains

By Daniel Psirmoi | Published Sun, August 13th 2017 at 00:00, Updated August 12th 2017 at 21:24 GMT +3
Internal security acting cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi, ICT cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru(c) and Monicah Mwathethe addressing a press conference at Harambee house on the State of security in the country. ON 12/08/2017 (Jenipher Wachie)

The State has denied reports linking police to the shooting of innocent Kenyans protesting the outcome of the General Election.

Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i claimed all the people who have been reported dead are not peaceful demonstrators but criminals who took advantage of the protests to loot and destroy property.

It had been reported that at least 10 people across the country had been killed by police cracking down on persons protesting the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“Police have not used force on any peaceful demonstrator in this country. On the contrary, our security has faced criminal elements who are taking advantage of the situation to loot and destroy property,” said the CS.

Dr Matiang’i, however, admitted that insecurity incidents have been reported in Mathare and Kibera slums in Nairobi and some parts of Kisumu, but assured Kenyans that the situation is under control.

He was accompanied by Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet during the press briefing at his Harambee office.

The CS explained that members of the public have a constitutional right to picket, but warned against any violent protests and destruction of property.

“The Government will stop at nothing to protect the lives of citizens and their property,” said Matiang’i.

Also present were Interior Principal Secretary Dr Karanja Kibicho, his Foreign Affairs counterpart Dr Monica Juma and Joseph Kinyua, the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service.

“Those demonstrating must do so without hurting their fellow Kenyans. Those looting shops and breaking into people’s homes during the demos are criminals and will be dealt with the way they are supposed to by our security agents,” warned the CS.

He also announced that the State had started a crackdown on people spreading hate messages on social media, revealing that already, some individuals have been arrested.

“We have experienced increased share of inflammatory messages on social media. Security agencies have been instructed to track down and arrest culprits. I can confirm that we have made some arrests,” he said without disclosing the exact number of those held.

At the same time, the CS asked the media to refrain from fanning tension, emphasising that the country is safe. “Most of the reports carried by a section of the media are not true. Anyone making claims that the State is using force on helpless people is not being honest. People who are armed and break into shops are not peaceful by any stretch of imagination,” he said.