IG Koome bans Wednesday Azimio protests

Police IG Japhet Koome in Parliament. [File, Standard]

The Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome has outlawed the Azimio la Umoja protest that is set to take place on Wednesday, July 12.

In a statement released by the National Police Service (NPS), Koome says that the Raila Odinga led protest had not notified the Police.

“It has come to the attention of the National Police Service through the media, about groups/persons that are planning to hold public demonstrations/protests/gatherings across the country, on Wednesday, July 12, 2023,” he said in a statement.

Odinga during a rally held on Friday at the Kamukunji grounds said that he will rally his supporters in the country to a peaceful march on Wednesday against President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza government which he said is illegitimate.

In a press statement on Tuesday, he maintained that the Wednesday protests will take place since they are not breaking the law and that the right to protest and picket are protected by the Constitution.

Odinga spoke during the launch of the Tumechoka Citizens Initiative which is a digital signature collection platform that targets 15 million signatures for the impeachment of President Ruto.

Koome says that the constitution guarantees freedom of assembly and picketing by statistics this year show that demonstrations have left behind a trail of massive destruction of property worth millions of shillings and led to the death of police and other Kenyans.

He says that the police were forced to stop the demonstrations from taking place because Azimio did not notify them in advance to allow them to provide security to the protesters and the public.

“In this regard, no such demonstrations/gatherings/protests will be allowed tomorrow since no such notification has been presented to any police station,” he says.

“All lawful means will be used to disperse such demonstrations.”

Koome says that police are committed to the fidelity of the 2010 Constitution while commending the officers for their service adding that NPS will give them the support they need to carry out their duties.