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You have blood on your hands, IG Koome told

 Activist Boniface Mwangi, Haki Africa Director Hussein Khalid and Nairobi County Senator Edwin Sifuna at City Mortuary waiting for post-mortem results for Rex Masai who was allegedly shot during anti-tax protests on June 21, 2024. [Robert Tomno, Standard]

Opposition leaders on Friday called for the resignation of Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome and Nairobi police boss Adamson Bungei following the death of a protester during Thursday anti-tax demonstrations in Nairobi

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka said Koome and Bungei failed in their duty of protecting peaceful demonstrators protesting against the Finance Bill 2022.

Kalonzo also demanded that the Director of Public Prosecutions charges Koome, Bungei and the officer who shot Rex Kanyike Masai.

“As Azimio we demand that Inspector General Japheth Koome and Nairobi Regional Commander Adamson Bungei immediately tender their resignation for failing to protect the peaceful demonstrators. We also demand that the Director of Public Prosecutions bring charges against Koome, Bungei, and their rogue officers for the murder of Rex,” the statement read.

The coalition described Rex as a brave young man who participated in the protests against the contentious Finance Bill.

“Rex, like all his comrades, was peaceful, unarmed, and non-violent. But he was senselessly gunned down,” Azimio stated.

The leaders condoled Rex’s family and pledged support in seeking justice.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the community that has suffered such a terrible loss. We pledge to offer all the help required in seeking answers and justice,” Kalonzo added.

 Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome. [File, Standard]

The opposition leaders  highlighted the historical context of police violence against its supporters, and reiterated Azimio’s commitment to seeking justice.

They criticized the police’s handling of peaceful protests, noting a pattern of excessive force.

“This is the return of a police force instead of a police service contrary to our Constitution,” the opposition said.

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino warned the responsible officer to surrender or face the public’s wrath.

Rex’s death has sparked outrage over police conduct during the demonstrations.

On Wednesday and Thursday, demonstrations, led mainly by young people, erupted across the country to protest against high taxation.

The country witnessed thousands of protesters armed only with placards, chants, witty songs and slogans as they taunted the police and the government, demanding the withdrawal of the controversial Finance Bill.

Police responded with tear gas and water cannons.

Their calls and protests went unheeded by Members of Parliament, a majority who voted for the Bill on Thursday afternoon.

Organisers of the demos yesterday issued a detailed itinerary of protests for the next seven days whose climax is timed to coincide with the anticipated signing of the Bill into law by President William Ruto.

“Despite our collective cry rejecting the Finance Bill 2024, Parliament decided to pass the bill. Despite our peaceful protests, the police responded by using live bullets, leading to the death of our own and injuring many. We refuse to be silenced and so we are marching on,” the statement of a call to action read.

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