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Activists call off police killings demo as Uhuru visits

KENYA
By Standard Team | September 3rd 2016
President Uhuru Kenyatta greets residents of Kilifi town when he launched construction of roads in the town. [Photo:DPPS]

Mombasa human rights activists have called off a demonstration to protest extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances.

The demonstration had been planned for yesterday morning following a notification by Haki Africa, a Mombasa-based rights group, on August 30 and was to start at 9am outside Uhuru Gardens and end at Treasury Square.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and other local leaders had promised to join the protest.

But on Thursday the police wrote to Haki Africa declaring the demonstration would not be allowed to proceed.

Police informed the organisers that there were not enough police officers to provide security for the protest as requested by Haki Africa.

“Please note there is no objection from this station, but due to the backlog of events this week, we cannot allow the demonstration by your organisation to go take place on September 2,” said the statement from the police.

The police explained that the demonstration would not be allowed “due to the backlog of events this week” in reference to Uhuru’s tour and Mombasa Agricultural Society of Kenya Show. Consequently, the human rights body was told to choose another date for the protest to enable police provide security.

Haki Africa announced yesterday that the protest will now be held on September 12.

Unconfirmed reports indicate the authorities were unwilling to allow a protest against the Jubilee government on rights violations and extrajudicial killings during the president’s tour.

On the eve of Uhuru’s visit, rights groups piled new pressure on Jubilee and urged the President to condemn killings of civilians by police.

Speakers at a meeting in Mombasa on Tuesday questioned why the President had not condemned the extra judicial killings and also called for the resignation of Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet.

Some speakers even claimed the Kenyan military has opened a secret torture chamber in Lamu where security forces are trying to fight Islamist insurgents.

Coast-based human rights groups have lamented that despite the promise of the 2010 Constitution, rights violations, extra-judicial killings and torture by State agents remain prevalent in Kenya.

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