MPs threaten to sue Kindiki at ICC over police brutality against protesters

Kasipul MP Ong'ondo Were (second left) leads residents in demonstrations in Oyugis town on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. (James Omoro, Standard).

Three MPs have threatened to sue Interior CS Kithure Kindiki at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over police brutality against demonstrators during Wednesday’s protests against the high cost of living.

The MPs from Homa Bay County, Kasipul’s Ong'ondo Were, Lilian Gogo of Rangwe and area Woman Representative Joyce Osogo accused Prof Kindiki of ordering the police to use excessive force against protesters as the demos gripped many parts of the country, crippling business.

At least nine people, six of them in Machakos and Kitengela, were shot and killed during the demos. Scores of others were injured. Property of unknown value was also looted. The demonstrators also vandalised the Nairobi Expressway, among other installations, leaving a trail of destruction.

The MPs, who spoke as they led demonstrations, said it was wrong for the government to attempt to stifle the protests yet they are provided for in the constitution.

Held accountable

Were who led the demonstrations in Oyugis town in his constituency said they will make sure Kindiki is held accountable for the people who are killed by the police during the demonstrations called by Azimio La Umoja leaders Raila Odinga, Martha Karua, Eugene Wamalwa, George Wajakoyah, and Kalonzo Musyoka, among others.

The opposition chiefs are pushing for the suspension of the Finance Act 2023 which has introduced additional and punitive taxes. They also want the William Ruto administration to bring down the cost of living even as the prices of basic commodities continue to skyrocket.

Both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio have also differed over the process of appointing the new Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and even launched bipartisan talks which have not made any headway as representatives from both sides continue to clash.

Working directly

In his address to residents, Were said: “Azimio supporters are only expressing their constitutional right. We will drag Kindiki to the Hague-based court over activities of police who are working directly under his command.”

"I am telling Kindiki, just in case he doesn’t know, that it is wrong to shoot and kill or injure anybody who is exercising their democratic right through peaceful demonstrations. He should be ready to answer charges at the ICC," Were said.

The MP told the government to give Kenyans an opportunity to critique its performance.

"Kenyans should be given the opportunity to state how they should be governed in a manner that they enjoy life," Were said as he urged his supporters to maintain peace during the demonstrations.

Azimio coalition leader Raila Odinga (centre) with other opposition leaders, before a briefing to the media on Wednesday’s anti-government protests. [David Gichuru, Standard]

“Nobody should destroy anyone's property. We must demonstrate but we must avoid destruction of property," Were said.

Gogo told the government to reduce the cost of living for Kenyans if it wants the demonstrations to cease.

The MP, who spoke during the demonstrations at God Bondo trading centre in her constituency, expressed concerns that life had become unbearable for many Kenyans due to heavy taxation imposed on them by the Ruto government.

Taxation by government

"We want the government to reduce the cost of living. Many Kenyans cannot put food on the table because of taxation by the government," Gogo said.

Osogo also led residents in the demonstration in Kendu Bay town where she told President Ruto to take time and listen to Kenyans' grievances, especially on the issue of the high cost of living.

“The President must be able to listen, otherwise, things will get worse. Kenyans are going through so much and this government must address the issues that have been raised," Osogo said