Ruto to police: Deal firmly but professionally with protesters

President William Ruto in Isiolo County. [PCS]

President William Ruto has cautioned police officers against killing anti-government protesters and instead urged them to be firm but handle lawbreakers professionally. 

During the three-day protests called by opposition leaders that started on Wednesday, police have been accused of using excessive force on protesters resulting in deaths.

Speaking in Murang’a yesterday, President Ruto commended police officers for their efforts to quell protests in several parts of the country. 

“I am pleased with the work police have done ensuring peace by taking actions against all criminals and ensuring government and private properties are protected,” he said. 

He warned that no one was above the law and the government was committed to protecting lives and businesses.

“Everybody must follow the law. The government shall not sit back and watch the country turn into chaos, no one should introduce impunity because of some individuals’ selfish gains,” he said. 

He spoke during a thanksgiving and prize-giving ceremony at Our Ladies of Consolata Muyoiri Girls in Murang’a County. He said Azimio la Umoja leaders encouraging Kenyans to demonstrate will face the full force of the law.

The President also said the government had employed 56,000 teachers this year to ensure the education sector runs smoothly. 

“Education brings equality and is one of the key items on our agenda. This year, we have employed the largest number of teachers,” he said. 

He added that the government has introduced scholarship programmes to students from vulnerable families who are joining universities and tertiary institutions. 

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“Contrary to what has been happening before, the government will provide 100 per cent capitation and scholarships to our universities and tertiary institutions, we shall do away with grants and bursaries,” he said.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua urged Azimio leaders to formulate strategies that will help them win the next elections “since demonstrations will not lead them into government.”

“I want to tell those planning for demos and blackmailing the president; the use of violence will not get them into power through the back door. The president is focused on delivering services to Kenyans,” he said.

Other leaders who accompanied Ruto included Cabinet secretaries Alice Wahome (Water), Eliud Owalo (ICT), Ezekiel Machogu (Education), Murang’a Governor Irungu Kangata, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, and his Kikuyu counterpart Kimani Ichung’wah. 

“Police officers did a good job during the protests, nobody should intimidate them. We urge the police task force to deliver the report which seeks to seal existing gaps within the operations of the police service and better the working conditions,” Ndindi said. 

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