Azimio MPs protest over withdrawal of security detail

Lawmakers from left to right: Amina Munyazi, Richard Chonga, Stewart Madzayo and Opiyo Wandayi at a Kahawa law court on Thursday, March 23, 2023, where they were charged with unlawful Assembly and demonstration. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Opposition Members of Parliament have criticised the government over the alleged withdrawal of their security detail.

The Standard has established that police officers attached to some opposition lawmakers were recalled on Thursday night, two days after Azimio's anti-government protests.

Azimio plans to hold weekly nationwide demonstrations on Mondays and Thursday to pile pressure on President William Ruto's administration to lower the cost of living.

National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi said his security had been withdrawn.

"But I am not bothered since my protection comes from God," said Wandayi, who was arrested during Monday's demonstrations in Nairobi. Others who were arrested included Senate Minority Whip Stewart Madzayo, Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi and Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga.

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo took to Twitter to hit out at Ruto's administration for the withdrawal of his security.

"So the illegitimate regime believes we'll be cowed by the withdrawal of our security? Dead wrong! Our resolve becomes stronger! A cost of a by-election for a dead MP is one million times what protection costs," Amollo tweeted.

Police Spokesperson Resila Onyango said she was "not sure" if such a thing had happened.

"I have just arrived in Mombasa for work. Let me find out," she said.

This is not the first time that opposition MPs have had their security withdrawn for participating in demonstrations.

In 2017, leaders of the defunct National Super Alliance coalition, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, lamented that their security had been withdrawn hours before a demonstration against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Former head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti then stated that their security had been scaled down as part of a routine exercise.