Police criticized over disruption of ODM rally in Kwale

Governor Ali Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Jeffa Kingi/FILE

BY UPESINEWS REPORTER,NAIROBI,24TH MARCH 2017-The Coalition for Constitution Implementation Kenya has expressed  concern over the disruption of an Orange Democratic Movement rally in Kinango, Kwale Thursday that was to be attended by deputy party leader Ali Hassan Joho.

According to the  group’s Convener, Cidi Otieno, it was an affront to the constitutional right to peacefully assemble and was of particular concern so close to the August 8 General Election given it could be viewed as an abuse of the State machinery by the incumbent to frustrate the Opposition.

“The work of the police is to provide security to such gatherings. The police action amounts to taking political sides. Furthermore Article 239 of the Constitution of Kenya states that in performing their functions and exercising their powers, the national security organs and every member of the national security organs shall not act in a partisan manner and shall not further any interest of a political party.”

The CCI Kenya is worried that the police action is likely to heighten political tension ahead of the August polls and has the possibility of casting doubts at the preparation of the August polls.”

The disruption of the planned rally follows the use of police by government to block Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho from attending the relaunch of the Mtongwe Ferry Services on March 13 when President Uhuru Kenyatta questioned why Joho sought to, “follow him around,” adding, “I am not his wife.”

 

It also follows the withdrawal of Joho’s security detail in January after he publicly accused the President, to his face, of taking credit for projects undertaken by the previous administration.

State House thereafter denied being behind the withdrawal of Joho’s security detail and that of Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi who is also an ODM stalwart and instead blamed it on a regional reorganisation of police resources.

Following an outcry, their security details were soon after restored.

As for the dispersal of Thursday’s ODM rally in Kwale, the Inspector General of Police has denied that it was done to appease President Kenyatta who has an ongoing feud with Joho.

He said the rally was dispersed as the venue was intended for use by a medical training college

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