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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,15TH OCT,2020-Former Justice Minister Martha Karua has decried State restrictions on political gatherings terming action by the police service as a blatant violation of the constitution.
Karua was reacting National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) directives requiring the authorization of political meetings by police three days in advance, with conveners required to notify local police bosses for clearance of their planned meetings.
National Rainbow Coalition–Kenya (NARC–Kenya) Party Leader, who was addressing journalists at the party headquarters, said the increased bias in the application laws by the police is to blame for the political tension in the country.
Karua said NSAC directives were in contravention of the bill of rights insisting the Cabinet could not determine ‘what and whose speech is permissible’.
“Constitutions exist to limit the exercise of power and therefore illegitimate exercise of unlimited authority by this administration is in effect an overthrow of our constitutional order,” the Rainbow Party Leader stated, accusing the Attorney General of failing in his role as the government’s chief advisor.
She was alluding to last week’s suspension of a public meeting which was to be attended by Deputy President William Ruto while other leaders including Orange Democratic Movement’s Raila Odinga and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi freely conducted political meetings.
“The double standard in the application of the law, witnessed since the advent of BBI popularization campaigns is unacceptable and must be outrightly rejected.It cannot be that only those articulating the view points of the president and his partner in chief can enjoy freedom of speech while others are harassed,” Karua noted.
NARC–Kenya Party Leader noted that security state agencies have failed Kenyans by not assuring their security leading to the occurrence of political violence.
“Provision of security to all Kenyans is a primary duty of the state.The National Intelligence Services (NIS) and police are equipped with the capacity to detect if, when and where violence or other lawlessness are planned and to stop it,” she asserted.
She highlighted the recent political violence in Murang’a where two people were killed ahead of a visit by Deputy President William Ruto accusing the interior ministry had failed Kenyans by not providing security to those attending the meeting.
“The Uhuru administration cannot use these failures as an excuse to roll back the freedom of association and assembly or the right to disseminate ideas.Kenyans are not dying from political speech, but due to failure and neglect by police to discharge their duty,” Karua indicated.