MoH demo fails to get off the blocks as prison costume wearing protesters hit police wall

November 3, 2016 1:15 pm
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Mobilised by the Mwangi run PAWA254 and the Kenya Human Rights Commission, they came to protest what they believe to be the unconscionable scramble for public funds allocated to the Ministry of Health and meant for expectant mothers, children and other vulnerable groups./KEVIN GITAU
Mobilised by the Mwangi run PAWA254 and the Kenya Human Rights Commission, they came to protest what they believe to be the unconscionable scramble for public funds allocated to the Ministry of Health and meant for expectant mothers, children and other vulnerable groups./KEVIN GITAU

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 — As early as 9am, activists started trickling in at the Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park, where red t-shirts would be handed over to them; the theme colour of the day.

There were no police presence near the venue and only the water cannons that could be seen were from a far distance.

No one knew what was awaiting them.

Momentum was high at this time and journalists were already rolling ready to capture every moment and speech from the protesters.

But teargas Monday moments happened when Police lobbed teargas just as the activist started making movements towards Kenyatta Avenue roundabout.

It started with one teargas canister and more came raining on all that moved within the park.

The police zeroed down on them to ensure the only exit available was towards Upper Hill and not the Central Business District; perhaps to ensure business was not interrupted.

Several University students led by SONU chairperson Babu Owino had joined in the protest as well as Boniface Mwangi of PAWA254.

Within a few minutes, everyone was gone and police were left with journalists who had been following them at a safe distance.

But all hell broke loose when one of the anti-riot officers attempted to attack a journalist and the rest came to his rescue.

The rest of journalists joined and instead the police turned their guns on Journalists and started lobbing teargas at them.

Unbowed and aware of their constitutional rights, the about 30 local and international journalists rushed to the senior officer where they sought explanation, leading to a bitter altercation.

Again, the cops dispersed them.

Earlier on before they were dispersed, Kenya Human Rights Commission Deputy Director Davis Malombe urged the President to dismiss all corrupt Government officials among other 14 demands detailed in a petition they were to hand over to the Office of the President.

They called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to dismiss all public officers mentioned in any corrupt dealing as a starter.

“We want the President to act now…he has powers to tame these people (the corrupt),” he stated.

Other recommendations are that the President protect whistle-blowers since they are more than often attacked according to Malombe and when money is recovered, they want 20 per cent to be given to them.

Assuming the Sh5 billion in the Ministry of Health was embezzled their recommendation is that the whistle blower should get 20 per cent of the amount and in this case it will be Sh1 billion.

They also want the President to lead all public servants in making their wealth known.

They also want the President to ensure that the annual State of the Nation address includes a report on corruption and how much of state resources lost through past corruption scandals have been recovered and further ensure open advertising and recruitment of Board members and staff of government departments and parastatals as well as chairpersons of parastatal boards.

Another recommendation is that that the President should ensure that tax returns for companies and individuals implicated in grand corruption scandals be released by the Kenya Revenue Authority for public scrutiny and to deepen openness and accountability.

Another measure is that he should initiate a legal process of freezing of bank accounts of all those implicated in grand corruption scandals pending investigations.

On his part, activist Mwangi urged Kenyans to remain vocal until the menace is eliminated.

“We must speak out or else they will ‘eat’ everything in this country,” he said.

It comes a day after another group held a peaceful protest to Ministry of Health offices, armed with the heads of three pigs and several rats in a cage, the activists marched from Milimani Law Courts to the Ministry of Health offices where they called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to sack all senior officials linked to the unraveling scandal.

The Congress Chairperson Morris Odhiambo said many Kenyans have continued to be denied their constitutional rights including good health due to the corruption menace.

“The corrupt are killing Kenyans daily in hospitals and on the roads; crooks working at the border points are letting terrorist to terrorize Kenyans,” he said.

Odhiambo questioned the price of some of the items said to have been procured with the money, specifically the allegations that the 100 containers made mobile clinics were purchased at a whooping Sh10 million each.

They also want to know why they have not to be operationalised despite being purchased months after the set deadline expired.

“Why would a container cost Sh10 million?” he posed. “Who asked for these clinics and how are they going to be serviced? Would it not be cheaper to build the damn clinics?”

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