Civic leaders take on Kenyan MPs

March 23, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – Police lobbed teargas to disperse a group of civic leaders who were demonstrating outside Parliament buildings on Tuesday afternoon to support enactment of the constitution as presented by the Committee of Experts.

The mayors, county council heads and councillors from various local authorities in the country had earlier gathered outside City Hall before they began their march to Parliament buildings.

The group was however dispersed as they approached Parliament, and three of them arrested.

“They did not follow the law to participate in such a demonstration, that is why we have dispersed them,” Richard Muguai the Police commander for Nairobi Central Division said.

“We have arrested three of them who will face relevant charges in court tomorrow.”

The division’s CID chief Festus Malinge told Capital News that those arrested would be charged with participating in an illegal assembly and disrupting peace.

Nairobi Province Police Commander Antony Kibuchi said he had ordered deployment of more police officers within the precincts of Parliament to avoid any further demonstrations.

“We have enough security at Parliament now, anyone thinking he will be able to disrupt peace there is totally wrong,” Mr Kibuchi said.

A copy of the petition the councillors intended to hand over to Parliament stated that they planned to converge in Nairobi on Friday for further consultations on the need to safeguard the retention of a devolved government with a strong Senate.

It read in part: “We support the two levels of devolved government, the National and County governments with distinct and inter-dependent status.”

It also states that the councillors were in full support of the “establishment of Parliament with the National Assembly and a strong Senate.”

The petition also says the councilors were in full support of all the articles in the draft by the Committee of Experts which calls for the establishment of 47 counties, with each being represented by two senators in the Senate.

“We totally oppose the removal of the county governments as suggested by MPs who sat at the Kenya Institute of Administration (KIA).”


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