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Youths protest against UK, burn flag

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – A group of youths held a demonstration in Nairobi on Tuesday against what they termed as interference in Kenya’s affairs by the British government.

The group calling itself Vijana Tuko Pamoja carried banners castigating the UK government which it accused of authoring an alleged dossier pushing for President Mwai Kibaki’s prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“Kenya is a sovereign country which is a multi-party democracy under one of the most progressive Constitutions in the world,” the group said in a petition handed to the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Nairobi.

“We are therefore, dismayed and disturbed by the continued interference by Her Majesty’s government in our internal affairs,” the petition read out by the group’s National Chairman Geoffrey Muya stated.

The group of more than 300 protesters first assembled at Uhuru Park grounds before they marched to the Foreign Affairs Ministry where they also burnt the UK flag.

“We are not going to be ruled by the UK government. Kenya is a sovereign state, they should stop meddling in our affairs,” they said, and warned that they were opposed to a planned visit by the British under secretary of State Henry Bellingham.

Tuesday’s protests took place even as President Kibaki held a series of meetings in his office at Harambee House which is adjacent to the Foreign Affairs Ministry where the protesters shouted and yelled insults at the British government.

“Bellingham should know that he is not welcome in Kenya at all,” they said of the UK minister’s planned visit in the petition addressed to Her Majesty’s Government.

Bellingham was expected in the country on Tuesday but there was no word on his arrival from either the British High Commission or the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

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His visit was planned following allegations in Parliament last week that the UK was part of a ploy to have President Kibaki indicted by the ICC over his alleged role in the 2008 post-election once he leaves office.

Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula had told a parliamentary committee last week that Bellingham was expected in the country Tuesday or Wednesday to hold talks with government officials over the dossier depicting the UK as having conspired to have President Kibaki face charges over post election violence in The Hague.

The alleged dossier was tabled in Parliament two weeks ago by Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo.

Criminal Investigations Department (CID) detectives have been carrying an investigation on the authors of the alleged dossier which has been disowned by the British government as a forgery.

“We have made good progress in the investigation, there are several people we have identified as having a hand in the whole issue and it is just a matter of time before they are arrested,” one detective involved in the probe told Capital News. “The Police Commissioner is aware of all the steps we have taken in the investigation.”

The investigation was instituted following a directive by Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai who also wants any form of interference with ICC witnesses identified and prosecuted.

The group that held a protest in Nairobi also accused the British government of interfering with the ICC case against four Kenyans facing an imminent trial over their alleged roles in planning the 2007 post election violence which killed some 1,300 people and displaced nearly half a million others.

“Kenya being a stable state, our leaders should not have been charged in the ICC as the courts mandate relate to failed states,” the group said in the petition.

The petition was handed over to an under secretary in the Ministry who told the protesters that the Foreign Affairs Minister, his assistant and Permanent Secretary were away on official duties.

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“The Kenyan youths are ready to face the British government head on! and resist policies geared towards Neo-colonialism and imperialism by the British Government,” the petition said.

They accused the British government of killing and maiming thousands of Kenyans before independence.

“It must be remembered that our past relationship with your government is fragile. The genocide committed by the British Government security forces against Kenyans during the struggle for independence is well documented,” they said.


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