, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – Police have allowed demonstrations over insecurity to be held in Nairobi’s Central Business District on condition that the protesters maintain peace.
Armed police officers were deployed early Tuesday to Harambee House where the protesters said they intended to hand in their petition to the Office of the President.
“Our target and our aim is the President. He’s the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces. He’s the man who runs this country. So our message is directly to the President,” activist Boniface Mwangi, one of the organisers, said.
The group under the banner #OccupyHarambeeHouse has been mobilising support for the protest since Sunday through social media.
They are looking to see reshuffles in the Ministry of Interior, the Kenya-Somalia border better secured and members of the Kenya Police Service better remunerated.
The protests are in response to Saturday’s slaying of 28 Kenyans five kilometres from the Kenya-Somalia border and rising insecurity in general.
Several leaders, including Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and Suba MP John Mbadi say they will join Tuesday’s protests to demand accountability from the government.
“Government officers live in denial even in the face of solid doubts on their credibility, ability and forthrightness. The insensitive behaviour of the government on matters of insecurity will no longer be tolerated by Kenyans,” Mbadi said, explaining his decision to join the protest.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, whose sackings the protesters are demanding, have however gone on the defensive saying that under their leadership, more terror attacks have been prevented than have succeeded.
“Security is a responsibility of every Kenyan, not just me. If you don’t report suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, how are we going to win this war?” Kimaiyo posed on Sunday following Saturday’s killings.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga however holds that the National Government has failed to deliver on its mandate of securing Kenyans and demanded that Lenku and Kimaiyo resign.
Meanwhile teachers and doctors working near the Kenya-Somalia border have been directed by their unions to vacate the area due to the failure by the National Government to guarantee their safety.