, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22 – With growing concerns over events that engulfed the capital Nairobi and the lakeside city of Kisumu last week during demonstrations to evict commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from office, the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) on Sunday vowed to continue with its fourth demonstration slated for Monday.
Led by CORD leaders Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama and his Ugenya counterpart James Orengo, the coalition announced it will hold peaceful demonstrations at the IEBC offices in Nairobi and across the country.
“We will again stage protests to have the IEBC disbanded. Kenyans will be doing this as we have done in the past in the exercise of their right to assemble peacefully,” Orengo stated.
Reflecting to last Monday’s demonstrations in Nairobi, Muthama said CORD demonstrators will not be intimidated by anti riot police officers.
He said several demonstrators were nursing injuries in various hospitals following a beating from police.
“We will go back to those demonstrations without fear. Those who thought we would be intimidated, we will not, we will continue with our demonstrations, work has just began, it had not yet started,” Muthama said.
Last Monday’s protest resulted to a bitter exchange between the demonstrators and anti riot police with fears of criminal elements characterising the demonstrations and the police on the other hand being accused of brutally beating them up.
CORD on Sunday dismissed claims that their demonstrators engaged in criminal activities but instead blamed Jubilee leaders of ‘planting’ their people to counter the protests.
Apart from the weekly demonstrations held in protest of IEBC commissioners, Muthama announced that CORD will hold parallel Madaraka Day celebrations at Uhuru Park on JUNE 1.
“Because Jubilee will take the celebrations to Nakuru and because Kenyans in Nairobi will not make it to Nakuru, we are inviting them to Uhuru Park to tell them the state of affairs,” he stated.
The political animosity against IEBC commissioners and the series of demonstrations held have raised concerns across the country with religious leaders, organisations and other players calling for dialogue to resolve the stalemate.
Constitutional Expert Bob Mkangi in an interview with Capital FM News earlier in the week said – the only way out would be to restore confidence in IEBC through dialogue since allegations lodged had already tainted its image and reduced public trust.
In his view, physical removal of IEBC commissioners from office will not resolve issues raised but only an agreement that will identify the legal means that through Parliament, Members of Parliament can amend the constitution to disband IEBC in its entirety or disband it to the commissioner’s level.
He said demonstrations are allowed in the constitution if only they are peaceful and without any criminal elements.