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Poll demos allowed, but cannot be excuse for violence – Kiraithe

“Nobody has banned any enjoyment of the fundamental rights and freedoms stipulated in the Constitution,” he stated/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Nobody has banned Kenyans from expressing discontent at the outcome of the August General Election.

Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe says picketing and demonstrations are firmly anchored in the Constitution and must be exercised within the confines of the law.

“Nobody has banned any enjoyment of the fundamental rights and freedoms stipulated in the Constitution,” he stated.

“What we are saying is that don’t hide under the Constitution to commit any crime especially because a good majority of our citizen understand mass action as actually to means as mass violence against those people who do not agree with their political opinions.”

He warned that calls for violence will not be tolerated, saying such incidents will be dealt with firmly by the security apparatus in the country.

His sentiments come after a newspaper report indicated that mass protests had been banned, but Kiraithe says the government position was misrepresented.

“People can picket… people can demonstrate but with due regard the fundamental rights of others,” he said during a briefing with journalists on Wednesday.

“Whether you are doing mass action or whatever you call it, nobody has criminalised anything. But our security services are telling people among the things we are preparing for are those people who will commit crime after elections.”

On elections, he said the government had mobilised all resources to ensure the August 8 date remains.

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The clarification comes on a day President Uhuru Kenyatta accused Opposition leader Raila Odinga of promoting hatred and incitement that led to the 2007-2008 violence.

He said Odinga was at the heart of the violence that rocked Kenya following the 2007 elections as he had promoted politics of tribal antagonism.

President Kenyatta accused the Opposition leader of using the same type of politics in the run-up to the August polls.

“He was the one who ignited the flames that set Kenya on fire in 2007 when he promoted the politics of what he called 40 tribes against one. Now, he is talking about 40 against 2,” said President Kenyatta as he dismissed unfounded claims that the Jubilee Government has excluded some communities in government.

He said Odinga pushed the blame to William Ruto even though the Opposition leader was at the heart of the incitement that led to the killings and destruction nearly 10 years ago.


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