NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has denied claims that security officers killed protesters in parts of the country following demonstrations over disputed poll results.
Matiangi told a news conference at Harambee House Saturday that apart from incidences of lawlessness in parts of Kibera, Mathare, and Kisumu, the rest of the country was calm.
He warned criminal elements planning to cause havoc that stern action would be taken against them, saying some people had been arrested for spreading inflammatory messages through social media.
According to Matiangi, security forces in Nairobi thwarted attempts of looting even as it emerged that a mob had set ablaze a Public Service Vehicle in Kisumu following spontaneous demos in parts of the lakeside city after the declaration of results of the presidential election held on Tuesday.
“Peaceful demonstrations and picketing are protected by the Constitution and our police always act according to the law,” he said adding that anyone who wished to hold a peaceful demonstration would be protected.
“Individuals or gangs that a looting shops, that want to endanger lives, breaking into people’s businesses; those are not demonstrators, they’re criminals,” he asserted accompanied his Cabinet colleague Joe Mucheru (ICT), Inspector General of National Police Service Joseph Boinnet, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Principal Secretaries Karanja Kibicho (Interior) and Ambassador Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs).
Matiangi said the government, under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto was keen on ensuring the life of every Kenyan was protected.
“After he voted on Tuesday, the Deputy President William spoke very strongly about inclusivity and oneness regardless of the outcome of the General Election. Our President in his acceptance speech Friday night also spoke so eloquently and passionately about the fact that we’re one nation, one people. We’ve been and so we shall continue to be,” he stressed.
The Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government also noted the resumption of normalcy following a peaceful election on August 8, with Matiangi urging Kenyans to go about their daily business without fear over safety.
“Across the country, there has been a state of public safety and security. By and large, life has returned to normal and I urge everyone to go about their normal chores assured of safety and security,” Matiangi appealed.
He also assured residents in parts of the country where disruption of normal order occurred on Friday night that security forces have, and will continue to respond appropriately and ensure normalcy is restored and tranquillity prevails.
“I wish to remind the public that whereas we enjoy the right to hold demonstrations, this must be carried out peacefully and unarmed, without posing threat to life or property,” he reminded.
Matiangi urged those who feel aggrieved by the outcome of the Tuesday’s General Election to pursue avenues prescribed in law.
“The government will stop at nothing short of protecting the lives of Kenyans and their property and warn any person that may have criminal intent that they will face the full force of the law,” he warned.