NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 8 — The Cabinet on Thursday adopted the National Security Advisory Committee’s (NSAC) resolution requiring political leaders intending to hold public gatherings to seek approval from the Officer Commanding Station of the area three days prior.
The Cabinet which was chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta also resolved to establish a multi-agency team comprising members drawn from the ministries of interior and ICT, whose mandate will be to monitor and enforce compliance of directives on the conduct of public gatherings.
They include representatives from the Ministry of Interior, Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of ICT, National Intelligence Service, National Police and Communications Authority of Kenya.
“The primary term of the multi-agency team shall be to monitor, document and enforce compliance with the prescriptions and directives with respect to the conduct of all public gatherings and processions,” a statement dispatched by the Cabinet Office read.
NSAC issued the directives were issued on Wednesday by the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. He said the guidelines are aimed at taming political incitement and violence in political rallies, social media and the mainstream media.
Under the directives, conveners of the meetings will be required to obey orders given to them by the OCS, or any other officer of or above the rank of an inspector, and also assist the police in maintenance of peace and order at the meeting.
The Head of Public Service further said people who choose to attend the meetings or processions will be required to be peaceful at all times and not be in a possession of any weapon.
They are also required to respect freedom of expression of other people, and not abuse, exclude or demean other people, Kinyua said.
Kenyans have been urged to exercise restraint and remain each other’s keeper by strictly adhering to the issued directives, in order to promote peaceful coexistence and security of the country.
Social media users and media houses will also be personally be held liable for posts and publications that jeopardize public safety, the public service chief.
Administrators of social media platforms will be responsible for moderating and controlling any undesirable content their platforms.
The directive was however interpreted as Ruto’s allies as an attempt to slow his country-wide campaign tours as the fallout in the ruling Jubilee Party deepens.
“The Greatest threat to our National Security is not social media or public/political gatherings.Greatest threat to our National Security is deceit, wrangles and fights at the highest level of government and the governing Party. Kinyua’s statement is panic button for the side that has lost the public,” Senator Kipchumba Murkomen charged.