NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – The Police Service on Friday disallowed a planned fundraiser event in Kakamega’s Mumias East which Deputy President William Ruto was expected to preside over as chief guest citing a threat to public order.
Shianda Police Boss Christopher Wesonga said a joint Sunday mass organized by the Catholic sub-parish of Burini which covers about ten churches in Mumias East constituency will not hold.
“Any gathering will be considered a contravention of the Public Order Act,” he stated in response to a letter from the sub-parish seeking clearance for the meeting.
The development came on the same day police in Kwale’s Msabweni constituency blocked Ruto’s allies from attending a scheduled event in support of an independent aspirant for a by-election set for December 15.
Ruto declared his support for Feisal Bader after the ruling Jubilee Party opted out of the race in favour of ODM’s Omar Boga, denying the DP’s preferred candidate, Marriam Sharlet Akinyi, a chance.
Former Senators Johnstone Muthama, Omar Hassan and Boni Khalwale – all known allies of the Deputy President – were stopped from accessing Diani Beach Hotel, the venue of their planned meeting.
The ex-senators who were accompanied by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwah, another ally of Ruto recently ejected out of House Budget Committee Chairmanship over his dalliance with the DP who is increasingly becoming sidelined in government, condemned police action as contempt to liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
Friday’s meeting was the second pro-Ruto forum to be disallowed by the State, the police having stopped two other scheduled meetings in Kisii on Thursday.
Ruto subsequently postponed meetings in the region slated for Friday to Thursday and Friday next week.
Khalawle who was to host the DP together with former House Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali, the resident MP for Mumias East, decried the cancellation of the Sunday fundraiser meeting.
“Chief Inspector Christopher Wesonga, OCS Shianda (c/o @IG_NPS ) the freedom of worship is a constitutional right neither given by the police nor can it be taken away by the police. Stop your delusional ideation. The constitution cannot be superseded by the Public Order Act,” Khalwale charged.
Ruto allies termed police action as an attempt to gag the DP under the guise of enforcing public order regulations requiring conveners of public forums to seek clearance with police three days prior to their events.
The guidelines were issued by the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) on Wednesday and adopted by the Cabinet on Thursday.
NSAC convener, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, said the guidelines were geared at taming political violence.
“The convener or any person intending to hold a public meeting or a public prosecution that shall notify the OCS of such intent at least three days but not more than fourteen days before the proposed date of the public meeting or procession,” said Kinyua.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen however termed the restrictions as hypocritical citing the continuation of similar political meetings by handshake-leaning politicians led by ODM leader Raila Odinga, a co-patron of the Building Bridges Initiative constitutional review process.
“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 Murkomen stated.