NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31 – Police Monday disrupted the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) aspirants meeting convened in Meru county by the party’s secretary General Veronica Maina.
Uniformed police officers stormed the meeting venue and demanded the dispersal of all those in attendance citing coronavirus containment regulations.
The area police boss said the group neither obtained a permit from the police nor notified them of any plan to hold such a meeting.
The meeting brought together aspirants from eight counties.
“You cannot hold any meeting without permission from the police, it is not allowed. I have been given permission by my boss to disperse this group,” the officer commanding police station asserted.
However Maina, in a statement, condemned the use of police in Meru to disrupt its meeting even as it noted that the police “did not care about the well-being of people particularly those living with disabilities who had attended the meetings.”
UDA confirmed that the forum was part of a series meetings held by the party with the previous ones having been held peacefully in Nairobi, Vihiga, Eldoret, and Nakuru.
“Today’s action is part of a continuing trend by the police to harass UDA and its supporters as witnessed during previous by-elections. The party calls upon the Inspector General of Police to desist from unwarranted use of force, for he will be held responsible for unlawful use of force,” Maina said.
Efforts by the UDA party members to convince the police to allow them to hold the meeting fell on deaf ears as the police warned of using tear gas canisters to disperse them.
The party which is affiliated with Deputy President William Ruto is seeking to consolidate its support base at the grassroots level across the country.
Soy Member of Parliament Caleb Kositany who is affiliated with the party previously said the outfit will ensure free and fair nominations for those seeking to fly the its flag in 2022 elections.
DP Ruto and his allies, a majority of whom were elected on the Jubilee Party ticket, are keen on popularizing the party ahead of the 2022 General Elections.
This comes at a time when the rift between DP and his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta continues to widen as the latter appears keen to foster ties with his ‘handshake’ partner Raila Odinga.
Ruto is still the deputy party leader in Jubilee but has vowed to decamp should the relationship with his boss and party continue to sour.