Azimio leader Raila Odinga on Sunday, March 19, maintained that the planned mass action will go on, urging supporters to come out in large numbers.
While addressing a rally in Ongata Rongai, Raila who called on Kenyans to attend the much-hyped March 20 mass action, stated that protesters will be meeting at Nairobi Central Business District (CBD).
"The Ongata Rongai has given an assurance that tomorrow at dawn, they will join all other Kenyans in the CBD. Let's meet at KICC tomorrow early morning patriots," Raila noted.
According to Raila, all protesters will be accorded every right enshrined in the Constitution, and no one should be afraid of attending the mass action.
"I'm calling on all Kenyans of goodwill to wake up very early in the morning and gather at the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD)," Raila declared.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party Leader warned the police against trying to deny protesters their rights.
Raila was responding to the National Police Service that declared the protests illegal since the notification was submitted late.
"The mass action is your right, and there is no one who should by any means take that right from you," Raila noted.
However, leaders from both political divide called on Raila to put the country first even as he insisted on carrying on with the planned mass action.
"There is a right to protest provided these protests recognise the limitations of Article 37 on picketing, as well as the limitations in Article 33 (2) on expression. There is no right to destroy property, disrupt learning and disrupt economic activity," Senator Esther Okenyuri noted.
Senator Okenyuri added that it doesn’t make sense to create so much political tension just so that Raila can deliver a petition.
"In fact, if he wanted to deliver the petition to Parliament, he just needs to contact the Speakers of the Senate Amason Jeffah Kingi and the National Assembly Moses Wetangula," Okenyuri stated.
On his part, Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot acknowledged Raila's soft heart, especially, on the delivery of a petition to President Ruto.
"I can see your friend Raila revised his stance, and clarified that only a small group of people will visit the State House to deliver a petition. That is encouraging," Cheruiyot told President Ruto.
Meanwhile, Nairobi Regional Commander Adamson Bungei stated that Azimio failed to meet the requirements of the Public Order Act.
"We received two requests from Azimio and Nairobi business community to hold protests tomorrow. One late in the evening and the other this morning.
"Both did not meet the legal threshold and were thus declined and the same was communicated to them in writing," Bungei explained.
The police officers also warned protesters against trying to access restricted areas such as the State House in Nairobi.
Bungei noted that access to the State House can only happen with express authority as informed by the law on access to restricted areas.
However, the police also noted that those who take part in the mass action should do so without infringing on other people's rights.
Bungei warned that appropriate measures will be taken against anyone who tries to break into any shop, noting that the police will protect all Kenyans and their property.
"We caution anyone that will break the law or breach peace during the procession shall be dealt with according to the law," Bungei warned.
While fielding questions from the media on Saturday, March 18, Raila noted that only a few emissaries from the opposition political outfit will be sent to State House and not all protesters.
“We are people who respect and know the law. Our leader Wycliffe Oparanya wrote to the Inspector General of Police informing him that we would hold a rally.
"Those who will be able to come to Nairobi will come to Nairobi and those unable will hold their meetings wherever they will be,” he clarified.
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