Thursday 18th, July, 2024

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Police deny approving Thursday’s demonstrations

Police officers in action on June 18, 2024, during demos against the Finance Bill 2024. PHOTO/X (@bonifacemwangi)

The National Police Service (NPS) has categorically denied granting permission for nationwide protests against the Finance Bill 2024, scheduled for July 20, 2024.

The denial comes in response to a widely circulated letter on social media, purportedly issued by the Inspector General (IG) of Police Japheth Koome, outlining conditions for the demonstrations.

The fake letter, dated June 19, 2024, claimed to authorize a public strike and peaceful march, with a stipulated start time of 5:00 pm.

However, the National Police Service swiftly discredited the document, emphasizing that no such approval had been granted.

Organizers of the protest, known as ‘Occupy Parliament’, remain undeterred.

They successfully staged a demonstration in Nairobi on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, coinciding with the tabling of the Finance Bill in Parliament.

As MPs prepare to vote on the contentious legislation on Thursday, June 20, tensions remain high as organizers seek to stage demos aimed at paralyzing business in the August House.

Thursday afternoon, members will vote to make a decision on the report of the committee on the bill during its second reading.

On Wednesday, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru urged the police to exercise restraint ahead of the demos scheduled for Thursday.

Waiguru pleaded with the law enforcement officers asking them not to use force while dealing with unarmed protesters.

The Chairperson of the Council of Governors argued that the right to picket and demonstrate is enshrined in the 2010 promulgated constitution.

“I understand fellow Kenyans will be back out tomorrow. Every person, peaceably and unarmed, has a right to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities in Kenya. I therefore humbly urge law enforcement agencies to show restraint from the use of excessive force on peaceful demonstrators,” Waiguru said in a statement. 

Nonetheless, the Kirinyaga governor also assured the protesters that the government would listen to their concerns.

The Finance Bill 2024 has sparked intense debate, and the upcoming vote promises to be a pivotal moment for Kenya’s economic policies.

Despite the denial of official approval, protesters are determined to make their voices heard.

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