Tue, 30 May 2023

Kenyan police again outlaw protests by opposition

27 Mar 2023, 02:05 GMT+10

NAIROBI, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police on Sunday banned anti-government protests organized by the country's main opposition due to be held across the country on Monday.

Japhet Koome, Inspector General of Police, termed the protests by the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition against the high cost of living and electoral injustice as "illegal."

"I have a mandate to ensure that I protect lives and property and I am very good at that. I will not sleep on the job. Whichever level or status you have in society. I have enough land cruisers to take you away to jail and be there for a lifetime," Koome told a news conference in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

However, Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who narrowly lost the 2022's presidential election to President William Ruto has declared the planned protests will go on, saying the police chief's declaration was against the law.

Koome said nobody with the intent to cause chaos will be allowed into the city center and other parts of the country, adding that the protests are political and should be solved politically, not on the streets.

He said dozens of police officers will be deployed to various parts of the country to ensure there is peace and safety for all.

"We have visitors from many foreign nations and we will not allow anything to happen in our capital city. Everyone has the right to go into the city center," Koome said.

He added his team will ensure there is calm in the central business district, assuring Kenyans of safety as they report to their respective workplaces.

"We are ready as the police to ensure that there is calm in the entire country starting with Nairobi. Every Kenyan should go on with their work tomorrow (Monday). Ours is to ensure that every corner of this country is secure and safe. This is our country and I would urge all of us to be proud to be Kenyans," he added.

Kenyans are grappling with high-cost basic communities amid the sharp devaluation of the local shilling against the U.S. dollar.

Odinga has said it was of utmost importance that the government reins in the high cost of living for the benefit of ordinary citizens.

Food prices have mainly increased in Kenya due to a prolonged drought that has cut production and caused global disruption in the supply of commodities like maize and wheat.

A decline of the Kenyan shilling against major international currencies has further exacerbated the situation for Kenya as imports become too costly.

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