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January 22, 2018

ODM MPs defy Matiang'i demos ban, to lead protesters on Friday

NASA supporters during anti-IEBC demos in Mombasa county. /JOHN CHESOLI
NASA supporters during anti-IEBC demos in Mombasa county. /JOHN CHESOLI

ODM MPs have slammed acting Interior CS Fred Matiang'i for barring supporters from holding anti-IEBC demos.

Led by Jared Okello (Nyando), the leaders said NASA's nationwide demonstrations are in line with the Constitution under Article 137 and that no individual or state agency can curtail people's fundamental freedom to protest or picket.

 "What Matiang'i has done is to negate tenets of the Constitution which is unacceptable. During the old order we had the Chiefs Order Act and it went with the old Constitution. That is what gave the Matiang'i and company any leverage to employ caveats on fundamental freedoms," Okello said.

 Okello was accompanied by MPs Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Fred Ouda (Kisumu Central) and Adipo Okuome (Karachuonyo) at a press conference at Parliament Buildings.

 Matiang'i said the National Security Advisory Committee resolved yesterday morning bar protesters from accessing the Central Business Center of major cities of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

More on this: Matiang'i bans demos in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa CBDs after NASA threats

The CS warned that organizers of the protests will be held personally responsible for any damage to property and looting caused by protesters.

"I will further issue a gazette notice with regulations that govern the conduct of demonstrations. As much as the constitution allows people to picket and demonstrate, the government's key priority is to protect its citizens and their property and this, for sure, we shall do without fear or favour," Matiang'i said. 

But the ODM leaders said they will lead their supporters in protests demanding for reforms in IEBC and resignation of 12 officials including CEO Ezra Chiloba believed to have bungled the August poll.

 "We shall be in the streets talking about no reforms, no elections until a time when IEBC and its Jubilee cohorts will come to realization that elecetoral justice is more important that just any kind election. We are going to scale up the protests daily from Monday as stated by our principals," Okello said.

 Nyando MP said the Wednesday protest was the "mother of demonstrations"and tomorrow and subsequent daily demos will be the "grandmother of all protests" until NASA irreducible minimums are implemented to have a free, fair and credible election. 

 He asked security officers to provide protesters with security and arrest "bad elements" taking advantage of the demos to destroy property and loot.

 Ouda said the freedoms envisaged in the Constitution are bigger than anyone including Matiang'i on grounds they were realized through shedding of blood by "our forefathers."

 "We are not going to be cowed to submission because the Constitution gives us unalienable right to picket," he said.

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