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February 16, 2019

Police declare Uhuru Park out of bounds tomorrow

Nairobi police commander Japheth Koome during an interview with the Star at his office on November 12, 2017/JOSEPH NDUNDA
Nairobi police commander Japheth Koome during an interview with the Star at his office on November 12, 2017/JOSEPH NDUNDA

The Nairobi security command yesterday outlawed tomorrows swearing-in ceremony of NASA leader Raila Odinga.

Nairobi police commander Japheth Koome said none of the groups that have expressed interest in using Uhuru Park tomorrow would be allowed.

The decision may lead to a confrontation between NASA supporters and the police.

“I have a responsibility to protect life and property. No one has informed the police of any meeting apart from what we read in the media and social media. No one will be allowed in the city," Koome told a press at his office yesterday.

Read: Uhuru Park a no-go zone for NASA, Koome says ahead of Raila oath

In what was seen as an indirect reference to supporters of NASA, Koome said, "Those travelling from other places with intention to come and cause chaos in Nairobi, please keep off.”  

Today, top security chiefs are expected to meet ahead of tomorrow's NASA event.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, Deputy Inspector Generals Edward Mbugua and Noor Gabow, will meet other security operators in Nairobi to finalise security operation plans.

Read: Oath is on, Raila says after pre-inauguration fanfair in Homa Bay

The planned swearing-in of Raila as the People’s President has been a subject of discussion in various security meetings.

Last week, Nairobi county Security and Intelligence Committee met to discuss the same issue.

The team is chaired by Bernard Leparmarai, who is the regional coordinator.

Members of the committee include police chief Japheth Koome, his DCI counterpart Ireri Kamwende and a representative from the National Intelligence Service.

Read: Ruto to Kenyans: Ignore 'irrelevant' NASA oath

Koome and his AP counterpart Francis Mburu in liaison with National Police Director of Operations are the critical players in the formulating the security operations for the day.

They will then hand over their plans, known in the police as operations order, to the DIG Kenya Police and IG for approval.

Yesterday, highly placed sources told the Star, top police chiefs were waiting for direction from State House before a decision can be reached.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said State House had sent strong signals that the government would not allow the function scheduled to take place in Uhuru park.

Uhuru Park has since been close by the Nairobi government for renovation.

“We shall definitely make a decision by end of the day. Remember we don’t have much time," a senior police officer said.

Another top officer said delays in announcing the final security plans is aimed at keeping secret the police operations.

The officer, who is well placed in the planning and implementation of the day-to-day activities, said some officers had leaked sensitive information to politicians and therefore the need to delay the final orders.

Also read: Don't provoke Raila by stopping Tuesday oath, Atwoli tells Uhuru

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