• Owino defended the conduct of the police, saying “all the meetings that we blocked or dispersed had counter-groups that promised violence”.
• He denied claims that the police is selectively applying the public orders to bar some politicians from holding rallies as it allows others.
Meetings by politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto were blocked last week because violence was bound to occur, police spokesman Charles Owino has said.
Owino defended the conduct of the police, saying “all the meetings that we blocked or dispersed had counter-groups that promised violence”.
“You saw what happened in Kenol, Murang’a? We cannot allow that to repeat itself on our watch,” Owino said.
He denied claims that the police is selectively applying the public orders to bar some politicians from holding rallies as it allows others.
The spokesman told the Star that the police’s interest is to preserve peace and not to deny any politicians their right to hold rallies.
On Thursday last week, police dispersed a fundraiser for a church and boda boda Sacco in Nyamira where Ruto was the chief guest.
Another meeting planned for Mumias by politicians allied to the DP and where he was expected was also blocked.
Similarly, a Msambweni constituency campaign rally for an independent candidate Ruto supports was stopped.
In all three cases, police cited Covid-19 containment measures that prohibit large mass gatherings and a directive by the National Security Advisory Committee requiring organisers of public meetings to seek approval from local police chiefs.
On the other hand, large public gatherings graced by ODM leader Raila Odinga were allowed to carry on uninterrupted.
Owino dismissed claims that the police were being partisan in enforcing the law. All the warring political sides were in government, he said.
“No one has resigned from the government to claim the police is against them. We are just doing our job,” he said.
Of Raila's events, Owino said by virtue of the meeting happening, “it means the required rules were complied with”.
"We only block meetings that breach the peace and which do not comply with the law. Any meeting, including the ones in Bondo, are allowed because they are compliant," he said.
(edited by o. owino)