• Police had earlier announced the protests are banned as they do not meet the threshold of the Public Order Act.
• Kindiki said the government reiterates its commitment to respect, protect and promote all fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki on Sunday issued a statement in connection with planned mass action by Azimio la Umoja on Monday.
He, however, did not say if the protests are banned or not.
Police had earlier announced the protests are banned as they do not meet the threshold of the Public Order Act.
Azimio responded and said police have no power to permit or decline the protests as per the law. They are supposed to provide security after being notified.
Azimio leader Raila Odinga dismissed as useless the announcement by police that they had banned the planned protests.
"Huo ni upuzi. Police kazi yao ni kulinda wananchi. The duty of the police is to protect the people. Not to license protests. They are only served with the notice and that's what the Constitution says,” Raila said at ATG Deliverance Church in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado County.
Hours later, Kindiki issued a statement saying the National Police Service in discharge of its mandate of protection of life and property, maintenance of law and order and preservation of peace shall ensure no life or property is lost or destroyed by people exercising their rights under Article 37 or any other provision of the Constitution.
“In balancing the rights of those invoking Article 37 with the rights of the rest of Kenyans, security agencies shall enforce the Constitution firmly, decisively and resolutely with no regard for political persuasion or social standing of those involved.
“It is hereby notified for information of the general public that pursuant to the Protected Areas Act (CAP 204 of the Laws of Kenya), security agencies shall prevent unauthorised access to all protected areas,” he said.
Kindiki added that the government reiterates its commitment to respect, protect and promote all fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution.
“In so doing, security agencies shall respect Article 37 of the Constitution which guarantees the right of every person, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, demonstrate, picket, and to present petitions to public authorities.
“The same Constitution, however, limits enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms to ensure protection of the rights and freedoms of others and to promote broader societal interests including public order, safety and morality,” he added.
The Interior CS said for every right or freedom guaranteed in the Constitution, there is a corresponding obligation criminalising violation of the rights or freedoms of others.
Your rights or freedoms end where the rights or freedoms of others start, he stated.
“In exercise of their rights or freedoms, no one may engage in threats, lawlessness, violence, destruction of property or obstruction of activities of other people or in any other way infringe on the rights or freedoms of others.”
The responsibility to ensure that assemblers, protestors, picketers and petitioners are peaceable, unarmed and orderly is on the organizers and leaders of the activity, Kindiki said.
He assured the public of their safety and advised everyone to continue with their activities uninterrupted and allow security agencies to discharge their mandate of maintaining law and order.
“Monday 20th March 2023 is a normal working day. All week day activities including learning in schools and other educational institutions shall proceed normally.
“Any person who incites public disorder or otherwise breaches the peace in any part of the Republic of Kenya shall be prosecuted,” he said.
Azimio has called for mass action to protest against high cost of living and electoral injustices.
Raila said protestors will converge right at the Nairobi CentralBusiness District and start their march to Parliament buildings.
"To Kenyans, tomorrow is a public holiday. If you can't come to Nairobi, protest from wherever you are," Raila said in Rongai.