Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome Sunday reprimanded his juniors for dispersing a meeting of Raila Odinga supporters who were celebrating his 79th birthday, and directed that stern administrative action be taken against those behind the incident.
Koome termed the move unwarranted and said he had taken cognizance of the unwarranted violent dispersion of members of the public who were holding a peaceful celebration in Nairobi.
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It emerged the officers were told to provide security to those holding the birthday party and talk to the organizers for a peaceful end to the events.
“They were informed the meetings will be at 3pm across the country and asked to provide security and not to disperse it,” said an officer aware of the issue. The action may include a transfer from the workstation.
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leaders were then meeting at Serena Hotel about two kilometers away to mark the day. Odinga was not present, and was away celebrating in Malindi with another group of leaders.
Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka told a press conference in Nairobi that they had to change the venue for a cake-cutting ceremony they had organized in honour of the former prime minister, who turned 79 on Sunday.
“Our supporters were tear-gassed for celebrating Baba’s birthday. Why would someone tear-gas a birthday cake? Maybe someone wants to stop the start of a revolution,” said Kalonzo.
MP for Westlands Tim Wanyonyi said the disruption was orchestrated by police officers. “The police turned up and tear-gassed our supporters. The government is scared because of tension and Kenyans who have no money as schools reopen,” he said.