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Azimio la Umoja leaders stripped of security ahead of maandamano

Azimio political leaders have had their security withdrawn ahead of planned demonstrations in the city centre.

Nairobi News has established that police bodyguards were ordered to report to the Government House security office on Monday evening, 1 May 2023.

A message sent to the bodyguards also asked them to surrender their weapons and wait for further instructions.

The bodyguards are assigned to coalition leaders, members of parliament, senators, governors and their deputies.

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A similar move was made when the opposition led by Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga staged demonstrations against President Dr William Ruto’s government in different parts of the city.

The opposition has already defied orders from the National Police Service (NPS) banning demonstrations in Nairobi County.

Opposition leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Martha Karua rebuked Nairobi County police boss Adamson Bungei for banning Azimio la Umoja demonstrations.

Speaking at Embakassi South on April 30, the two leaders echoed an earlier statement by Azimio leader Raila Odinga that the demonstrations would continue.

Ms Karua, who was Mr Odinga’s running mate in the August 2022 elections, insisted that Azimio leaders and their supporters are allowed by law to hold demonstrations.

“Peaceful demonstrations are allowed under the Kenyan constitution and we will go ahead with Tuesday’s demonstration as planned,” she said.

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Ms Karua accused the authorities of using violence against demonstrators and urged the National Police Service (NPS) to ensure that officers deployed in the Central Business District (CBD) provide security for the opposition.

This was echoed by Mr Musyoka, who said it was clear that the police were taking orders from the ‘commander in chief’.

Mr Musyoka said opposition leaders were ready to do whatever it takes to ensure Kenyans get what they deserve and that should start with the government reducing the cost of living.

“It is clear that Mr Bungei is taking instructions from the Commander-in-Chief but he should know that the Constitution allows the opposition to hold demonstrations,” he said.

On 30 April, the police announced that they would not allow demonstrations in Nairobi.

Mr Bungei, who is the Nairobi County Police boss, said a decision had been taken that the Azimio la Umoja coalition led by Raila Odinga should not hold demonstrations in the city.

“We refuse to allow Azimio to hold demonstrations and there will be no demonstrations in Nairobi city. We also assure Kenyans of their safety during Labour Day) celebrations,” he said.

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