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IG Koome condemns police dispersal of Raila’s birthday celebrations in Nairobi

Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome has expressed strong disapproval of the recent incident where a peaceful gathering of Raila Odinga supporters, celebrating the former prime minister’s 79th birthday, was forcefully dispersed by police along Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi.

Koome, in a stern directive issued on Sunday, January 7, ordered immediate administrative action against the officers responsible for the unwarranted disruption.

The Inspector General labeled the dispersal as “unwarranted” and emphasised the National Police Service’s commitment to maintaining political neutrality in executing its mandate of safeguarding life and property.

The statement from Koome’s office revealed that commanders in the city may face transfer as part of the disciplinary action.

Koome asserted that he had taken note of the violent dispersal and was determined to ensure accountability.

“The Inspector General, IG Japhet Koome has directed for stern administrative action to be taken against the Officers who engaged in the unlawful action,” stated the official communication from his office.

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The incident occurred as Raila’s supporters gathered to celebrate his 79th birthday. Coincidentally, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leaders were meeting at Serena Hotel, about two kilometres away, to mark the occasion.

Raila was not present at the Serena Hotel meeting as he was celebrating with another group of leaders in Malindi.

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, during a press conference in Nairobi, expressed dismay over the tear-gassing of supporters during the birthday celebration.

“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.

Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi alleged that the disruption was orchestrated by police officers, accusing the government of being apprehensive due to tensions and financial challenges faced by Kenyans as schools reopened.

The leaders convened at Serena Hotel, where they moved the cake-cutting ceremony following the disturbance, condemning the police action and calling for accountability and transparency in handling public gatherings.