Layman’s advise on how to avoid Maandamano drama to and from work
Maandamano Monday is here with us again on March 27, 2023. Thousands of Kenyans are expected to join the opposition on the streets to demonstrate against the skyrocketing high cost of living as well as against President William Ruto’s presidency, which opposition leader Raila Odinga claims is a result of a stolen election in the August 2022 General Election.
Millions more Kenyans will be following the demonstrations on various mainstream and social media platforms while some may end up being caught in the demonstrations as they rush to and from work or a destination they had planned before going to.
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Nairobi News gives non-expert advise on how one can avoid Maandamano drama and how to navigate should one find themselves in the vicinity of demonstrators and law enforcement:
- If possible, ask to work from home. This is the safest way to protect your life and property if there are predictions that the demonstrations may turn ugly.
- If you must be present at work physically, leave your home very early in the morning than your usual time. This allows you to safely head to your place of work before demonstrators begin gathering on the streets.
- If the demonstrators take to the streets and take longer to leave, opt to leave your work place later than usual and in a group of colleagues. Do not walk about the streets alone because there is safety in numbers- especially if there are still a handful of demonstrating groups milling about.
- Before you leave your house or place of work, monitor local media for updates on how the demonstrations are unfolding and in which locations the demonstrators are gathering. Map out these hotspots and keep them in mind so that you can avoid them when necessary. This will allow you to map out alternative routes of how to get to and from work if demonstrators are between you and your final destination of the day.
- If Maandamano finds you on the streets, find the nearest open building and get inside. Stay put until the demonstrators advance further towards their destination.
- Avoid aggravating the demonstrators by railing against their cause. They may turn on you without notice and you may be injured in the fracas. Let them have their peace as they move on. You are not a one-man army to take on them.
- Avoid taking photographs of law enforcement authorities tasked with crowd control and dispersion of the demonstrators. Many might feel targeted and violently turn on you, especially with recent reports that they use extra-judicial force when engaging demonstrators. In a viral video, a young woman from an urban slum recorded herself facing off with a police officer while recording the interaction, and the officer knocked the woman’s phone down before she began calling him out for their excessive use of force in dealing with demonstrators. In a second report that made rounds online, an anonymous police officer told the media that they had been afraid of ‘properly’ dealing with demonstrators because cameras everywhere recorded their moves.
Monday, March 27, 2023, will mark the second round of demonstrations, followed by a third on Thursday, March 30, 2023.
The opposition said it would lead demonstrations every Monday and Thursday until President William Ruto met their three conditions, including lowering the cost of living as he had promised to do in his first few days in office and failed to, open the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission computer servers so that the actual presidential election winner may be known and stopping the replacement of IEBC officials.
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