Police now ban ‘Bunge la Mwananchi’ meetings in city centre
Police in Nairobi have banned the discussion of politics in crowd meetings within the city centre.
The meetings, christened Bunge la Mwananchi, are characterised by passionate discussions on governance, corruption, social welfare and political developments in the country.
But according to police, the meetings are a security threat to business premises in the city centre.
The favourite venues for the meetings include the intersection of Mama Ngina and Wabera Streets and in front of the Kenya Archives building on Moi Avenue.
Since Friday last week, police have been dispersing the meetings next to City Hall to no avail.
On Tuesday, Central OCPD Robinson Thuku said that the meetings are a threat to businesses on Mama Ngina and Wabera Streets, including the Nakumatt supermarket, Chase Bank and the Diamond Trust Bank.
“We are doing away with these groupings in the name of Bunge la Wananchi which are held in front of businesses in the CBD. They are a threat because people have raised concern over their security especially in Wabera street where the crowd has become huge,” explained Mr Thuku.
The OCPD said police are not against the freedom of expression, but that such meetings should be held in alternative locations like Uhuru Park where they do not inconvenience business premises.
The chairman Bunge La Wananchi, City Hall branch, Collins Onyango said that police officers have been deployed to man the venue of their meetings.
Mr Onyango claimed the Jubilee government is infringing on their basic rights.
“We were barred from holding our daily meetings at the City Hall. When we queried, we were handcuffed and taken to Central station where we were accused of urinating in the area and a threat to businesses,” Mr Onyango told Nairobi News.
Members of Bunge la Mwananchi were last month accused of stoning a Chase Bank outlet in the area as President Uhuru Kenyatta submitted his nomination papers to the electoral commission at KICC.
Nasa Young Turks chairman Jaoko Oburu said that the ban is an invasion of people’s freedom and they will take a legal action against the police.