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Rights body wants Cord allowed to hold Madaraka Day rally

The national human rights watchdog has sided with Cord over the use of Uhuru Park for a rally on Madaraka Day.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) chair Kagwiria Mbogori argued the police have no legal authority to ban the opposition rally because they had been notified in time.

“Based on the foregoing, the commission finds no basis for the police to disapprove the Cord rally. The police have no authority over the administration of Uhuru Park which squarely falls under the Nairobi City County,” Ms Mbogori said in a statement on Tuesday.


“The commission reminds the police that it is their constitutional duty to facilitate the enjoyment of the right to assembly. Restriction should be the exception, not the rule.”

Being a day meant to celebrate Kenya’s attainment of internal self-rule, President Uhuru Kenyatta will be hosting the national celebrations at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru this Wednesday.

The Opposition say they wanted to hold the meeting on the same day in Nairobi to “reflect” on the state of the nation, according to Cord leader Raila Odinga.

The venue had also coincidentally been booked by an evangelical organisation, Prayer Beyond Boundaries Ministries, though the Nairobi County government later clarified that Cord had been approved to use it.

But on Monday, government spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the National Security Advisory Committee had decided to ban any meetings at both Uhuru Park and Nyayo Stadium “in the interest of public safety.”