Top security body blocks Cord’s Madaraka Day rally
Kenya’s top security organ on Monday banned the planned Madaraka Day rally by the Opposition at Uhuru Park.
National Security Advisory Committee cited security threats posed by the double booking of the venue by Cord and the Prayer Beyond Boundaries Ministries for banning the planned rally.
The directive comes after Cord said that while President Uhuru Kenyatta will be leading the commemoration at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 1, the coalition will lead a parallel one at Uhuru Park.
In a statement released by government spokesman Eric Kiraithe, the committee also ordered for the closure of the Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday.
The statement was released hours after the Nairobi City County government had cleared the Opposition the rightful user of Uhuru Park on June 1. The County Secretary Dr Robert Ayisi had said Cord had been granted official permission to use the venue.
But Mr Kiraithe explained that the decision to ban the rally was meant to ensure public safety in Nairobi and across the country on Wednesday.
Here are excerpts of Mr Kiraithe’s statement:
We are aware that there has been significant confusion about who shall or will be holding an event this Wednesday at Uhuru Park. We can confirm that through an unfortunate administrative oversight both CORD and a religious group know as Prayer Beyond Boundaries Ministries managed to reserve the premises.
This otherwise minor, logistical issue has regrettably become somewhat contentious and taken on unnecessary political dimensions. Consequently, the National Security Advisory Committee convened earlier today (Monday) to evaluate the security threats emanating from a double booking of the grounds.
First, it was decided that neither of the parties who had reserved the premises will be permitted to use the grounds on the material day. Both parties are therefore hereby requested to reorganise their activities accordingly.
Second, it was decided that the Nyayo Stadium shall remain closed on Wednesday and no functions will be held there.
We regret the inconvenience caused to those affected, but thank the public in advance for their compliance with these provisions which, in the considered view of the committee, are in the interest of public safety. Indeed, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring public safety, across the country both on Wednesday and otherwise.