National Super Alliance (Nasa) MPs have accused Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i of usurping the Constitution as their Jubilee Party counterparts welcomed his decision to bar anti-IEBC demos in Nairobi’s central business district.
The Opposition MPs said they were dismayed by the Cabinet Secretary’s ban, which they said negates and usurps the Constitution.
“We all know demonstrations are very constitutional and only a court of law can tinker with the Bill of Rights in the Constitution,” said Nyando MP Jared Okello, who led the MPs at a press conference at Parliament.
Mr Okello said from their interpretation of the Constitution, nobody needs permission from the police to hold a demonstration.
“All one needs to do is inform the police. We will not be cowed into silence,” said Mr Okello.
He was accompanied by MPs Fred Ouda (Kisumu Central, ODM), Adipo Okuome (Karachuonyo, ODM) and Charles Were (Kasipul, ODM).
Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo said the demonstrations on Friday would be bigger than those on Monday and Wednesday.
Mr Okello said it was upon the police to protect lives and property during the protests.
Jubilee Party MPs from the city were, however, critical of the demonstrations and lauded the decision by the National Security Advisory Committee not to allow protests in the city centre.
They also said they would sue the organisers of the demonstrations to compensate traders who lost property and whose premises were attacked on Wednesday as a result of the protests.
Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan said while the right to demonstrate is entrenched in the Constitution, Nasa should condemn those who went out to loot and destroy property.
“We’re here to stand up for our traders because Nairobi is a trading city, professional people going about their business. We would like the police to take stern action against any violator of this ban,” said Mr Hassan, who heads the Nairobi Jubilee MPs caucus.
Roysambu MP Waihenya Ndirangu said the MPs would engage a law firm to sue the organisers of the demonstrations for damages incurred by businesses in the city.
Starehe MP Charles ‘Jaguar’ Njagua has written to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to move its headquarters out of the CBD.
He copied his letter to the Inspector-General of Police.
Mr Njagua is unlikely to force the IEBC out of the CBD given it has been a long-term tenant at Anniversary Towers and getting space elsewhere would be a lengthy process.
He asked those affected by the demonstrations to record statements at the Central Police Station to support the private prosecution.
Embakasi Central MP Benjamin Mwangi said as the most affected group, transporters would not allow the protests to continue.
Other MPs at the press conference were Nixon Korir (Lang’ata), John Kiarie (Dagoretti South), George Theuri (Embakasi West) and James Gakuya (Embakasi North).