Scores of Kenyan’s living in the US Saturday, congregated at the UN Headquarters in New York to protest against what they termed as institutionalisation of corruption, extra judicial killings of innocent citizens, political intimidation and an attempt to change the electoral law.
Chanting and carrying placards that said in part, “Chiloba Must Go! Stop Killing innocent citizens and, Stop interfering with Electoral Laws!’ the Kenyans, mainly Nasa supporters, called on the international community to intervene.
“We Kenyans in the diaspora condemn in the strongest terms the police's use of force on the University of Nairobi students and other Kenyans who were demonstrating for free, fair and verifiable elections. Senseless killings, detention and harassment of members of the opposition and the use of mungiki militia to kill and maim innocent Kenyans should not be tolerated,” said Robert Ndede Owino, a member of the group that organised the demonstration.
Speaker after speaker expressed fear that Kenya is slowly but surely descending into a anarchy as criminal gangs infiltrate peaceful demonstrations called by the Opposition coalition.
They said that for the country to move forward after the nullification of the August 8 presidential elections, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) must demonstrate that it can seal loopholes that were identified by the Supreme Court.
“It is unfortunate that the same IEBC officials who committed illegalities in the August 8 polls are same individuals who are supposed to preside over the October 26 repeat elections. Ever since the annulment, President Kenyatta and his team have castigated and threatened the Supreme Court with complete overhaul if he gets re-elected as president because he did not like the court’s decision,” said Boaz Barasa, a member of the organising committee.
Before the demonstration that took place in New York at the West 47th and 1st Avenue between 11.30 and 1.30 on Saturday, there was confusion as leaflets, fliers and online posts indicating that Jubilee supporters were also to hold their own demonstration at the same time, were circulated.
This followed reports that the demos, which were organised by Amnesty International, had been cancelled after the Kenyan Permanent Representative to the US Macharia Kamau allegedly called the New York Police Department to say they were likely to cause chaos in the city.
But since the demonstrations that had been called had been widely advertised, leaders of the Amnesty International who had applied for the permit, rushed to court to apply for another one. They had to buy a hefty insurance policy for the new permit.
“It’s true our initial license for the demonstration was cancelled because somebody called NYPD to report that it was a Nasa event. We had to go court last (Friday) evening to restore the license and we had to buy insurance cover worth 7 million dollars. It was important that we have this demonstrations as Amnesty International to alert the world to what is going on in Kenya,” said Nick Ogutu, Amnesty International New York representative.
Mr Ogutu said Amnesty International USA had organised the event to create awareness to the several violations for human rights in Kenya following the August 8 presidential elections whose results were nullified.
He said that the Judiciary have stated that the police is reluctant to provide them with adequate security following threats and pro-government demonstrations outside the precincts of the Supreme Court in Nairobi.
"We urge the government to make sure all judges are given enough security," he said.