By Olanrewaju Oyedeji
There is heightened tension in Kenya over plans by the Raila Odinga-led opposition coalition for Reforms and democracy to stage a protest march Monday to press for a more independent electoral commission.
Already heavy police presence has been recorded at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission offices given hints that the protesters are billed to swarm the place as part of their renewed protests against IEBC officials.
Confirming the police action, Nairobi Police Boss Japheth Koome stated that the deployment was essentially precautionary and intended to avert a total breakdown of law and order in case the protesting crowd became unruly.
While stating that under the Constitution Kenyans have the right to picket, he made it clear that they should only do so under the set boundaries.
‘CORD does not have any documentation authorising their mass action, but as you know, the Constitution is clear regarding the right to picket and we will not stop them,” the police boss explained.
“However, they should do so peacefully and not try to disrupt any business within the city. You have asked me about the security presence at the IEBC offices. We have our officers there and you should go and see for yourself,” he stated.
The countrywide demonstrations by CORD are seeking to eject the IEBC officials in order to facilitate a re-constituted commission.
CORD Coalition Management Board Co-Chair James Orengo said the demonstrations will take place starting at 10am at the IEBC Headquarters at the Anniversary Towers and all its county offices.
The Siaya Senator insisted that the demonstrations will only be called off after all IEBC Commissioners have vacated office because they are biased towards the ruling Jubilee coalition and will rig the 2017 election in their favour.
Last week, IEBC Commissioners led by Chairman Issack Hassan hit back saying they are ready to resign if CORD leader Raila Odinga proves they have been compromised by the Jubilee government which is captained by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya is East Africa’s largest democracy and one of very few African states that was not afflicted by the virus of military rule.