Interior CS Kithure Kindiki has squarely placed the blame on Azimio leader Raila Odinga for the widespread looting and destruction of property that accompanied the countrywide demonstrations on Wednesday.
In a brief statement issued on Wednesday evening, Kindiki vowed that all those involved, directly or indirectly, in the carefully coordinated breach of public safety and security would be held accountable.
“The Government has tonight mobilized all the law enforcement agencies of the State and the institutions of our country’s criminal justice system to conclude investigations urgently and proceed to the arrest and prosecution of all those involved in the planning and execution of the crimes committed today, including those who funded or otherwise aided or abetted the offenders,” Kindiki stated.
Raila had called for the protests on Wednesday to put pressure on the Kenya Kwanza government, claiming that it had intentionally implemented policies that punished Kenyans.
However, he later canceled the Kamukunji rally due to intelligence reports suggesting that the police planned to use live ammunition against the protesters.
Kindiki, on the other hand, squarely attributed all acts of violence, looting, and destruction of public and private property during the demonstrations to Raila and his associates.
The CS also confirmed that there had been loss of life in some areas during the countrywide protests. In Migori town, a third-year student was fatally shot in the thigh by the police during violent demonstrations early on Wednesday.
“They lied to the Police that they would be holding a peaceful political rally at the Kamukunji grounds, only for them to unleash terror on innocent Kenyans, as a result of which lives have been lost, scores of law enforcement officers and civilians have been grievously injured and unimaginable loss to the Country’s economy have been occasioned,” Kindiki asserted.
Raila, during his press conference, accused the police of instigating violence during the Azimio protests. He claimed that the demonstrations had always been peaceful until security officers, deployed for crowd control, dispersed them with bullets and tear gas.
Videos circulating online showed protesters lighting bonfires on roads and obstructing traffic. In some areas, vehicles were set on fire, and demonstrators in Mlolongo pulled down barriers and destroyed flower vases on the Nairobi Expressway. In Kisumu and Wote town, protesters clashed with the police, hurling stones and forcing the officers to flee for safety.
Kindiki warned that this culture of impunity would be halted. He accused Raila and his co-conspirators of overseeing a day of shameless and unprovoked looting, illegal obstruction of economic activities, and extensive damage to major public assets and infrastructure, all of which had been built with the hard-earned taxes of the Kenyan people.