Home » Tensions rise as police defy cancellation of opposition protests at Nairobi’s Jacaranda Grounds

Tensions rise as police defy cancellation of opposition protests at Nairobi’s Jacaranda Grounds

by Paul Nyongesa
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Embakasi East Member of Parliament, Paul Ongili Owino, also known as Babu Owino, has raised concerns over the deployment of police officers to the Jacaranda Grounds in Nairobi on Monday, April 3, 2023. The grounds are often used for political rallies, and the deployment of police officers raised questions about their presence when Azimio la Umoja leader, Raila Odinga, had called off the demonstrations the previous day.

Mr. Owino took to his social media accounts to question the police’s presence, asking why they were present at the grounds after the demonstrations were canceled. His statement comes amid rising tensions between the government and opposition leaders, who have been calling for protests to address various issues affecting the country.

Mr. Odinga had called off the weekly opposition protests, but he later announced a mega procession scheduled for the same day. The cancellation came after President William Ruto appealed to Mr. Odinga to call off the protests and engage in dialogue to address the issues raised.

Mr. Owino cautioned the National Police Service against deploying security officers at Jacaranda Grounds, warning that he would take action if they did not remove their vehicles from the area. He tweeted, “Mtoe hizo lorry zenu hapo before I change my mind na msinizoe.”

The government has been facing criticism over its handling of opposition protests, which have often led to destruction of property and businesses. In some cases, deaths and injuries have been reported after Azimio supporters engaged in running battles with a contingent of police officers. Opposition and human rights organizations have condemned officers’ excessive use of force and threatened to sue those involved.

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