CORD free to hold peaceful demonstrations, Uhuru says

CORD free to hold peaceful demonstrations, Uhuru says

President Uhuru Kenyatta is still open to dialogue with the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD) over the fate of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu has said.

Esipisu however warned the opposition CORD that the government would not tolerate protests that violate the law, urging them to follow the law to address their issues.

Speaking during a press briefing at State House on Sunday, Esipisu said that the new constitution sought to do away with roadside declarations and boardroom meetings for individual gain at the expense of national interest.

“Our Constitution is the Supreme law in the country and should and must guide how we do business,” he said.

“Within the new constitution it was envisaged that roadside and boardroom meetings by few individual people solely dedicated to their personal accommodation rather than the national interest would come to an end,” he added.

He however said that CORD has the right to picket and hold peaceful demonstrations, provided they are peaceful and that the law is followed.

“There is a right to demonstrate for every individual, they can picket for whatever reason. The constitution lays out an important condition for every demonstration, that they must be peaceful, so please respect each other, follow the law and everything should be okay,” he added.

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) on Friday gave notice of yet another round demonstrations to push for the overhaul of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), throwing into disarray the dialogue process proposed by President Uhuru Kenyatta Wednesday.

In a letter to Nairobi County Police Commander Japheth Koome, CORD said it plans to upscale the demonstrations from once to twice a week, with protests scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays effective next week.

The opposition coalition said it would ensure the demonstrations are peaceful by deploying marshals to guide and control demonstrators.

The protests will be peaceful, and to ensure orderly procession, the coalition has made arrangements for peace marshals who will guide and manage the demonstrators,” said CORD in the letter.

In the letter, CORD secretariat CEO Norman Magaya has asked the County Commander to “organize necessary security arrangements to ensure the safety of all leaders and wananchi who will participate in the demonstration.”

The notification by CORD came barely hours after Statehouse denounced an earlier announcement by the opposition that the two coalitions had agreed on a four-member talks team to dialogue on the best way out of the IEBC stalemate.

On Thursday evening, CORD leader Raila Odinga – speaking at his Capitol Hill office – announced that the two coalitions had agreed on a four-member team to iron out outstanding issues before the Jubilee and CORD teams could formally begin IEBC talks. However in a statement issued from Statehouse, Jubilee disputed the Cord stance saying, “There has not been any suggestion or agreement on this four-member committee.”

CORD has so far held five protests over the fate of IEBC. At least six people have died and dozens others injured while property worth millions of shillings has been destroyed since the protests began.

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Story By Lisa Kamau
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