CORD threatens to resume street protests over detained MPs


Mps
The legislators from CORD and Jubilee in court on June 14, 2016. [Photo/Tabitha}

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has threatened to resume street protests on Monday if its detained MPs over alleged hate speech are not released unconditionally.

CORD co-principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula said the government has no option but to release them without proffering any charges against them.

In a press briefing at Raila’s Capitol Hill office, Kalonzo accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of using the police to oppress the opposition saying that their resolve to have the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) disbanded will not be stopped by whatever levels of intimidation.

“The government is turning repressive and bullying any opposition leader who dares ask for accountability,” said Kalonzo adding that the detained CORD MPs are being held incommunicado.

“CORD demands the immediate release of all the MPs without charge. If the MPs are not released, we will resume our demonstrations on Monday.”

Opposition MPs Junet Mohammed (Suna East), Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi Women Rep), Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba), Florence Mutua (Busia Women Rep) and Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama were arrested alongside Jubilee’s Moses Kuria, Ferdinand Waititu and Kimani Ngunjiri on Tuesday over alleged hate speech and incitement to violence.

Their bail application was denied at Pangani Police Station after the prosecution requested for four days to conclude investigations.

CORD further accuses the Presidency of “turning the police force into a personal and political militia” and has threatened to disengage from the IEBC talks.

“We will also disengage from the IEBC talks if the MPs are not released. We will declare the MPs political prisoners and stage vigils at freedom corner,” added Kalonzo.

The CORD leaders had earlier on visited the detained MPs at Pangani Police Station although they were not allowed to see them.

Raila announced that the opposition coalition will also hold a prayer rally in Machakos on Sunday in solidarity with the detained MPs.

Upon the unfruitful visit to Pangani by the opposition leaders, CORD accused the government of violating the detained MPs’ human rights by denying them access to an advocate of choice, contrary to Article 49(1) (c) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

“This is part of the right to fair trial under Article 50. It is important to note the right to a fair trial is one of those rights that cannot be derogated upon. Our leaders have been held at Pangani and were and continue to be denied right to freely access Advocates,” said CORD in a statement.

They further alleged that the MPs have been denied access to food and water, which “is a basic human right not only under the Constitution but also under United Nations Conventions.”

CORD said that the continued holding of “these leaders without access to advocates and relatives amount to detention as they are being held incommunicado. This is unconstitutional.”

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Story By Koome Kimonye
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