Court nullifies gov’t’s ban on CORD’s Madaraka Day rally
The High Court has nullified the Government’s ban on Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD)’s Madaraka Day rally that is planned to take place at Uhuru Park on Wednesday.
Justice George Odunga has directed Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to ensure peace is maintained before and after the CORD rally.
Through lawyer James Orengo, CORD moved to court seeking court orders to quash the decision by the National Security Advisory Committee that barred them from holding a rally at Uhuru park during the Madaraka Day celebrations.
A group of preachers called Prayers Beyond Boundaries Ministries had also claimed to have booked the venue for 3 days starting Tuesday, but the Nairobi County Government said only CORD leaders had booked the venue for Wednesday’s rally.
On Monday, the government barred CORD and Prayer Beyond Boundaries Ministries from holding a meeting at Uhuru Park on June 1, 2016.
Addressing the press on Monday, Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said that the decision to bar the two warring parties from using the venue was reached by the National Security Council following intelligence reports showing the meeting could cause security threats.
Kiraithe further noted that Nyayo Stadium will also be out-of-bounds to all members of the public with the government asking the Nairobi County Security Committee to advice on the alternative venue for Madaraka Day celebrations.
Interior Permanent Secretary Karanja Kibicho weighed in on the issue early Monday stating that the government has no powers to stop CORD’s planned rally, adding that the Constitution gives them a right to assemble regardless of the day or month of the year.
“From where we stand it is their (CORD) Constitutional right to assemble any day of the year. We have no problem with the opposition opting out of the sacred (Madaraka Day) celebrations and instead have a parallel arrangement elsewhere,” said Kibicho.
“As a government we are only sad that a segment of the society has gone this far in terms of how we approach national issues but in as far as the law in concerned there is no reason to stop them.”
Kibicho however stated that the government would move to ensure whoever booked Uhuru Park first holds their meeting without interruption.
His remarks were a contrast to Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery’s statement on Sunday warning CORD against holding a parallel Madaraka Day rally.
Nkaissery said he would arrest CORD leaders if they go on with their plans since only the Head of State has the powers to convene public gatherings during holidays.
CORD leader Raila Odinga however insisted that their rally will go on, noting that top of their agenda is to pray for peace and unity in the country.
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