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Nasa says police to blame in case of rally chaos

By DAVID MWERE
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Nasa has warned the police that they will be held responsible for any harm on any of its supporters during a mass memorial service at the Jacaranda grounds in Embakasi, Nairobi, on Tuesday.

The memorial — to be attended by National Super Alliance leaders Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula as well as a host of its MPs — coincides with the swearing-in of President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Kasarani stadium.

In a letter to the Embakasi OCS, dated November 25, E. Sifuna and Associates, acting for Nasa, notified the police of the coalition’s intention to pray with families whose loved ones were killed in Nairobi between November 17 and 21, allegedly by officers.
MEMORIAL

“Our clients shall hold a memorial on November 28 for the innocent Kenyans who met their untimely deaths at the hands of the police and regime-sponsored killer gangs in the past few weeks,” says the letter signed by Nasa lawyer Edwin Sifuna.

On Saturday, the Nasa leaders, who spoke in Maanzoni, Machakos, urged their supporters to keep off President Uhuru Kenyatta’s swearing-in ceremony, describing it as a “despotic coronation”.

Nasa has vowed that it will not recognise the leadership of President Kenyatta.

The notification letter further says: “The coalition shall hold your officers personally responsible for any harm on any of its supporters or attendees during the memorial.”

PERMISSION

Nairobi county police commander Japheth Koome has, however, opposed the meeting, a move that could result in running battles between the police and Nasa supporters.

Mr Koome said: “The only meeting that I know will be held on Tuesday is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s swearing-in at the Kasarani sports complex.”
On Sunday, Mr Sifuna maintained that Nasa does not require permission from the police beyond the notification, which “we have duly served them”.

“Our client takes great exception to the conduct of your officers who have in the recent past turned on peaceful protesters and harmed them, instead of protecting them,” said Mr Sifuna.